Dark Light of Day by Jill Archer on Books That Hook

Dark Light of Dayby Jill Archer
Series:Noon Onyx #1
Published byPenguin on 2012-09-25
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
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Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, and the world from slipping back into chaos. Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, the daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret: She was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of, and some would consider her an abomination. Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or to attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to sexual content.

*I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Dark Light of Day is the first book in the Noon Onyx series by Jill Archer.

I have read this book again, because I felt my original review was too harsh. Also, I had the feeling that I had missed something during my first reading. My new comments are in blue font.

Dark Light of Day is an urban fantasy (supposedly; it feels more like fantasy to me) set in a post-apocalyptic world. The demons won. Now people worship demons. There is a lot of mythological development, but the world itself left a lot to be desired. I had no sense of time or place in relation to now. That is only true if the book is an urban fantasy, which I don’t believe it is. I no longer see as many sources claiming this is an urban fantasy novel, which is good.

Obviously, this takes place in the future, but how far ahead in time? What continents are these towns on? I assume this is Earth, yet I don’t recall her saying so. I’ll concede that I may have missed that detail. The world is called Halja. I think the author intended to create an entirely new world. If that’s the case, my previous remarks are irrelevant. However, my more general concern is that this world is not situated in such a way that makes it believable to me. Only a few places are mentioned. I have no idea about the larger picture of the world the characters are in. I’m also unclear about why this world is so technologically stunted when hundreds of years have passed since the apocalypse. Couldn’t/wouldn’t people have rebuilt by then? Again, it depends on if this world is a whole new planet or a post-apocalyptic version of Earth. I believe I was being unreasonable here. My apologies to the author.

The author did include some geography in the story. It was just hard for me to picture where everything was located in relation to other places.

The world seems technologically stunted in some ways, but advanced in other ways. They have lights, cabs, ferries, etc.

I was a little confused about why Noon only received letters most of the time, but at the Carmine residence, she used a “harmonic” to answer a call. Also, if the Carmines had a harmonic, why didn’t Noon’s family have one? Instead of leaving a message on a mirror that Noon doesn’t find until five days later, why didn’t Peter or Night just call Noon’s parents to get help? Or ask her parents where she went (because her dad knew she was going to the Carmine’s home)?

It is evident that the author put a lot of thought and effort into the worldbuilding. As a whole, it is well-developed. There were just some things I didn’t understand, especially what I have already mentioned.

The book starts with Noon trying to figure out how she can get out of going to the university where she will need to declare herself as a Maegster. She is not supposed to have that kind of magic. She and her brother are the opposite of how people are supposed to be. Men are supposed to have waning magic; women are supposed to have waxing magic.

Noon goes to school, but hides her magic and doesn’t declare because she hates the kind of magic she has. She thinks it’s unfair that she is the one woman who cannot heal and grow things. She hates who she is. Her self-doubt and self-hatred make it really hard for Ari, the young man who immediately takes a romantic interest in her.

At the university, she makes some friends. She keeps trying to hide who and what she is, but Ari and a few others know. Eventually, she’s forced to make a decision. Mainly because Ari says he’ll do it for her if she doesn’t.

It never became clear to me why he cared so much about whether she declared herself as a Maegster.

Meanwhile, everyone is on edge because healers have been attacked by a demon at or near the train station. Only one person got away alive.

Noon is a hard character to like. She’s wishy-washy and skittish. At times, she is plain stupid. Noon seems more like a teenager, but she’s in her twenties. She does have some personal development, but I got the feeling a lot of her issues weren’t resolved at the end of the book. I still agree with these comments; Noon vacillates too much. She says she wants to be strong, but then whines and depends on others to tell her what to do. She says she doesn’t want Ari to have control over her, yet she gives control over to him at every turn.

As I said in my original review, she does have some personal development. My main issue with her development is that she credits it to Ari’s influence, instead of having grown on her own.

Ari is okay, but he feels underdeveloped, probably because the reader never gets to see things from his perspective since the story is told in Noon’s first person point-of-view. Her other romantic interest is a manipulative jerk. If you don’t like love triangles, you might not like Dark Light of Day.

The strongest part of this book was the middle, which is funny because that’s where often stories start to sag. This one starts out slow. The middle is good. The ending was disappointing. It feels rushed. I think I felt this way because there is an abrupt jump in time and location between the end of chapter 25 and the beginning of chapter 26, which perhaps was unavoidable because Noon was unconscious. Not all the loose ends are cleaned up. Some things that are written just don’t make sense. For example, the explanation for how Noon gets her magic control isn’t always logical because sometimes the explanation fits and sometimes it doesn’t. As I re-read what I wrote in my original review of Dark Light of Day, I can see how that last statement might be confusing. I believe I was trying to avoid giving spoilers. I’ll explain what I meant: View Spoiler »Noon’s solution to her lack of magical control was to throw positive emotions into the mix. This worked when she was at the bonfire. She lit the bonfire without a problem. After this point in the story, she never tries to use the positive emotions again. Every time she needs to use her magic, she throws out negative emotions. On page 370, Noon says, “the most powerfully controlled blast I’d ever thrown” when “poured all the anger and impotence I felt.” This contradicts the solution. It was supposed to be positive not negative emotions that gave her control. « Hide Spoiler

Also, the author makes a big deal about how Noon is in mourning. This threw me through a loop. I actually went back and re-read the previous chapter to see who died. No one did. I guess she was mourning the loss of a friendship. I think confusion could have been avoided if the author had let the reader know that Ari and Peter were still alive before she mentioned mourning.

Another thing, Noon says at least her boyfriend is alive and well. Then, a little later you find out he’s still injured and using a cane. That doesn’t seem well to me.

I know I’ve complained a lot, but there had to have been something I liked or I wouldn’t have wasted my time reading it. I guess the mystery of the murdered women

(that gets solved from left-field) made me continue. I struck out that remark because I realized it wasn’t so far out of left field. I should have realized that the law case would tie into the murder investigation somehow. I also liked that the sex scenes were tastefully written.

I should also mention here that Jill Archer is a good writer. She wrote Dark Light of Day in a way that made it easy for me to visualize the settings and events. I thought the book was well-written overall.

Despite everything I have said, I liked Dark Light of Day enough to read the next book in the series. I will probably re-read this one at some point to see if I missed anything that could help my understanding of the world. When and if I do, I’ll replace this review.

Now that I have read the book again, I see that I did miss some things on my first reading. However, my overall rating of the book hasn’t been affected.

For me, Dark Light of Day was good but not great, mainly because the characters lacked positive qualities that I could admire. I didn’t feel invested in any of the characters. If Noon had been more independent (in actions, not just in words), I could have overlooked some of the minor inconsistencies and sources of confusion that I have mentioned in this review.

Note: The original rating was 3.5 stars. Because we no longer use half stars, I have raised it to 4 stars.

About Jill Archer

Jill Archer writes genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, White Heart of Justice, and Pocket Full of Tinder. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

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