Dayhunter: Great setting, light plot

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book review Jocelynn Drake Dark Days 2. DayhunterDayhunter by Jocelynn Drake

I’ve just been to Venice and back, and I’m not even jetlagged…

In Nightwalker, Jocelynn Drake transported the reader to Egypt and London, and now, in Dayhunter, we’re headed for the canals. As the book begins, Mira and Danaus are summoned to appear before the vampire council in Venice. I loved following Mira to all her favorite haunts in the city; Drake does a great job of creating a tangible sense of place.

Unfortunately, the plot didn’t grab me as much as the setting did, at least not at the beginning. It’s sort of too fast and too slow at the same time, crazy as that may sound. It’s fast in the sense that there are constant skirmishes; it’s slow in the sense that the fights don’t seem to advance the plot much. We are witnessing, pardon my French, a pissing contest between Mira and the elders. Mira is trying to assert dominance over certain vampires and vice versa. Later, it turns out there’s a reason Mira is being goaded into so many fights, but at the time it kind of gave me a headache.

It also feels as though Dayhunter steps back a little from the Mira/Danaus relationship that was foreshadowed in Nightwalker. I loved the sparks that flew between the two. There seemed to be fewer sparks in this installment. I even felt a little cheated when Mira went to bed with a less interesting character. Between the plot issues and the relationship issues, when Mira reflects that she misses playing cat and mouse with Danaus in Savannah, that makes two of us.

However, the story becomes more engaging about halfway through. The naturi Rowe shows up and drops a few metaphorical bombshells. We learn more about the naturi’s plans and about the plots being hatched by the vampire elders, and these revelations lead to fight scenes that have more bearing on the overarching plot. Also, Mira begins to take on more of a leadership role, and this is really fun to watch.

I’m starting Dawnbreaker now, and hoping it’s heavier on the main plot and the Mira/Danaus tension, and lighter on the posturing.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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  1. Anonymous /

    I have thought on trying out these books. I love a great world building but I like to have a great plot as well. I may keep these in mind, as they sound wonderful, but I think I have a few other books on the list I will have to get to first. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Thanks! The jury’s still out in this series, for me. I loved the first one, couldn’t put it down, but the second one dragged a bit, even though everybody was fighting all the time. I’m about 100 pages into the third one now.

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