Eve of Destruction
S.J. Day
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Buy *Eve of Destruction (Marked, Book 2)* by S.J. Day

Eve of Destruction (Marked, Book 2)
S.J. Day
432 pages
June 2009
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Eve of Destruction, the second book in S.J. Day's Evangeline Hollis series, shows marked improvement from the first book, along with setting up extremely interesting situations for the rest of the series. The book is a thrill ride through a Biblical scenario brought forward to the modern day, with demons and angels (along with the humans who get stuck in between) fighting the good fight - and there's a little sex thrown in there, too.

After the events of Eve of Darkness, somehow Eve is brought back to life. Cain, one of the original brothers and Eve's mentor and lover, thinks that there must be some other plan for her. So does his brother, Abel, who is also Eve's controller and also in love with her. Eve hasn't received the official training that all Marks (human sinners tasked by God to fight demons on Earth to help cleanse their souls) go through, though, and the Archangel Raguel takes her and her new class to an abandoned military base that he uses for training purposes. But Eve becomes convinced that one of her classmates is a demon in disguise. With Cain and Abel both off on other assignments, she'll have to figure out what's going on by herself, or die trying.

Day has actually toned down the sex (and the sexy talk) quite a bit from the first book - not enough so that readers of the first book won't recognize her style in the second, but it's much less in the reader's face than before. While I like sex as much as the next reader, I'm glad that she did this. It gives the book a little more depth, though the first one was still fairly exciting, too. Perhaps this is because the three main characters are apart for most of this novel, and when Cain finally does rejoin her, he's changed quite a bit? Even so, itís nice to only hear a couple of times how ruggedly handsome Cain is.

Instead, Day explores the world and situations that she has set up, and she does a marvelous job of it. Abel is investigating a new type of demon that can easily kill Marks, which should be nearly impossible given the superhuman abilities that the divine essence gives them. As more information comes out about these demons, the archangels who run the various shadow companies that employ these Marks have to get together to figure out how to fight this new threat. I love how Day brings Biblical figures into the modern setting, all of them fairly ambitious to move themselves higher in Heaven's hierarchy (Cain himself wants to join the ranks, and Abel wants to move up).

Day has expanded her world even further by giving us a few scenes that take place in Satan's realm of fire in a unique way. Day's imagination may offend some who adhere to strict Christian beliefs, but for anybody else it's all intriguing.

Day's character work also wows. Eve is still looking for a way to get out of this mess, especially because she's actually closer to being an atheist than a Christian so she's still having problems believing all of this stuff. Of course, having the two original brothers as part of your love triangle can be a bit intimidating as well. They all still think about each other a lot, but since they are separated, each one is able to come into his or her own, and they are much better for it. We see Eve's quick wits and intelligence as she tries to figure out who's killing her classmates, and her compassion when a group of ghost hunters from a TV show come onto the base and end up getting involved as well. Cain and Abel are both conflicted; they are both in love with Eve but are also using her to further their own ends. Day lends Eve's classmates just enough character that we actually kind of care if they die. They each have a hook that brings the reader into their situation.

Regarding Day's writing style, as I said, she's toned down the sexual language some, but the sexuality still burns off the pages in some places. She definitely knows her hot and heavy stuff, but the regular scenes are well-written too. The dialogue snaps and the action scenes are pretty good, though some could be a bit more exciting. The humor gives a bit of relief from the intense situations.

All in all, Eve of Destruction is a great addition to the Evangeline Hollis story. Since this isn't a trilogy, but an ongoing series (apparently, anyway), it doesn't suffer from any kind of "second-book syndrome." It's a fun, quick read, and as long as you're not quick to be offended by taking Christian figures and situations and playing around with them, this series so far is worth the effort.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Dave Roy, 2009

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