Beyond the Veil by Jessica Majzner
In the village of Valwood there is a centuries-old feud between the humans and the immortals that border their lands. The Elders rule the village and they now have a tentative truce with the werewolves. Vampires and werewolves have been banished from the village. There is a wall dividing their territory from that of the werewolves and it is known that any crossing of boundaries will result in the forfeit of lives.
17 year-old Natalya is the daughter of one of the Elders in Valwood. She is a vampire huntress, even more powerful than her mother, who was killed by the most-feared vampire around, Arkadith. When Natalya goes into the woods with her mentor Anesa, they are led into a trap and Anesa is killed by Arkadith too. Natalya vows revenge against Arkadith for all he has done and she refuses to let anything stop her.
Natalya travels deep into the forest on the trail of Arkadith. The trail she follows takes her into the Ruins and the forbidden territory of Claw Haven. This is where she will run into the first werewolves she has ever seen. It is here that Natalya meets Voren, a werewolf who seems to be the complete opposite of everything she has been taught. Voren opens Natalya’s eyes to the rich culture and beliefs of the werewolves and how some of them see their existence as cursed. They have lived as enemies of the vampires too and they tell Natalya of how the curse may be lifted if Arkadith is defeated. Natalya has learned more of the truth of the werewolves than any human before her. She wants to seek an end to the war between humans and immortals. But Arkadith has a different ending in mind and when Natalya doesn’t return home the humans seek vengeance on the werewolves.
This is a tale of tragedy to be told in the dark of night. There is nothing pretty about this story, these werewolves and vampires are to be feared. I did particularly like the werewolves’ storyline and felt great empathy for them. But if you’re expecting the usual supernatural YA romance story, you will be disappointed. If you would like a more realistic look at what is probable in a world where humans live side-by-side with immortals, this will definitely not disappoint. I could easily see this as a graphic novel too! Beyond the Veil is very unpredictable and a fresh take on the usual.