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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake

Publisher: EOS Books, Harper Collins
Pages: 356

From the Cover: Nightwalkers and Naturi battle:

A new day dawns blood red.

A master of fire, Mira is the last hope for the world. For centuries she has secretly enforced the history-altering edicts of the Triad. Now she and her unlikely ally—the human vampire hunter, Danaus—have come to Venice, home of the nightwalker rulers. But there is no safety in the ancient city, for the threat of conflict is in the wind . . . with unholy alliances and earth-shattering betrayals taking hideous form in the shadows.

Banished for eons beyond the world's boundaries, the malevolent naturi prepare to feed once again upon a vulnerable earth—and treachery is opening wide the portal that will enable their dread re-emergence. The great battle that has always been Mira's destiny is looming, and she must remain powerful in the face of a shocking revelation: that Danaus, the only creature she dares to trust, is something more than the man he claims to be . . .

Mira and Tristan slam into an alley, bloody, battered, and battle weary. Thorne has been killed by the Naturi before Mira could save him. It was a wonder that any had made it from the London bar. She has sworn to try to free Tristan from their maker and to keep him alive if possible. It will be a daunting task, considering his youth and the fact that most of the Nightwalkers will consider him chum...easy pickings for the more powerful and greater hierarchy.

Now, Jabari is demanding her return to Venice, somewhere she really doesn't want to be. But does she really have a choice, both Jabari and Danuis have proved that they can easily wield her as a weapon. Better to go on her own and forced by a will not her own. Mira's maker, Sadira has also been summoned to explain the unexplainable, the death of Tabor and the Naturi's ability to break the seal which separates the evil fae led by Rowe to release his wife and Queen to seek revenge and reek havoc upon the humans and vampires alike. The Naturi wish to kill both species and rule the Earth as they feel the fae are destined to be.

Venice is the stronghold of the vampire council, now missing one member of the council of four with the death of Tabor. That was the whole point of going to London, to seek out one of Tabor's bloodline, Thorne. The Naturi poisoned him, but Mira and Danuis were able to avenge the death. Who knew that together Danuis and Mira would yield enough power to destroy the Naturi, not only in the immediate vicinity, but for miles around. Mira, best known as the Fire Starter - the one true death that vampires feared, and Danuis of the Brotherhood - vampire hunter and the holder of a power so great - to make the blood boil from the inside out. Together, they are force to be reckon with by only the ancients.

When Mira and Danuis arrive in Venice, it is only to find that Weres are also present as well as some of the Naturi, what would the evil fae be doing in the vampire stronghold?

To make matter worse, Mira discovers Sadira's plot to sacrifice Tristan to the wannabes of the vampire council to make up for the loss of Tabor. She is his maker and he is her toy, but Mira has given him her vow of protection. She must go against her maker and claim Tristan as her own, marking him as part of her family; something she has avoided for 600 years. She has also vowed to make sure Danuis leaves Venice alive, will she never learn? Now she is responsible for two lives.

Mira has been an enforcer for the Triad (the keepers of the seal and law enforcers for Nightwalkers), seeking out those you have broken the vampire code to meet their end. Now, the Triad must be remade to keep the Naturi at bay. The Bori, evil fae of demon origin, have also been locked away. But they're not Mira's consideration at this time, the Naturi are the danger.

Danuis feels it's only fair to reveal the origin of his birth to Mira, to explain his longevity and his need to destroy evil; they have battled together and will be forced into a continued alliance. Mira cannot believe what he tells her, and she knows he doesn't understand to truth of his origins as she does. Now she has another secret to hide or the council will kill them both.

As the time draws near to the magical hour when Rowe will try to break the seal that will lead to the eventual release of his Queen, Mira begins to wonder who can be trusted. Surely not Jabari, her once mentor, friend, and teacher who wants nothing more than her head on a spike. Valorie, possibly as they had wondered Italy for years. Sadira, never, Mira has stolen one of her children. The other two members of the council want Mira dead just because of her ability as a Fire Starter. Mira knows the battle must be fought, but who will remain standing...Nightwalkers, Naturi, the Brotherhood? All have reasons to kill her even if she does survive.

Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake is the second book in the Dark Days Series. Nightwalker, the first in the series, was one of my top picks for 2008 and Jocelynn Drake is one of the best up and coming young authors in urban fantasy. I was not disappointed by her ability with this second installment. She continues to weave a world beyond the knowledge of the human reality. I am enthralled with her series and I hope it continues for many more books. Mira is a heroine who has been tortured in life. She was born of Crete heritage but stood out with vibrant red curling locks, pale skin tones, and jewel green eyes, so unlike the ruddy brown of hair, eyes, and skin tones of her ancestors. She was born with the ability of the fire starter; it did not come as a gift of vampirism. Sadira stole Mira from her family and kept her for many years before offering her the choice of vampire or death. Mira choose life of a vampire over a certain death. She chooses to live alone, with no one but her Angels (her guards) to watch over her resting body during daylights hours. She seeks the humanity lost to her, protecting those whom she preys upon. Even as she needs to feed, she never drains her victims, only taking what she needs to survive. Danuis, our hero, is a supremely tortured individual who has been hiding the origins of his soul for more than thousand years. He has been alive since the Romans controlled the civilized world. He has sought out the evil to destroy as his self imposed punishment. He doesn't understand fully what he is or knows the exist of the evil that could be unleashed by his presence. Mira feels an almost unreasonable attraction to this vampire hunter. She knows it can never be, as he does with his uneasy need to protect her and the vampire that she is. Each has vowed to kill the other. I loved the way this story flowed so seamlessly, the pieces fitting nicely together. Book Two starts almost on the last sentence and thought of Book One. The description of Venice was amazingly well done down to describing the smells associated with a city that has lived under water and the crumbling architecture that surrounds the vampire stronghold. This is Jocelynn Drake's first foray into published writing and she has been rewarded with a second contract. The series in order to date is Nightwalker (7-29-08), Dayhunter (4-28-09), Dawnbreaker (to be released 9-29-09), as well as Unbound, an anthology with Kim Harrison, Melissa Marr, Jeaniene Frost, and Vicki Pettersson that will be available 8-25-09. For more information about Jocelynn Drake and her fantastical books, please visit her website or her blog.

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