Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake
published by Eos in July 2008
For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker—an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed... and may be all that prevents her doom.
The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt... or be hunted.
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Dark Days series, book #1
The Story: Mira is a 600 years old vampire and is the enforcer of a domain in Savannah. Recently, Danaus, a vampire hunter, has been killing vampires in her domain. The book opens with Mira meeting Danaus in a fight, but she doesn't kill Danaus... turns out Danaus is seeking her out for more information on the naturi. The naturi are some sort of elves/faeries who seek power from the Earth. As a result, they want to get rid of nightwalkers and humans, because these two races weaken the Earth. 500 years ago, the Ancient vampires along with Mira were able to trap most naturi along with their queen in another dimension, sealing the door. Now, the naturi wants to break the seal and in order to do so, have to have 3 sacrifices at given times and places. Danaus brings proof that the naturi have already achieved the first sacrifices... Mira has no other choice than to make an alliance with Danaus and find the three Ancient vampires - Sadira, Mira's maker, Jabari, her one time mentor and protector, and Tabor, a 3000 years old vampire - to reform the triad who have sealed away the naturi... Unfortunately, nothing goes according to plans and Mira learns things that she'd prefer to forever bury in her memories...
My Opinion: Nightwalker was an interesting read and my feelings for it are a bit mixed up. The story, world building and characters are all very complex which make things interesting... but also very confusing. Like every first book in a series, Nightwalker is filled with world building information, introductions and settings, but it was too much in my opinion. What made it difficult is that Mira and Danaus move around a lot in this book... they don't just stay in Savannah, but actually travels to Egypt and London. So Ms Drake spends the first quarter of the book introducing Mira and her surroundings and entourage to the readers, only to yank her out of it and drop her in foreign locations and starts over the introduction and setting. The worst to me is that the book doesn't wrap everything up nicely and Mira doesn't return to Savannah... so I don't know, I kind of feel that time was wasted on the setting... and at the same time, I'm curious to know what happened after Mira's departure. In addition, I thought the Nightwalkers as a race, wasn't properly introduced. What does the Nightwalker included? What kind of shapeshifters are there? What are the powers of a vampire? You know, like basic information...
I think that was my main problem with the book... too much world building and lots of background, but not enough basic information. I definitively think that Ms Drake could have balanced it better. The worst is I'm sure a lot more is coming in the next book. Otherwise, Nightwalker was quite good and interesting. I enjoyed Mira's character, although there's still lots of mystery. She's tough, but at the same time, vulnerable. I like that she has a lot of depth and many faces. We were introduced to Mira the Enforcer, Mira the businesswoman, Mira the vampire. I'm intrigued with her past. I'm still not sure if we know the real Mira though... Danaus is still a complete mystery and I can't wait to find more about him. I do feel there's going to be a relationship developing between Mira and Danaus and that will be interesting. From what we've read so far though, Danaus is mostly the typical hunter hero... You know, strong, dark, straight-minded... can't wait to see the ice breaking. I enjoyed the other characters as well and like Mira, there's a lot of depth. Not very stereotypical and I want to find out what are their motives and their true nature.
The storyline was quite interesting, but it's very complex and I had difficulty to follow sometimes. The author wasn't able to maintain the pace throughout the book either, so some parts were slow-paced and felt draggy a little. I have to admit that at one point, I almost put down the book and decided not to finish it. Instead, I jump to the end and read a chunk... then, came back to the missing section. Although I found it a bit difficult to read, I was still too curious and drawn in to put it down and not finish it.
A warning to romance fans... this is urban fantasy, so there's no romance between Mira and Danaus. There will probably be one in the future, but not now. That's why I didn't mind Mira having a side-kick... although I did think it complicated the story for nothing.
My Grade: B- . It was interesting enough to keep me reading and probably make me pick up the sequel. Although you have to force through it... it's not a book where I was enthralled during the whole read.