Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Review: Eve of Darkness by SJ Day

Title: Eve of Darkness

Author: SJ Day

Published: April 2009

Number of Pages: 344

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Marked #1

Why This Book: Heard lots of good things about from one of my favorite book dealers *whispers "KB"*.

From the Author Site: Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel... All in a day's work.

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.

The Cast:
Alec Cain aka Cain: The bible's first murderer. Marked and doomed to roam the earth because he killed his brother, Abel. He was God's first bounty hunter, or Mark, who hunts rouge demons or Infernals. Now he is bounty hunter number #1 who takes order only from God himself unlike the other Marks, who take their orders from the archangels. Cain doesn't like rules and has been on his own for a really long time and he had no weakness until he met and fell in love with Eve, gave into the temptation and slept with her. He has made a deal that has him assigned as Eve's mentor.

Reed Abel aka Abel: The, not so innocent, victim of the first murder. Now an angel working under an archangel and is Eve's handler, one responsible for her training and assignments. Abel loves the rules, has always toed the line and followed orders. A company man through and through. Enter Eve. Here's something bad brother Cain wants so natural Abel has decided that he has to take her away from Cain. But now he too is finding Eve a temptation and wants her for other reasons than to annoy Cain.

Raguel Gadara aka Archangel Raguel: Runs the firm that controls all the Marks in North America. Abel's boss and therefore Eve's boss. He has motives of his own and he needs Cain in order to achieve them, so he must have and keep Eve under his control.

Evangeline Hollis aka Eve: She slept with Cain when she was eighteen (and, well, stupid) and this altered her destiny forever. Talk about really bad first dates. Cain takes her virginity, ruined her for any other man, because the sex was out of this world good, then disappeared from her life. Enter Abel ten years later, he lures her into a stairwell, screws her blind, brands her and basically ruins her life. Talk about bad luck. Here she was minding her own business and is quite successful as an interior designer when her number gets called and she is branded with the Mark of Cain and is now one of God's bounty hunters. Except that she's special because Cain is in love with her. This makes her a target for just about everyone.

Review: SJ Day's first book in her Marked series. She has taken the biblical story of Cain and Abel and gave it a new twist. Abel doesn't really "die" and Cain's punishment isn't the end for him either. Cain can earn his redemption by slaying rouge demons (Infernals). But, as he's not so good at following the rules, he's sins keeps pace with his earned indulgences (atonement for his sins). While Abel, the good brother, is an angel, he isn't "good" and Cain, the muderer, isn't "bad".

Day's world building is good. Nothing too wild. Everything fits neatly into the story. And all the nifty little details are there and everything is consistent. She has worked the biblical story and histories nicely into her world. I like that she's taken into consideration that the Bible was written by men thus not everything in it is the full truth and that it is mostly allegorical. Day's archangels are highly competitive and are in constant competetion with each other and man, God's greatest creation. Sure they love God and are devoted servants and curry God's favor, but they each want to be first in God's eye. And God... well he is all-knowing and all-seeing but he doesn't always pay attention. *g*

In Day's world's history, the number of rouge Infernals out pace Cain's ability to control, God creates the Marked system. Some sinners are marked with the mark of Cain becoming Marks and allowed earn indulgences by working for the archangels. Each Mark is assigned a role depending his or her skill set. This system has increased until to the current state where Marks work for firms run by archangels. There are seven firms and each headed by a different archangel. Each firm is located on one of the continents. Cain doesn't belong to any firm, since he is doom to roam he has no "home" base. Abel works for the North American firm.

What I liked best: Cain. What a sweetie. Yeah he's bad ass but he really loves Eve and only wants to be with her. And he's willing to do anything to stay with her, even follow orders and deal with Abel, whom he despises even after all these years.

What I least liked: After the first chapter (you can read it here), everything is a flashback. It starts with circumstances of Eve's marking up to the events in Upland that was mentioned in first chapter with more flashbacks of Eve's initial encounter with Cain. So the book basically leaves you hanging and wondering what the hell happens after chapter one. We know how she ended up in that situation but nothing after. Total cliff hanger! Ick! The good news is that Book 2 is out in early June so we hope there will be some resolution.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: Yes. A good read. Would probably recommend that you wait until Book 2, Eve of Destruction, is out to read this if you are like me and don't like loose ends at the end of your story.

Grade: B


Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I have so much love for this book!! So glad you enjoyed it also. Oh yes, Cain is a sexy sweetie. Me want the rest in this series.

Heh heh, I am the bestest book pimp out there.

Christine said...

Thanks so much for this thorough review. I especially liked the character profiles you did. I read KB's review, too, and am very intrigued by this book. I think, though, that I will take your advice and wait for the next book to hit the shelves and read them back to back. I don't like those huge cliffhangers either.

Doesn't Marked #3 come out this spring, too? Maybe I need to wait for all three! LOL!

Aymless said...

KB: Yup you are! ((KB))

Christine: Marked #3 comes out at the end of June so it's really not that long of a wait.

orannia said...

Thank you Aymless! That is one fantastic review! Between your and KB's review I REALLY want to read this book! you say EVERYTHING after the first chapter is a flashback. Interesting that the author did it that assuming there is method to her madness? Hmmm...

...from one of my favorite book dealers *whispers "KB"*She's the best :)

Aymless said...

Orannia: *nod* SJ's driving us all insane! *g* At least book 2 will be out in a couple of weeks so that I don't have to be crazy for long. KB is indeed one of the best!!!


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