One of my favorite reads of 2011 was Eric Nylund’s Mortal Coils. The book tracked the lives of 15 year-old twins Fiona and Eliot Post and their adventures learning the truth behind their family. All That Lives Must Die essentially picks up right where Mortal Coils leaves off.
Here’s the Book Description from Amazon –
Eliot and Fiona Post are twins caught up in an epic custody battle between their mother's and father's families. Their mother is the immortal goddess Atropos, the eldest Fate, and their father is Lucifer, Lord of the infernals, a diabolical fallen angel. The families have put them through rigorous, life-threatening challenges, and together they've risen to combat them in amazing ways. But now they are facing the greatest trial of all—high school.
Paxington Unviersity is no normal high school—it's a place where gods and goddesses, warriors and sorcerers learn to harness their power, where a debate in class can end in a duel, and your classmates aren't simply friends or enemies, but allies in battle or threats to your life. To flunk is to die--only the toughest graduate. As Fiona and Eliot struggle to keep up their grades by surviving the rigorous training, both families are watching.
So far this book is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor filled with fast paced action and a deepening mythology that gets better and more complex with the turn of each page. One of the things that I am enjoying most about All That Lives… is the internal struggle of many of the core characters. Nylund does a great job of taking those who should be set in their ways and making them struggle with their emotions and the morality of situations.
If you are a fan of urban, myth-based fantasy then I highly recommend this book (heck get both and then continue to follow the series as it unfolds). At the moment, Nylund is working on the third book in the series titled What Fools These Mortals, though according to Wikipedia and his official website the entire series has not yet been picked up by Tor Books. I hope that they pick it up because it would be a shame to not see this finished out.
On a side note, I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised that these books haven’t been bigger hits. With the success of the Percy Jackson (and its off-shoots) and the Nicolas Flamel series, there is no reason why these books shouldn’t be just as huge. They appeal to the same type of audience but have been marketed through the traditional fantasy channels instead of the young adult channels. That may have something to do with the fact that these books are a bit more brutal but its nothing that a teenage audience couldn’t handle.