Looking for a new twist on one of the very oldest stories? Perhaps just something different from your regular urban fantasy novels this summer? Then I give you author S.J. Day's Eve of Darkness, Book 1 of the Marked series...
Evangeline "Eve" Hollis was a good girl who knew what she wanted and what she didn't by the time she was eighteen. She's still pure of body (and mostly of mind) and wanting to stay that way for the foreseeable future, but all that changes when she sees the tall, dark, stranger on the Harley outside the ice cream shop where she works. His name turns out to be Alec Cain, and he becomes her first, her best and the only lover she still dreams about almost a decade later. Until a liaison in a stairwell with a man who reminds her so much of Cain that she finds herself unable to resist. This leads to her being branded with a triquetra, and becoming the newest bone of contention in the oldest sibling rivalry.
Cain reappears in Eve's life after a decade to become her mentor in this new world she's been thrust into. Eve, a self confessed agnostic, has found out that the brand on her deltoid is the actual Mark of Cain and that she is now a bounty hunter for God. Being marked a sinner Eve is being given a chance to work for her redemption. That work involves the hunting of Infernals (demons, dragons, werewolfs & others). Unknown to her is that she is not only a hunter of these Infernals, but is equally hunted by them. Handing out her assignments in this new life is angel (hoping to soon be promoted to Arcangel) Reed Abel. Being hunted from the start, Eve must learn how to kill if she wishes to stay alive and to save an immortal soul she didn't ever think existed.
Day manages to hit all the right notes of an urban fantasy heroine making her smart, sarcastic and at times funny, but also adds to her as well. Eve isn't a loner and has a pretty nice life (which she really wants back) before all of this befalls her. The intelligence helps quite a bit since she has to absorb so much so fast. From having to learn the hierarchy of Heaven where Arcangels are the top of the food chain and the Marked are the lowest to her actually "learning" about Cain and Abel.
Alec Cain is the quintessential bad boy (and basically sex walking to Eve) while Reed Abel is the straight arrow who desires Eve as well. Day takes a few chapter and verses from Genesis and begins to weave her own mythos from there. You are immediately thrown into the story from chapter one, but how Eve was Marked is explained subsequently. Day builds Eve's story well from the beginning which gets you good and hooked and reading well past your bedtime. This is a novel you can definitely read in one sitting because the complexity of the plot keeps you turning pages and reading more needing to know what happens next. Eve of Darkness holds your attention and doesn't let go.
On a personal note, as one of the few male reviewers of this genre, can I just say how well Day handles the sex scenes in this novel? As someone who's skipped whole chapters in past UF novels because the sex scenes were so mechanical and boring, I was completely drawn into Day's writing style. Very visceral, very real and very steamy.
Thankfully Eve of Darkness is already in bookstores. Day will also release two more Marked novels this summer, Eve of Destruction on June 2nd and Eve of Chaos on June 30th. If you thought this was a trilogy, you're mistaken. Day has assured us that there are more Marked novels to come and I for one am grateful. I give Eve of Darkness 3.5 Stars out of 4.
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