It’s the end of the world as we know it. That seems to be the consensus among the novels I’ve been reading lately.
The two most recent – Betsy Dornbusch’s Archive of Fire (Book 1 in the Sentinel trilogy) and Marie Lu’s Legend (also the first book in a planned trilogy) both have unique takes on this end of the known world meme.
I ordered Archive of Fire because of one thing – Demi-demons. For those of you who read my book reviews regularly, you know that I’m easily hooked by a fresh concept. Sadly, I am often disappointed. Great concepts, it turns out, rarely make good writers. On the other hand, when a good writer meets a great, fresh concept. Holy whoa! Get out of the way! And that is just what happened with Archive of Fire.
Face it, we’re all sick to death of Demi-Gods (Thank you Rick Riordan. They were swell, but the swelling has gone down.) And fallen angels, earth bound angels, broken angels… Done to death.
But, Demi-demons? Hadn’t heard of those. Heck, I hadn’t even thought of those. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean if all the little gods get to run around creating little godlets… Well, we all know demons are lusty, so it only makes sense that they’d be making offspring left and right. And those offspring… And if angels can fall so easily, perhaps, just perhaps, demons can rise…
So there’s your set up. There are demi-demons. There’s an epic battle for the fate of the world. And get this, there’s a whole group of demi-demons who are fighting FOR humanity! Yeah, they know they’re not supposed to be running amok up here and so they’re at war with their creator. They have formed one of those scary private security firms, like the ones that used to go to foreign countries and secretly kill bad guys before the president learned how to operate the drones. (There we go, putting demi-demons out of work. One more thing the GOP can blame Obama for.) And now Sentinel is preparing for the fight of their lives (and ours).
Enter the twins. Aidan and Kaelin didn’t realize that not every kid learns five ways to kill a man by the age of 14, but when they find out that their dad is a descendent of the demon Asmodai, and that they too are demi-demons, suddenly all their training, and their mother’s mood swings start making sense.
Archive of Fire keeps its focus tight on Aiden and Kaelin and their personal and familial struggles as they work to save their mother from both the demon Asmodai and Sentinel. It’s an action packed read that keeps you guessing, never truly sure who the good guys are. Betsy does an amazing job of making us believe in and care about her characters, even as we watch from the sidelines, waiting for the next twisted reveal.
I’m looking forward to book two taking us deeper into the intriguing world that Betsy has created and widening the lens just a little to let us see more of how this battle is affecting our own fragile existence.
Legend has been flickering on my periphery for a while now. It shows up in newsletters I subscribe to, the ads appear here and there, Marie Lu’s name haunts me like a whisper, so when I finally had the chance to buy the book straight from her hands at the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference, I totally blew it. I missed the signing and had to get it from the bookstore.
It took me just a couple of high energy, page turning nights to finish. I enjoyed the book from the opening page to the last. Marie is another writer who draws you in with her characters and makes you want to follow them through thick and thin.
The premise with Marie’s book is this – It’s the future. The world kind of sucks. There’s a giant evil “Mwa-ha-ha” government that rules every aspect of everyone’s life. At the age of 10 every kid takes the trials and their score determines the rest of their life. Kids who fail get sent to labor camps. Kids who do really well join the army, the most coveted job in the Republic.
When Day took his trials he was sure he’d passed with flying colors. He was shattered when he discovered he had failed. And even more disturbed when he learned that there were no labor camps, just human guinea pigs for disease and drug testing. Kids who failed, died.
But not Day. He escapes to become a master criminal, the most wanted person in all of the Republic.
June on the other hand got a perfect score at her trials. She’s fast tracked through training and is poised to become a top spy for the Republic when her brother is killed. Day is the prime suspect.
Legend is classic Romeo and Juliet, Day is from the wrong side of the tracks, June is privileged and powerful. And yet…
I look forward to reading book 2 in this series. As fun as this book was, when I reached the end I felt I had barely scratched the surface. I felt as though it was a mere introduction to the Republic, to Day and June, and to the writing skills of Marie Lu. I look forward to diving ever deeper into this big, bad new world.
Both of these books are available now, so what are you waiting for. Pick one up and let the world burn.