I got this ARC of Nightwalker from EOS Books just last week and I already finished it. I love long weekends.
The book came in unbound manuscript format so I walked over to Kinko's to bind it after I finished reading it. This was a trial. It was $2.66 to bind (cheap), but I had to deal with some VERY grumpy Kinko employees! This skinny european dude with a french or russian accent was annoyed that the machine wasn't warmed up yet and kept telling me: 'You have to wait 10 minutes, OK'?! He repeated this 3 times, even though I was telling him that's fine, I can wait. Why was he so upset? I'll never know. I swear I did nothing to provoke this. Meanwhile another girl was bitching at a customer and he was laughing nervously and turning around to look at me, but I kept a completely blank face – not joining in on conversations with crazy people.
On to the review.
Nightwalker is a debut novel by Jocelynn Drake, and the first book of the Dark Days series. This urban fantasy has vampires, or nightwalkers as they call themselves, as the main supernatural creature. Our protagonist Mira is an over 600 year old nightwalker, not a newbie to the scene, the guardian of the city of Savannah, with the special ability with fire that no other nightwalker has. Although the descriptions of scenery sometimes tends towards dramatic metaphor, the book has a great, suck-the-reader-in beginning, and the action just keeps coming. I felt like the book shines during the action, and there is a lot of action here. At the start of the book Mira is following a vampire hunter who has been killing off some of the younger vampires in her domain, but that doesn't seem to be the whole story. After facing and fighting Danaus, the hunter, she learns about the possible return of the naturi, creatures the nightwalkers banished from the world about 500 years ago in a face off that still gives Mira nightmares. The naturi are a race of beings described as the root of myths about elves and pixies, but much darker and bent on exterminating both humans and nightwalkers. Danaus and Mira have an uneasy alliance as they work together towards fighting the naturi. Both are bent on killing the other once this task is done.
This is an urban fantasy and most of the focus is on action, so there is a lot of fighting and swordplay; but there is also an underlying something between the two main characters. This relationship seems to be the slowly-growing kind because they are natural enemies, with Danaus believing all nightwalkers are evil and kill humans despite what Mira says. There are also beyond just professional shades in the relationship between Mira and her two human bodyguards (who protect her during daylight hours). So some interesting interactions going on between all the fighting, but still I would say although there is sex, there is no romance. At least in book one.
The main focus is on the problem of the naturi, but there is some emphasis on the mystery of Mira's powers, on what Darius really is, and Mira's place amongst the older, more powerful vampires who oversee all their kind. Mira has an old child-like relationship with a couple of them, Jabari and Sadira, where Mira goes back and forth between being an estranged, rebeling daughter, to running to them for comfort and help. I wasn't sure what to make of it since she's supposed to be 600 years old and is Keeper of her own city, but the other vampires are older than that by hundreds more. Theirs is not a human viewpoint of time, and not a human relationship. I felt like the older nightwalkers had hundreds of year old mechanisms going on which involved Mira and I need to find out what that is about. I hope more is revealed.
I found the book quite a page turner and I expect it to do very well. There are a lot of interesting characters and factions involved with the story, plus some dark creatures to battle, so I think the author has plenty more to write about. The book was enjoyable and I'm looking forward to the rest.
This book comes out July 29th, 2008.