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“My employer. I’ve told you, I don’t know who he is. I always dealt with his associate. He’d show up, leave notes, or send others with messages. I’ve never contacted him.” He looked from one to the other, but they both remained stony and detached. “Come on, now. I can’t give you information I don’t have.” Sturtagaard was charming.
Annie rolled her eyes again. “You really don’t have any idea who the employer is?” she asked with sarcasm.
“Really, I don’t,” he said.
“So you’re building an army of the dead. How long did you have to get this done?” Annie took out her phone and pulled out her calendar.
“He wanted it ready for September first.”
Annie looked up with a grimace, and Cham looked surprised. She didn’t need to mark the date on her calendar or research its significance, though neither could figure out why a zombie army had to be created for that day, the Day of First Sun. It was a very powerful and ancient day for good magic.
“So, your employer wants an army of the dead on that day? Why?” Cham asked in a flat, emotionless voice.
“He’s a black wizard. What do you think he wants? He wants to overthrow the Council, take over the world, practice magic in the open. You know, the typical magical fantasy.” Sturtagaard grinned because he believed that would benefit the entire supernatural world.
“Wipe the smirk off your face, Sturtagaard. Having free reign won’t be as good as you think, with all the angry mobs, torches, and stakes through the heart.”
Annie smirked at Cham, who shook his head and laughed. He waited to compose himself before looking back at the vampire.
There is something so appealing about the idea of magic being real, especially in our ultra-modern world of computers, smart phones, mass media and weapons of mass destruction. The appeal of the fantastic helps drive the popularity of books and movies such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, and while I love traditional fantasy, in the last few years I have become a big fan of urban fantasy
What is urban fantasy you ask? It is a genre that blends magic with the modern world. Harry Potter is a soft example of this, but so much of the story takes place in a magical world removed from the, “normal,” world that I think of it as more of a pure fantasy series. The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher, is a more traditional example, where magic exists alongside the modern world, even if most people are completely unaware of it.
Sheryl Steines’s, The Day of the First Sun, falls in the urban fantasy genre and stakes out a place somewhere between the two examples above. Magic exists in the modern world, but it is actively hidden from the mundane world. The use of magic is compared to modern conveniences throughout the book and is often used for clever plot devices. The blending of the two worlds would be seamless except for the intentional divisions created by the author, and the book is better for it.
The story follows Annie Pearce, a member of the magical world’s police force, the Wizard’s Guard, as she and her partner, Cham, as they investigate the murder of a princess from the non-magical world. Solving a murder might be hard enough on its own, but when they’re not allowed to expose the existence of magic, or that she was killed by magic it becomes even harder. When you throw into the mix a plot that threatens to unleash the darkest of magic upon the world and a vampire that would love nothing more than to drain every last drop of Annie’s blood, and the odds may be even more than Annie and the Wizard’s Guard can handle.
I like the book. The characters are personable and a little flawed which makes it easy to relate to them. In the background of the main story is the blossoming love of Annie and Cham, who have been friends since they were little, and it adds another dynamic to the story that keeps it from being a crime novel with magic. The two of them are engaging enough that you want to see them succeed and for Annie to be happy.
Most of the other characters, outside of the villain, are superfluous. They have personalities and you can tell the difference between them, but they generally serve little purpose other than to keep the main characters from doing everything. I would have liked a little more from the supporting cast, but it was ultimately unnecessary.
The one thing I didn’t like about the book was that it felt uncomplicated. It was a straightforward read, something that would have fit in a young adult novel, but it left me wanting more. There were numerous opportunities for little twists to make the life of the heroine more difficult, but the author let it be. There were few complications and most of the heroine’s plans (with the exception of two) went, well, according to plan. The resulting lulls in the suspense and action killed the pacing and left me a little dissatisfied. There is room for a sequel here, and I hope that now that we are familiar with the characters we can see the suspense and danger ratcheted up to a new level.
The Day of the First Sun is an excellent read that those new to the genre, or fans of good writing in general, will enjoy. You can find it in Kindle and paperback through Amazon.com.
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Day of First Sun eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
- Purchase your copy of The Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
- Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
- Visit today’s featured social media event
Help my blog win: The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME. About the book: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon. About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
- An Interview With Sheryl Steines Author of the Terrific New Novel The Day of First Sun (kcareyinfante.com)
- Endless Magic (musewithcoffee.wordpress.com)
- Harry Dresden, Romantic Lead from The Rhetorical Gamer (morrisonmp.wordpress.com)
- fantasy land (signedviolet.wordpress.com)
- An Epic Fantasy That Doesn’t Hold Back on the “Epic” [Book Review] (io9.com)