Shadow (The Rex Deus Dynasty #1) by Olivia Cooper (Self-Published, 2013, 113pp.)
Orphaned when her adoptive parents both die within months of each other, 18-year-old Angelina Hathaway is a high-school dropout who works a satisfying, if low-paying, job at a restaurant. Enter Guillermo, a mysterious young man who contacts her with information about her birth parents: unbeknownst to her, her parents were high-ranking members of the Rex Deus Dynasty, an organization dedicated to protecting the lineage of Christ—of which Angelina is the last direct descendant. After she’s almost killed in her apartment by a mysterious assailant, the Rex Deus Dynasty whisks her away to a remote compound in Mendocino, California, where they provide her with a lavish lifestyle and opportunities to complete her education. She is allowed to come and go as she pleases; the only non-negotiable factor in the deal is that she must marry another of the blood and produce as many children as possible. Certainly not the worst fate imaginable, especially since her proposed future husband, Guillermo, is fairly attractive—but to a modern girl like Angelina, the proposition is more than a little creepy. Then, when one of the organization is mysteriously murdered by the same assailant who attacked her before, Angelina realizes that not even her new “friends” can ensure her safety.
Shadow is an interesting variation on a somewhat original premise (Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene!), but at only 113 pages, I finished the story with the impression that both plot and characters were left underdeveloped. So, while I recommend it as an interesting start to a series, I feel that it could still use a little more work. Recommended for Ages 14-Up.