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Book Review: Sunset

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“An unlikely savior emerges to prevent the advent of mass destruction and genocide descending on the world…

By Day

Los Angeles, 2040. When the terrorist known as Medusa threatens to kill millions with a stolen nuclear bomb, Nick Jameson makes a fateful decision. He reveals himself on global television as a Daywalker – a vampire with a soul. To save Los Angeles, Nick exposes not only his own gifts but three separate cultures based on millennia-old magic.

By Night

The three metahuman races exist in careful balance, working to maintain a fragile peace. Nick and his fellow Daywalkers successfully master their natural bloodlust. The Sentinels, armed with both magic and steel, repress their warlike instincts. And even some Nightwalkers, normally their natural enemies, have deserted the Court of Shadows to join the triple alliance. Nick Jameson is deeply involved with two such Nightwalkers – handsome Lorcan and powerful Rory. Both men love Nick. But neither can protect the new Ambassador to Humanity from the events he has set in motion.

By the Sword

Jeremy Harkness was lured into Medusa’s service under false pretenses. A loner with no one and nothing to cling to, he was willing to die for his cause. But the night Medusa tried to obliterate Los Angeles, Jeremy met Nick Jameson, triggering the onset of his own psychic gifts. For Jeremy is the third race of metahuman, a Sentinel, born to kill the Nightwalkers with no quarter asked or offered. And neither Medusa nor the Court of Shadows will settle for peace when they can make war.

Betrayal and treachery lurk around every corner on the road to coexistence, and at every turn, Nick must question who to trust among his metahuman allies, friends, and lovers—before their civilization is plunged into the depths of darkness and bloodshed. With millennia-old magic, emerging romance, and ever-shifting allegiances, this inventive series unveils a scintillating, homoerotic world of Nightwalkers, Daywalkers, Sentinels, and Humans, who battle for world dominance in the not-too-distant future.”

Title: Sunset

Series: Pact Arcanum Saga #1

Author: Arshad Ahsanuddin

Page Count: 504

Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: February 28th, 2024

nset by Arshad Ahsanuddin was my latest read for the SPSFC-3. This was one of four books passed onto our group from the previous round. The review, thoughts and scores below are my own and do not necessarily reflect my team’s overall score or the competition in general.
 I’ve heard a bit of chatter about this one with some mixed feelings. If I’m being honest, after reading the blurb for this one, I wasn’t sure I was even going to attempt this one as it didn’t seem like something I would enjoy. The full combination of Science Fiction and Fantasy always seems to be difficult to pull off well. And I’m not a big fan of vampire reads either. This isn’t to say I dislike vampire stories, I just haven’t found myself reading much along those lines.
I have a very good streak going right now with enjoying reads more than I thought I would. I’ve taken a couple of chances this year and each time they worked out really well for my enjoyment. This is just the latest in that personal trend.
The pacing started off a little slow. I think this is where some of the more traditional epic fantasy aspects shine through. There is a lot going on with a lot of different characters and it is going to take some time to set the scene so to speak. I began Sunset as an immersion read with a copy of the ebook as well as the audiobook narrated by Greg Tremblay. I often times do this as it helps me settle in with narrators who are new to me. That wasn’t needed with this one as I’m very familiar with Tremblay’s narrations. I just finished up a six book science fiction series that he narrated last year. My biggest hurdle was simply settling into Arshad’s world so I could tell the two stories apart with Tremblay’s voice. It made it even more difficult because there were major characters named Nick in both. Just my luck! This honestly didn’t’ take me long though as these worlds are drastically different than one another.
The world building worked really well for me. When any story includes immortal beings there is a lot of potential to either give us history or fall flat without filling in those gaps. I felt the author did a good job in both setting the scene of current events as well as either giving us out right or eluding to some more of the historical side of things. There is a lot of long game tactics being played in this book which really appealed to me. I really liked the interactions between both the majority and minority players from our three factions. Those factions being humans, day walkers and night walkers. Also in the mix are the Sentinels to play their part as well. As I have already said, there is a lot going on in this story.
The character development was also nicely done in Sunset. We have several good character arcs throughout book one. Many of our characters go through some change in this book. I just want to point out that I loved the entire Icarus scene near the end of the book. The event itself as well as the aftermath of that event.
In wrapping things up, I just want to reiterate again how difficult it can be to pull of a true combination of Science Fiction and Fantasy within the same storyline. I feel that this author pulled that off rather nicely though.
Probably the only aspect of Sunset that I struggled with at times is not just the amount of romance but the scope of things. This goes beyond any traditional love triangle. I’m just not a big fan of romance in my reads in general. I get that it can be a powerful tool to show connections with characters but it’s just one of those styles that don’t typically work well for me. This aspect is front and center in a lot of this read though. That’s one of the few knocks I have strictly on personal preference.
Needless to say, I plan to keep an eye out and continue this series in the future.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 4.5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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  1. Nice review! I had more issues with the pacing and characters (with so many different names for each character) than you did, but I agree that the world building was done really well. I enjoyed learning all the background of the different groups.

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