Eve of Destruction (Marked, Book 2)
by S.J. Day
Cover Artist: Gordon Crabb
Review by Drew Bittner
Tor Books Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765360427
Date: 02 June 2009 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Eve Hollis thought the worst was over. After all, she had survived her first week of being a "Mark" (i.e., a sinner who is drafted by Heaven to hunt demons) and successfully navigated the romantic rapids between the biblical Cain and Abel. So what comes after that? Plenty.
In Eve of Destruction, the second Marked novel by S.J. Day, Eve goes for basic training while her boyfriend Cain hunts a rogue werewolf chieftain and his brother/rival Abel tracks a new and devastating demon. Eve begins her training as a pariah--seems the others are jealous of her for having Cain as her mentor--but when bad things start happening, Eve may be the only one who can help the others survive.
It seems there is a murderer among the Mark trainees, which ought to be impossible, since they are being overseen directly by the archangel Raguel (aka Raguel Gadara, multibillionaire real estate developer). But Raguel cannot perceive the source of the danger, leaving it up to Eve to find the killer before all the trainees are dead.
Meanwhile, Cain has problems of his own. A chance encounter in Santa Cruz, on the way to executing a werewolf boss gone bad, leads to Cain discovering what Abel is tracking: a new kind of demon, one that has the potential of killing every Mark in the world. He's alone, helped only by an untrustworthy dream-demoness, and the odds are about the worst he's ever faced. Not to mention, he's distracted by his worries over Eve's safety.
Abel, on the other hand, is keeping a very close eye on Eve, after a jaunt in Australia shows how dangerous this new demon can be. Despite his own ambitions to become more than "middle management" in the Mark hierarchy, he's driven to protect Eve, who has come to be more than leverage against his brother.
Things get even more interesting when Raguel disappears while facing off against a new kind of Infernal, leading to major changes in the status quo for our heroes. Of course, they have to survive the week first--and with the arrival of a team of amateur investigators, their situation becomes ever more problematic.
If Eve, Cain and Abel can't work out their issues, Armageddon may come a little earlier than scheduled.
S.J. Day delivers another fast-paced, action-packed bombshell in Eve of Destruction, the second release in as many months. (If you thought you saw an Eve book on the shelves, your eyes aren't deceiving you--these are coming out once per month from May to July.)
Eve Hollis, a half-Asian interior decorator, is an engaging and resourceful heroine, whose annoyance with authority is well-founded and not the knee-jerk "smark aleck" pose adopted by way too many urban fantasy heroes. She has a great supporting cast in her mother and father, keeping her grounded in reality while her colleagues draw her into the supernatural.
Cain and Abel are sophisticated and well-rounded, showing more than a simple brother vs. brother dynamic that might have worn thin around the fourth chapter. Their relationship is both ancient and complex; Day presents them as deeply conflicted, resenting and even hating each other even while a deeper, almost unacknowledged bond of love exists between them. It's perhaps one of the best written brotherly relationships in the genre.
Readers should enjoy the diverse supporting cast of Marks in training, as well as the pastiche of a well-known group of young investigators. (The lack of a psychedelic van shouldn't throw off anyone, really.)
The plot rockets along, with Eve training at a former Army base with a group of new-fledged Marks, including a French supermodel, a German Goth girl, an Irish man eager to take on the unholy, an Italian and his paramour, and more. One by one, several of these are taken out of the picture; Day manages to make us care about each trainee before pulling the plug (often in surprising ways), so that the deaths don't feel like cardboard cutouts being knocked over.
With all the right elements, Eve of Destruction is one book that genre fans ought to buy right away.