Chloe hides out with other cat-like beings in a luxurious mansion run by a real-estate mogul to avoid assassins that are out to kill her and along the way, she discovers the truth about the creature she is as well as her true family history. Chloe is an average teenager with above average cat-like powers who doesn't understand how her completely normal life could so suddenly do a 180 degree flip and become so screwed up. Her primary concern for the moment is: why people are trying to kill her? In the first book of the trilogy (The Fallen), Chloe reaches her 16th birthday and discovers her speed, agility and night vision suddenly greatly improved. But with these new-found powers come new-found dangers, and Chloe finds herself being chased by members from an order called the Tenth Blade. In fact, the cute older boy Brian she was thinking about dating turns out to be a member of that sect. Chloe gets another surprise when she discovers the other ultra hot Russian student at her high school that she's been flirting with turns out to be of the same ilk as her. By the end of the first book, Chloe learns that she is part of an ancient race called the Mai. Before she can learn more, however, she and her normal human best friends, Amy and Paul, are attacked by a crazy Tenth Blader called The Rogue. The last scene in the first book shows the Rogue jumping off a bridge and the Tenth Bladers believing that she did pushed him! They are now out to kill her since they operate under the ancient laws of 'a life for a life',
The second book begins with Alyec bringing Chloe to his relative, the rich real-estate mogul Sergei's house to recuperate from their fight with The Rogue. When Chloe wakes up, she meets a woman called Olga, who tells her that she is at the headquarters of Firebird Properties, LLC, a real estate marketing company. Olga tells her that Sergei is eager to meet Chloe and that he has already told her mother that she was a witness to a lethal crime and is in police custody so that her mother won't worry. Sergei introduces himself as the Leader of the Pride and he explains that Chloe is a creature called a Mai, a race of supernatural beings originating from Egypt and other parts of Africa. He tells her that the Tenth Blade people, the people who think they are abominations, are still after her and she will have to live with them in his luxurious mansion for a while.
Chloe meets with some of the other inhabitants, including a girl with cat ears named Kim. Kim is offended that Chloe doesn't know about their people but she explains important historical details of the Mai people, like the ancient Egyptian curse that no Mai can ever take a human lover. Kim is a bit of an introvert and a "Mai extremist", practicing all the ancient customs down to allowing her cat ears to grow out. Later that day, Sergei introduces Chloe to others in the mansion, including Igor who looks like a normal overworked human male but is Sergei's right-hand man. Chloe receives a phone call from Brian who professes that he initially was sent by the Tenth Blade to follow Chloe but ended up falling in love with her. He wants Chloe to understand that he never meant to hurt her but Chloe doesn't know if she can trust him. When Alyec comes to visit her, he explains to her that since she is a newbie Mai who doesn't have a pride, she was up for grabs by the Tenth Order. All the Mai who are already claimed by Sergei are in a sort of stalemate with the Tenth Order. Mai like Alyec are safe because of the blood-for-blood relationship the Tenth Order have with Sergei's Pride.
Chloe, bored and restless from her confinement escapes out into the night to try visit her mom. At first she thinks she's gotten away, but then, members of the tenth order appear and try to kill her again, prompting some of Sergei's Mai to come to her rescue. Later that night, Chloe has a weird dream that she's in some place where there are hot springs and sulfur baths. When she tells Kim about her dream, Kim tells her that their previous pride leader was from a place like that. Their previous pride leader had a dream to unite all the Mai across Eastern Europe. Chloe wonders whether she could be related to the pride leader. Kim tells her there previous pride leader had only a daughter and that daughter is supposed to be dead. Later on, Kim warns Chloe not to tell anyone about her dream. The next day, Chloe learns that Sergei became their pride leader after their previous leader died because he continued her mission and succeeded to bring many Mai to the U.S. to build their stronghold. Later on, Chloe learns that a true pride leader can have up to nine lives and they are the first to protect their pride when their pride is in danger.
The next day, Chloe calls Brian and they meet up in secret. Brian tells her that his father is head of the Order but he himself has quit. After meeting with Brian, Chloe meets with Amy and Paul where she finally explains everything. They inadvertently tell her that her Mother has been missing, which sends Chloe into a panic. She rushes off immediately to her house where she finds her Mother is gone and has left the words 'help' spelled out in moldy hummus. Chloe tasks her friends to search all their resources for hints as to where her mother might be before she returns to Firebird mansion.
When Chloe asks Sergei for help, he tells her he can't risk his dwindling forces to help her and she's just going to have to contact the police. Chloe feels helpless and in despair. Kim tells her she is willing to help and that she thinks Alyec will help, too. When they go to Chloe's house, Kim smells not only humans that could be from the Tenth Blade, but also Mai. Kim thinks that the Mai might have been sent to kill Chloe's mom so that Chloe can have no more ties to the human world. Chloe is horrified. Later on, Kim shows Chloe photographs of her potential real mother – the previous pride leader - and her real sister, both of whom were apparently killed by members of the Tenth Order. That night, Chloe calls Brian's house to speak to his father, the leader of the Tenth Order. She offers to exchange herself for her Mom's freedom.
Chloe meets up with Brian's father. A show-down ensues as more members of the Tenth Order appear – including Brian – as well as members of Chloe's Pride. Even Amy, Paul, Kim and Alyec show up. Chloe realizes she was the excuse the Pride and the Tenth Blade needed to have their big battle. Sergei somehow grabs hold of a gun and threatens to kill Chloe's Mom unless everyone stops what they're doing. Brian tries to protect Chloe's Mom but Sergei shoots. At the last second, Chloe jumps into the line of fire and dies.
When Chloe re-awakens, the Mai think she is the One, as the true Pride leader has nine lives. Chloe declares the battle over and that she will be going home, regardless of what anyone thinks. She marches off with her friends and her mom. Later that night, Brian visits her to tell her that he's saying goodbye forever as the Tenth Order are out to kill him, too, since he was pretty much a traitor. The story ends with a brief moment from the point of view of Sergei, revealing that he was the one who had hired the assassins to kill Chloe's biological mother and sister.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like the whole idea of an ancient cat-like race that originated from Egypt. I thought it was neat how Liz Braswell integrated bits of Egyptian lore to explain why the Mai are the way they are. For instance, those who worship Sekhmet use violence to achieve their ends but those who worship Bastet are more benign in nature.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Chloe, Alyec, Kim and some other Mai decide to act like normal humans and go out to see a movie. It was an amusing interlude among some more serious scenes because Kim, who is a major introvert (due to her cat ears) enjoys the experience of watching Star Wars and eating popcorn so much but is so hopelessly behind in regular pop culture.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Chloe is open-minded and was able to see Kim's good side even though Kim is so odd and introverted and a more shallow, less sympathetic person would have just ignored her or treated her meanly. Chloe and Kim's interactions were some of the more amusing interactions in the story, since Chloe is smart-mouthed and modern while Kim is hilariously mired in the past and in old Mai traditions.