Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review: 12.21.12

Killian McRae
Supernatural Mystery/Thriller
238 Pages
Omnific Publishing
Available Now
Received from author for review

Sheppard Smyth has always been drawn to Cleopatra VII–her life and her death–and has spent most of his professional career trying to prove his theory that she was murdered. While most of the academic and archaeological community has scoffed at his assertion, the one person who believes him is the one person that matters most: his wife Christine.

While on a dig however, tragedy strikes and Christine is killed in a cave in, leaving Shep to fill the void she left with copious amounts of alcohol. After a few years pass, Shep is called by a former colleague to fly to Mexico in order to confirm a spectacular find involving his former obsession.

Once there, Shep is introduced to his colleague's assistant, Victoria Kent, and told the entire dig is funded by rumored Russian mob boss Dmitri Kronastia. When Shep confirms the authenticity of the items found in Mexico, he realizes the history of the world as he has known it is irrevocably altered, and his life just got significantly more complicated. Shep begins to piece together a new view of the past with the help of Dmitri and Victoria just in time for the future to come crashing down around him as the Mayan prophecy of 12.21.12 and its link to Cleopatra VII creeps ever closer.

12.21.12 combines various mythologies from both the Mayan and Egyptian cultures to create an intriguing millennia-spanning mystery that beautifully blurs fact, fiction, and the paranormal. Though this story makes reference to historical figures, the tale woven between its pages incorporates entirely new elements into the lives of people we know existed, making the reading experience an interestingly imagined jaunt through past, present, and future. The supernatural aspect of the story is seamless in its execution, the beliefs of both the Mayans and the Egyptians in multiple powerful gods paving the way for paranormal believability. Our curiosity as to the hows and whys of that element is then ultimately satisfied while our imaginations are thoroughly entertained.

In addition to a riveting and suspenseful story, we are also given access to complex characters. Dmitri and Victoria are individuals who are both villainous and unrelatable when they project their seemingly indifferent view of society, proceeding to take lives when they deem it necessary while sparing barely a moment to dwell on the loss. Then, just as we're convinced of our negative opinion of them, their entire demeanor shifts to reveal moments of true emotion and vulnerability, and a beautiful humanity shines through their otherworldly facade to make us realize these two are more than they initially seem to be on a multitude of levels. Reading to see what layer of their personality will be peeled away from one page to the next is one of the most engrossing aspects, and one that makes us feel as though we've been given our own private mystery to solve as we find ourselves trying to sort through our reactions to each of them in an attempt to come to an emotional conclusion.

While 12.21.12 is an entrancing blend of mythologies with characters who force us to think about them even when we shut our eyes at night, sometimes the complicated connections between all the pieces of this puzzle cause us to blink in confusion as we attempt to digest everything we've learned. Characters from the present are not only linked to one another in various ways, but they are also connected to figures of the past as well which at times pulls us from the story as we have to flip back to prior pages to completely comprehend the relationships. Overall, however, this book is unique and suspenseful with diverse and multifaceted characters all coming together to create a very memorable read.

Rating: 4/5


  1. This sounds really unique and different. I love the sound of the mix of different mythologies. Another great review Jenny and another book to add to my wishlist. You aren't helping with my book diet!

  2. I have been reading great things about the book. A mixture of paranormal, mystery and mythology sounds great! I will have to add this book to my TBR.

  3. IF for no other reason, I really want to read this one because the title has my birthday in it. That's right according to Maya legend the world is going to end on my birthday...just hope I get to open my presents before the end!

  4. A very honest review and you make the book sound like a good read. I'm a paranormal writer myself so find this genre incredibly fascinating.

    CJ xx

  5. Nic - It was really different, I thought the connection created between the 12.21.12 prophecy and Cleopatra was really interesting:) Sorry about your book diet though;)

    Misha - It was refreshing:)

    Jan - Ohhhh definitely make sure you open presents on the 20th, just in case:)

    Crystal - Thank you! I wasn't sure I would like this one but I was more than pleasantly surprised:)

  6. WOW! Wonderful review Jenny. This sounds very intriguing.

  7. Jan- haha, what an awesome birthday! I agree, open presents on the 20th, just in case!

  8. I love it when a book has some real sigfiance to it. This book soudns great! Thanks for the review Jennny!

  9. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Archaeology! And books! It is like the to loves of my life are coming together! Anyways... The cover is so awesome! And the story? Well, it just sounds so unique! Thanks for the review Jenny!

  10. Tori - It was really good, I loved how all the different elements worked together:)

    Savy - You're welcome:)

    Avery - I hope you give it a try since there's so much good stuff in there that applies to you!

  11. This sounds really good. Ill admit when I first saw this I thought the cover was a bit freaky!

    Ill have to add this one to the TBR, thanks for sharing

  12. Oooh, this one sounds intense. Do think this one is more adult than for YA? I think some of my students would line up to read this one, but I'm wondering about the content-violence, sex, and language mainly. What do you think?

  13. Great review! I like that this one includes Egyptian and Mayan myths. I'll have to check it out.....definitely a creepy cover though!

  14. What a fantastic read. Just have one question is this one considered a young adult fiction book or adult fiction?

  15. Tina - The cover is a bit freaky, but I like it:)

    Rummanah - I think technically it's adult fiction, but while there is some mild sexual content and some violence, I've read way more sexual and violent young adult books, so I think it would be fine for high school age readers as well:)

    Christina - I loved the Egyptian/Mayan combination, it was really fun to read a new historical interpretation:)

    Gina - I think it's adult fiction, but it doesn't have a ton of sexual or violent content (though it does have some) and the language is fine, so it would be suitable for teenage readers as well.

  16. It does seem like the blend of two mythologies would be a lot to take on and might cause a bit of confusion, but that is what also make me want to read the story. I'm interested to know how it mixes. Plus likable villains?! That sounds like fun!

  17. This sounds like my kind of book! I love Mayan and Egyptian history--it's fascinating!

  18. Lol, I could even get my brother to read this one! He never reads, but since it has to do with this date then yes

  19. I don't know much about Egyptian or Mayan mythology so this book sounds like a good way to start learning. Plus, I like the sound of the premise so I'll be adding this one to my wishlist.

  20. Okay... I love the part where the villans become human. Yep... that sold me. I like it when things are not so cut and dry like real life. Great review...even though the cover creeps me out a bit (which I think it is supposed to...) I think I need to read this one.

  21. Awesome cover!

    I had not heard much about this book, thanks for a great review hon =D

  22. Excellent review! This book intrigues me so much! I've only seen good things about it so far and would love to read it. Will have to wait a bit, but you've convinced me.


  23. Sounds interesting. I like books where characters start off as bad and then shift as we understand them better. I'll probably skip this one since the whole 2012 legend has terrified me since I was a kid, even though I don't believe it. (I actually had nightmares about it!)

  24. Missie - I wasn't a big fan of Victoria or Dmitri initially and every once in a while you'd get this glimpse of something very human and it gave me pause. Then by the end I was rooting for them:)

    Lindsi - I agree, I hope you give this one a try!

    Blodeuedd - I think it will appeal to a wide variety of readers, it's got a little of everything in it.

    Zahida - Luckily the mythologies and histories aren't overwhelming and you're not buried in information, it's nicely balanced I think. The character relationships got a bit confusing at the end, but other than that I really enjoyed it:)

    Melissa - Me too! Those two quickly became my favorite part of the story.

    Larissa - You're welcome:)

    Heather - Yay! You'll have to let me know what you think when you get around to trying it:)

    Alison - It's very interesting and the 12.21.12 situation works out a bit differently than you might expect:)

  25. This sounds like a very interesting read. I was a bit confused when I read the synopsis, but you'r review assures me that it all makes sense.

  26. Thanks for the review, I've been keeping my eye on this one.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  27. So I guess I shouldn't judge this book on its cover (which totally turns me off). Good to know :) I'm curious to see how the author makes the book work with two different mythologies.