Publisher: Blue Swan Publishing
Kiri has had the same dream for four years since she was twelve. She travels to another planet, where she meets a boy who teaches her to fight. Always bruised come morning, she knows it’s no ordinary dream.
After two years of no longer dreaming of Cax, she questions if she hadn’t made him up. Then spaceships appear all over the world, and the boy she once knew is among the alien invaders.
Orphaned and alone, Kiri uses the skills Cax had given her against his own people, wishing to hurt them as they’d hurt her. The flames of rebellion are fanned ever higher, and Kiri has a role to play that could cost her everything.
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Her mom looked up once Kiri entered the living room, her gaze landing on the bow and quiver before she looked at her. “Do you really think you’ll need those?”
Kiri shrugged. “I don’t know, but I feel better having them close at hand. We have no idea what to expect. Did you get a hold of Dad?”
“No. My cell phone suddenly lost its signal.”
Kiri took hers out of her jeans pocket and turned on the screen. “Same with mine. I wonder if—”
Before she could finish her sentence, there was a loud screech over the TV and the news channel was replaced with something altogether different. The picture was at first pixelated, then quickly sharpened, giving a good view of the man who was prominently in the forefront. It looked as if he stood in what she’d come to think of a spaceship’s bridge from sci-fi shows. He was tall and very muscular. His long, blond hair flowed around his shoulders. It was his eyes that captured her attention. They were copper, and had a slight glow to them.
“People of Earth,” he said in a deep baritone. “I am Thalar, the leader of the Atres. As of now, your planet is under our control. We have taken ownership of your satellites. Our ships are in position over your cities, with enough firepower to reduce them to rubble. We have shown you our strength. If you accept what is to be, there will be no more attacks. Resistance will not be tolerated. You may go on with your lives, do your jobs, except for those in the military and law enforcement. They will be disbanded at once.”
“Jesus,” said her mom. “They’ve stolen our planet out from under us. All in a matter of hours.”
Kiri kept her gaze on the TV. There was some movement in the background behind Thalar as he continued to speak, outlining how he expected the Earth’s population to accept him as their ruler. She gasped as a figure behind Thalar stepped into clear view. “Cax,” she said with some shock.
“What?” her mom asked.
Kiri stepped closer to the television and pointed to the blond-haired boy who had come to mean so much to her. “That’s Cax. He’s real. I didn’t make him up.”
“Honey, I have no idea what you’re talking about. How can you know one of the aliens who up until today we had no idea existed?”
She’d never told her parents about her dream visits to another planet, not even her shrink. Of course her mom would be clueless as to how Kiri knew the name of and recognized an alien.
Thalar finished his speech with, “There will be further communication once we’ve established bases on your world.” The screen went black.
Her mom picked up the TV remote and switched channels. Each one was the same. Nothing. No news, no shows, no commercials, just nothing. Her mother sighed. “They’ve taken out the cell phones and now the televisions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow shut down the Internet. I think they want to keep us from knowing what’s going on around the world. They’ll send us into another Dark Age.” She looked at Kiri and patted the couch for her to sit next to her. “Now tell me who this Cax is to you.”
Kiri sat. “You sound so calm. Aren’t you scared?”
“Yes, but letting it get the best of me isn’t going to change anything. You telling me about Cax will distract me from the fact your father is out there somewhere, alive or dead, and aliens have taken over.”
“All right.” Kiri had no idea how to start. She’d kept Cax a secret for so long.
Her mom smiled. “It’s okay. You can tell me anything. Just take it from the beginning.”
“You know when I started waking up bruised and the doctors decided I was doing it to myself? Well, I wasn’t. It began the first night I ‘dreamed’ of meeting Cax. It always started the same. I’d find myself shooting through space until I reached another planet, then I’d touch down in a large roofless room. Cax was there. He said out of all the people on Earth, only he could summon me. He said I needed to learn how to fight. From that night on, he trained me. The last time I saw him was two years ago. He’d said he’d be in stasis for that exact number of years.” Kiri met her mom’s gaze. “I’d thought maybe I had made him up. Now, I think he knew what would happen and wanted me prepared to face the invasion.”
“So that’s why you wanted to take karate and learn how to use a bow and arrow.”
“Yes. To help with my training. Cax had started his when he was eight. He was years ahead of me. He kept stressing I had to learn faster.”
Her mother sighed. “All those years we sent you to the psychiatrist and there was nothing wrong with you. Can you forgive us?”
Kiri hugged her. “Of course. You didn’t know. I never told anyone about Cax.”
“Though I have to say I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told the truth before today. Now the big question is, what had Cax intended for you to do with this training he gave you? Did he want you to be able to defend yourself if the occasion arose that had you in a middle of a confrontation with his people, or did he want you to play a hero to yours?”
Kiri shook her head. “He never said. I can only think he did it for the first option, for some reason.”
“Hon, I have to say it. What happens if, and I mean a big if, you and Cax meet here in real life and he turns out to be like the rest of his race?”
She didn’t want to think about that. To her, Cax would always be the boy who’d come to mean a great deal to her. He’d been tough on her during their training sessions, but he’d never purposely set out to hurt her.
Kiri shrugged. “I don’t know. If he’s the same Cax from my dreams, I won’t have to worry about it. He wouldn’t be like that.” At least she hoped he wouldn’t.
4 Stars: It was fascinating to see how Kiri changed over the course of this story. I wanted to protect her in the beginning because she was so young and naive when I first met her. Watching her evolve from that personality into someone who knew how to stay calm and strong in a crisis was rewarding. The plot twists were nicely done. Several of them were so well hidden that I didn’t have any idea they were coming until they showed up. I really like being caught off guard like this, especially when the twists turn out to be things that fit in perfectly with the storyline once everything is revealed. While this wasn’t the first book from Ms. Chenery that I’ve tried, it is my favourite one of hers so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next. Annexation should be read by adults and teens alike. It has something in it for everyone!--Astilbe, Long and Short Reviews YA