Category Archives: S. J. Day

January 2009 Reads

A reminder that if you’ve got your mitts on the January 2009 Releases, you may as well move on to the February 2009 Releases.

And now for the 8 books I read in January:

Rogue – Rachel Vincent “…quite a cracker. Rachel Vincent has well and truly mastered the art of the end-of-chapter cliffhanger…and likewise for the end of the novel…wow…” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Summoning – Kelley Armstrong “…the freshest, most compelling novel Kelley Armstrong’s written for quite some time…The author’s stepped her characterisation up to a new level.” Buy (US) Buy (CA) Buy (UK)

The Becoming – Jeanne C. Stein Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Blood Drive – Jeanne C. Stein “Anna Strong takes on a very human problem…a step up…” Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Eve of Darkness – S. J. Day “The author’s angels and demons are well-crafted and original, as is the worldbuilding…There are a lot of possibilities, so this series could end up longer than just the three (so far) contracted novels. I hope so.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

The Watcher – Jeanne C. Stein “…better than The Becoming…” Buy (US) Buy (CA)

Undone – Rachel Caine “…hits hard with the kind of keen plotting sure to lift heads. Keep an eye out for the ‘shock troops’, and what follows is an absolute cracker of a read.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare “…look out for the delightfully creepy Silent City, a haunting setting to remember – awesome.” Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

[REVIEW] Eve of Darkness – S. J. Day

S. J. Day
Eve of Darkness (Marked, Book 1)
Macmillan Tor (US: 28 Apr 2009)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA)

Religion is real in S. J. Day’s Eve of Darkness.

Cain and Abel are pseudonymously known nowadays as Alec Cain and Reed Abel. Lifelong brothers and enemies, they have lots to fight over, including Evangeline Hollis. Agnostic Eve has been Marked as a sinner, and has gone from interior designer to demon-killer-in-training. Alec and Reed want her to accept her fate, but Eve wants the mark removed and her life back. God, however, has other plans.

The first chapter is a stunner, combining the normalcy of a football game with…what lurks in the men’s toilets. The rest of the novel is six weeks of backstory, with flashbacks to ten years ago when Alec deflowered Eve. Though the publisher has labelled this urban fantasy, more likely it’ll appeal to paranormal romance fans because of the relationship stuff going on. Brothers fighting over a woman: Alec and Reed seriously need to get over themselves, and play nice for the sake of humanity. Okay, for Heaven’s sake. (I really didn’t want to make a pun in this review, but look what you made me do.) Mind you, if they haven’t grown up properly during the however many thousand years they’ve been alive, they’re hardly going to start now.

I’m not entirely sure why Eve was Marked. Since sinners are drafted to kill demons, her sin must be…rooting Reed in the stairwell after they just met, and maybe didn’t know each other’s names. I’m not quite clear on that, or maybe because she “tempted” both brothers. I must have forgotten this detail, or it wasn’t explained well enough, which is a problem when your protag is a “chosen one” – readers want to know why.

The series concept seems so obvious in hindsight, it’s actually a surprise that no one thought to do it before. The author’s angels and demons are well-crafted and original, as is the worldbuilding. But then when witches and werewolves come into the picture…it seems a bit kitchen sink. The dogs and Eve communicating via thought seemed a little too easy, but I’d just come off reading Jeanne C. Stein’s first two novels, where vampires communicate that way. Seems too much like telling than showing.

I like Eve’s relationship with neighbour Mrs Basso. It’s nice for Eve to have a friend, and Eve’s mum Miyoko is really intriguing. Born in Japan, she later became a naturalised American, but I’d love to read about American life through Japanese eyes. It gives me hope that S. J. Day will move on to feature other religions, such as Shogun and Shinto (if I remember eighth grade social studies correctly, which I probably don’t). Eve is a breath of fresh air in that she’s biracial. Usually in paranormal fiction characters are half-vampire or half-werewolf, so it’s just splendid to have someone who’s human on both sides with parents from different countries. This may make it easier for readers to connect with Eve, and urban fantasy protags can definitely do with more ethnicity. (It goes without saying that Eve is hot: particularly on the cover of the upcoming second book in this series, Eve of Destruction. Just so you know.)

Overall the concept seems better than the execution thus far, but now that the backstory is out of the way we can get to the good stuff. We haven’t met God yet, or Lucifer. And since there are other firms in the world, hopefully we’ll have some international action. There are a lot of possibilities, so this series could end up longer than just the three (so far) contracted novels. I hope so.

Cat with Books – Thursday 8th January 2009

Manny with S. J. Day’s Eve of Darkness, A. J. Menden’s Phenomenal Girl 5, Keri Arthur’s Destiny Kills and Liz Maverick’s Irreversible. It’s only 19C today, so he’s not suffering from heat anymore. Does seem to have the blues, though. He’s purring beside me on the couch right now…

You can see more photos of other stuff at my Flickr.

S. J. Day’s Marked Series – Art by Gordon Crabb

Just found out that the artist who’s done S. J. Day’s Marked series covers is Gordon Crabb. You can check out his art here.

S. J. Day
Eve of Darkness (Marked, Book 1)
Tor (US: 28th April 2009)

For Evangeline Hollis, a long-ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain. Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted to kill demons, Eve knows her learning curve must be short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She’s also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history…But she’ll worry about all that later. Right now she’s more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she’d never quite believed she had.

S. J. Day
Eve of Destruction (Marked, Book 2)
Tor (US: 2nd June 2009)

Class is in, but Evangeline Hollis is far from being the star pupil. She’s struggling to get through the required training to be a full-fledged Mark – one of thousands of sinners forced to hunt demons for God. When her class goes on a week-long field trip to an abandoned military base, passing the course suddenly isn’t just a matter of pride…it’s a matter of life and death. There’s a demon hidden among them, killing off Eve’s classmates one by one. As the body count rises, a ragtag team of ghost hunters from a cable TV program unwittingly stumbles into the carnage. Now keeping the Mark system secret competes with the need to keep the “paranormal researchers” alive. With Cain on assignment and Abel investigating a new, terrifying class of demon, Eve must fly solo on her hunt to stop a killer before he strikes again.

S. J. Day
Eve of Chaos (Marked, Book 3)
Tor (US: 30th June 2009)

How do you tell Satan that you ran over his hellhound? Evangeline Hollis has no idea and she doesn’t want to find out. Living with the Mark of Cain – and the two sexy brothers who come with it – is trouble enough. She doesn’t need to borrow more. Too bad Satan is too pissed to oblige her. Incensed at the loss of his pet, Satan has put a bounty on Eve’s head, and Hell’s denizens are converging en masse. The proliferation of Infernals is complicating Eve’s hunts and creating chaos in her once orderly life. They’ve also brought her to the attention of an overzealous reverend who is certain she’s Jezebel reincarnate. How can a Mark drafted by God strike a bargain with the Devil? Eve’s about to find out…

[COVER ART] Eve of Destruction – S. J. Day

I didn’t expect to find so many new covers tonight – must be my lucky day…Wait, midnight’s just come. It’s downhill from here…

Anyway, I love that it seems Evangeline is at least part-Asian – there’s a lot of Caucasians in the fiction I read, and we need more ethnicities.

[COVER ART] Eve of Darkness – S. J. Day

And I am so looking forward to this series! What with S. J. Day’s Marked, and Jordan Summers’ Dead World (which I’m looking forward to even more), these series could really mean big business for Tor, and I wish everyone involved all the best. And my enthusiasm is genuine, y’all; I do play favourites 😉