Title: The Eighth Day
Author: Dianne K. Salerni
Series: The Eighth Day #1
Genre: Teen Fantasy… maybe.
The Overview: In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense. When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it’s the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he’s really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who’s been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day. And there’s a reason Evangeline’s hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.
I try not to post DNF reviews unless I think something in my reading experience might make a difference for someone else (either a positive or negative influence… pretty much whatever helps the reader out the most). In this case, I actually think a lot of people are going to enjoy this book despite my personal objections. It had an original concept, entertaining writing, and interesting characters – there were just a few things that kept me from fully appreciating it.
It started out with a really cool concept and a mildly futuristic, technological feel. The idea that time stands still for an eighth day of the week – which only a few people get to experience – was evoking, and I found myself engaged in the story right from the start. However, somewhere around 1/4 of the way through the book, the story suddenly shifted from that mildly futuristic feel to suddenly revolving around Arthurian lore… it was really bizarre. Up until that point, there was zero indication that this was where the story was heading. A few drop-in references of King Arthur and Merlin earlier on would’ve gone a long way in marrying these two very different plot ideas together (thereby preventing me from feeling totally blindsided).
I realize if I had read the overview more carefully before requesting this book, I probably could have saved myself a lot of time, as I don’t particularly enjoy reading anything Arthurian. That said, what the author did with the lore had an interesting twist, and I might have stuck with it if not for my biggest issue with the book. You see, by the time I stopped reading – about halfway through the book, the main arc (as in, the purpose of the story) was only just starting to be hinted at. Up until that point, the book had good elements, but no clear direction. I don’t ask much: just a general inkling of who the bad guy is and what danger that bad guy holds for the characters (heck, in this novel I would’ve settled for just one). I think it would’ve been really easy to incorporate early on, and might even have fixed the blindsided effect I mentioned earlier. In any case, I just got tired of waiting to find out what the book was about. As a general rule, the sooner you can bring in your main conflict, the better. I felt this book lacked a lot of organization and focus.
If you couldn’t tell, The Eighth Day didn’t work for me. Aside from the fact that I don’t care for Arthurian lore (a preference issue that probably won’t affect most readers), there were many things that sucked my enjoyment out of what could have been a really cool book – after all, it had interesting characters, a cool basic concept, and Salneri had a great writing voice… for me too many other elements fell short. The beauty of this review is that I don’t think my issues will bother many other readers. If you like Arthurian lore and don’t mind waiting until the second half of the book for the story to really start, give this one go… but don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;)
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