This is the second book in the Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake. I reviewed the first book, Nightwalker, here (link is to livejournal).
The Premise: 600 year old nightwalker (aka vampire) Mira is the narrator in this series who is the only nightwalker to ever exist with the ability to control fire. She and other supernatural creatures (who humans are unaware of), have been fighting an epic battle against the return of the naturi, a race of powerful beings who believe humans, nightwalkers and everyone else should be exterminated from the planet. 500 years ago Mira was used to create a seal to keep the naturi out, but there are some naturi still around trying to bring their comrades back.
*** Minor spoilers for book 1 from this point on ***
My thoughts: One of the people Mira is fighting alongside is a vampire hunter named Danaus who isn’t quite human. I find myself following the series to find out how their relationship plays out. From enemies in the first book to an unusual friendship in this one, I feel that there are hints of possibly more. The two keep referring to their promise to kill each other once the situation with the naturi is over but bah, I don’t believe it! They work well together and an odd symbiosis means they are both in tune with the other’s thoughts and powers. The reason for that is revealed when we get some of Danaus’ back story along with some more of Mira’s, and their compatibility makes me believe they won’t be going back to hunter and prey later on.
Dayhunter is set mostly in Venice, which is the location of the Coven, the most powerful vampires that rule over the rest. From what the reader sees of them, these creatures are mostly involved with power games where the strong cruelly manipulate the weak in order to make points and further their own agendas. Sadira, Mira’s maker, and the three on the Council, Jaburi, Elizabeth, and Macaire are all equally uncaring of who they have to use for their own purposes.
There’s a lot of unlikeable other characters in this book who Mira deals with, but I found that Mira herself uses her powers to make her own points. So there is some moral ambiguity, although Mira’s reasons are more heroic than villainous, and she has Danaus to stop her from going too far down a path she may regret. Mira and Danaus are quite similar in wanting to do the right thing and I found their conversations about their fundamental conflict as vampire and vampire-hunter revealing. Danaus in particular is conflicted now that he’s met Mira, and it is telling how little he actually knows. In this book we get a little bit more about Danaus’ motivations, and he’s on the page a lot, but his character still feels mysterious.
The book has some dark, dramatic overtones. I just saw a bit of Francis Ford Coppola’s version of “Dracula” (the one with Gary Oldman in it) on TV the other day. The atmosphere of that movie could work with this book, but add to that plenty of non-stop action. At least Mira and Danaus get to sleep, but one day seems to follow another with more problems and very little time to stop things from unravelling.
Overall: Fast-paced, steeped in vampire politics and intrigue, everyone with their own agenda, and Mira in the thick of it trying to stay alive and protect her friends. If you like a book with courtly intricacies and manipulations, this one has quite a bit of that going on. The writing style has a dark, Gothic feel to it, every so often an elaborate turn of phrase would sneak in. The voice may not be for everyone, but I associated it with Mira, a 600 year old vampire being the main character, and it seemed to fit her well.
The next book, Dawnbreaker comes out this September.