Book Review: Day Soldiers

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I grabbed this book while it was free on Amazon for my Kindle App. It had some good reviews and discussed the fact that the monsters of the book – the vampires and werewolves – are not Twilight copies. These are monsters and they act like monsters. This is probably the highlight of the novel.

The rest of the characters, however, are nothing special. The protagonist of the novel, Lily, is the most developed of all of the characters, and she is, at best, 2.5 of 3 dimensions of a character. We are very rarely given insight in to her thinking process or emotional state. There are few, if any, ramifications psychologically to her actions.

As a for instance – At the start of the novel, Lily kills her father (who has been turned in to a Vampire). She shoots him in cold blood, rationalizing that there is nothing of her father left. Makes sense. The only problem with this is that, immediately prior, Lilly talks about how valuable her father is to her and how much she loves him.

All right, fine, she has a moment of regret following it, but there’s never any real resolution to her. She doesn’t feel guilty, she doesn’t feel regret, she doesn’t even really reflect on her actions. This is in conflict with her previously established characterization – however brief. The incident is brought up several more times throughout the novel, and each time it’s merely reflected on and reminded of. Other than that, there is little, to no, consequence to Lily from her actions or her thoughts. She doesn’t really react to anything and, more or less, moves on to the next conflict.

The rest of the characters are one-shots. There is a lot of POTENTIAL in many of the characters – one gets injured and replaced with implants, their trainer is a Nun, the overall leader of the `Day Soldiers’ is a friendly Werewolf who happens to be against his kind. All of these are opportunities for fantastic characterization, but they are missed in favor of having one or two palette traits. There could be a LOT more to these characters – they have tremendous narrative potential – but those developments are simply not there.

As to conflicts – there are a LOT of conflicts. The villains here don’t, in general, grab the Idiot ball. They are monsters and it shows. This is a good thing, even if it keeps the villains as two-dimensional characters. They behave like Monsters and don’t just `wait for the hero’ to bring up their weapons – they attack. Many of the attacks are intelligent as well – the author has checked through the tropes and made sure to avoid a large number of the common errors that authors have.

The action moves with the speed and determination of a typical spy thriller – we bounce from conflict to conflict and battle to battle like a cat with a short attention span. It moves extremely quickly, pausing only for a breath here and there. In that way, the novel is a lot like a James Patterson novel – lots of quick and easy scenes. Unlike a Patterson novel, however, this breathing room isn’t really used to develop the characters but is, instead, used to develop the world setting.

There is a lot of World Building to the novel and *sometimes* it is done well. The majority of the time, however, it is thrown in with a comment that is the authorial equivalent of `because that’s the way it is.’ The creation of the military organization that Lily works for, for instance, is one of the former development moments – it is explained and justified fairly well and with some roundedness. The individual `units’ within the organization, however, are examples of the latter. There’s no reason for a military organization to identify themselves the way these units are identified. It doesn’t make tactical sense, nor does it make organizational sense. It does sound cool and simple, but that’s not enough to make it feel/sound authentic. Unfortunately, most of the world building falls in to that category rather than the first.

On the whole, this novel is OK. There are parts of it that really shine, but getting to those parts can be….a test of patience and credulity. I am hoping that the sequels are better – with all of the World Building taken care of in this first novel, the author can focus on his characters and conflict better in the sequels. For the price of free, this novel is worth it, but I would not follow that with the suggested retail price.

Overall ratings – 3.2/5
Writing – 3/5
Characterization – 2/5
Setting – 3/5
Story – 3/5
Flow – 2.5/5
Value – 5/5 (At FREE), 1/5 (At Standard Listing)

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