After Dark, by Emi Gayle, is the first book in her 3-part trilogy called The 19th Year. It is the story plain and simple of Maya MacKenzie (Mac) Thorne who is a Changeling. She has the ability to transform into any supernatural being she wants to by night. By day, she manages to become human and hides the fact that she is different from the rest of her schoolmates. Mac also has two guardians in Lucas (vampire) and Alina (Fairy) that look after her needs and are supposed to guide her and train her while she decides on what she wants to be when she turns 19.
Mac has a tough choice ahead of her and isn’t afraid of taking her time in making her final decision. As a Changeling, she and the rest of her ilk are the only ones who are given that choice. Changelings are also expected to become the leaders of a certain sect depending on what supernatural being they choose. Mac sticks to her choice of not rushing into choosing her destiny before she is ready and thwarts any attempts by the Council into making the choice for her.
“Dawn conceals what the darkness reveals. What is it that’s found within darkness?”
Then, of course, there is Winn (Wineford Thomas) and his sister Zoe who become a part of Mac’s world. What can I say about Winn that hasn’t already been said? He is the geek of the story and one that people treat with lack of respect. He knows things about Changelings that no other human understands thanks to getting his hands on a book called the Carriage. He becomes smitten with Mac and understands that there is a chance that Mac will choose to become Human against the wishes of the council if he has anything to say about it. In the end, Mac and Winn will discover a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to Mac’s choice as a Changeling as well as Mac’s own mother’s fate and choices she made in order to help her daughter.
I liked the supporting cast of characters, especially the unique mixture that is the Council. You have aspects of fire, water, the stars, earth, air/land, night/day, and peace/war. My only real complaint throughout this entire book was that even tough Mac is a tough heroine; she fails to ask important and life altering questions of her peers and is pushed into the corner by a council intent on choosing for her. She fails to realize, in time, that she is being used as a pawn by others and has to rely on Winn in order to save her from being pushed into the wrong direction.
I am definitely looking forward to reading Day After the second book in the trilogy. I liked the world building that Gayle has created as well as the hidden danger that awaits Mac at every angle. I liked Mac as a main protagonist. She is smart and cunning and has the ability to transform into almost anything at a moment’s notice. As I said before, I also like Zoe who apparently has the ability to see and speak to ghosts.
Author - Emi Gayle
Title - After Dark (The 19th Year # 1)
Publisher - J. Taylor Publishing
Released October 31, 2012