Although Maya is not a traveler she must find a way into the other realms in an attempt to find Gabriel. She succeeds in crossing over and rescues Gabriel but is unable to follow him back and allows him to leave without her. As a Harlequin it is her sworn duty to ensure his survival at all costs, no matter what the sacrifice might entail.
To hear me talk about it, the series doesn't sound all that special on the surface. But something about it made it stay with me after I finished reading the second book. Throughout the day I would find myself suddenly thinking about it without even noticing I had started doing so.
What John Twelve Hawks has managed to do is create characters, Maya and Gabriel, who are incredibly human in spite of whatever extraordinary powers they have. Neither of them asked to be who they are, and in fact Maya resisted it as much as possible. As the story has progressed they have both not only accepted who they are, but proceeded to define it in their terms, not as they are supposed to according to tradition.
It's that humanity, and both of their struggles to hold on to it, that makes them so memorable. While other stories may feature fantastic characters like elves or hobbits doing the extraordinary, things we expect of them in other words, these two are very human and perform equivalent tasks. They have no magical powers that will stop bullets or prevent a sword from slicing them open. They make mistakes out of anger and frustration, and they follow their hearts.
Maya and Gabriel are the intangible that makes The Dark River the type of book that will live on in your mind long after you've read it. Certainly it is as well crafted and plotted as any other book of this type, but unlike others, a human heartbeat drives the pulse of this novel.