Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Eighth Day (Eighth Day #1) by Dianne K. Salerni

The art of sneak reading. I'd hunker under the bed covers with a flashlight as a kid and remember shaking the metal casing to keep the light from dimming. Flashlights never lasted long for me. Good thing Kindles weren't around. I would have not slept. Take this book. I couldn't put it down. I made the mistake of bringing it in the bedroom and as I listened to the rhythmic breathing of my sleeping husband I was drawn to it on the nightstand like a moth to light. Kindles eclipse flashlights when it comes to under cover reading. The funny thing is I abandoned this book originally. A woman that I generally agree with on Goodreads gave it a good review so I tried it again. First time around I was turned off by the beginning where the protagonist mutters "suck, suck, suck" over and over. I decided it wasn't well written and after going through a slue of bad books, I just didn't want one that well... sucked. So I put it down. The author might go overboard with the word "suck" and "crap", but the character development is terrific and the plot unpredictable. And yes, it is well-written. A fast-paced action novel I know students will like not caring a hoot about overly repetitive slang words.

Thirteen-year-old orphan Jax Aubrey's dad just died and Jax is living with his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendrane who can hardly take care of himself much less Jax. When Jax gets up for school and finds no humans around in his town he thinks a zombie apocalypse has happened. He learns that there is an eighth day in an alternate world that exists between Wednesday and Thursday. He's a Transitioner meaning he can exist in the world's seven day cycle, as well as the extra eighth day. He meets Evangeline, a girl that only lives in the eighth day in the house next door. When Jax makes a series of mistakes trying to find answers, he sets in motion a plot by evil men who want to destroy the eighth day and all its inhabitants. In a wild adventure that uses Arthurian legend for world building the author creates unusual plot twists that will keep you flipping the pages (or swiping your Kindle screen under the bed covers.)

Jax is lonely and angry with Riley for taking him away from his relative, Naomi, who wants to take him in after the funeral and be his guardian. Riley has the wrong day for Jax's birthday, the time when Arthurian descendants show if they can Transition or not. When Jax turns thirteen, he Transitions and freaks out discovering the eighth day on his own. He also discovers the hard way his special powers causing all sorts of problems at school with peers. As an Inquisitor he can compel people to give him information. He has fun for a while, but things go awry and he gets kidnapped learning that life is dangerous as a Transitioner.

Riley has his own issues and doesn't explain things quickly enough for Jax who searches for answers on his own. After Riley discovers Jax has powers, he finds a mentor who starts to train him and answer some questions. The adults are always a few steps behind and Jax is developing strength quicker than they anticipated. The result is he gets in trouble quite a bit. When Jax meets Evangeline he connects with her because they are both lonely and scared. She also wants to use him to plot an escape.

Jax emotional arc goes from anger over his dad and Riley uprooting him to curiosity about his powers and the alternate world. He slowly accepts those around him and starts to like them, but knows they don't accept him. He's usually left out of plans and doesn't have enough knowledge to make well-informed decisions. The adults know this and think they are trying to protect him. Jax is not sure who to trust and who not as he navigates both worlds. Add to his guilt pile one dire situation after another and you have an exciting read.

The plot uses the Arthurian legend to create the different clans and factions of people juggling for power. Nothing is what is seems and the author does a nice job of keeping certain characters' actions ambiguous. Even the loyal vassal to the liege Lord is not a one-dimensional creature. He admires Jax for his loyalty to Evangeline. He is evil, don't get me wrong, but he tries to convince Jax to join him and shows choice in actions. An explosive ending (literally and figuratively) will make readers excited for the sequel. I know I was. I went and got an Advanced Reader Copy of book 2, "The Inquisitor's Mark." I did not bring the Kindle to bed with me this time. I needed my sleep. Make sure you have a chunk of time when you start this book.

4 Smileys

No comments:

Post a Comment