ARC REVIEW: DAY BOY BY TRENT JAMIESON

the book cover for Day Boy by Trent Jamieson
  • STAR RATING:  3 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 320 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: August 23, 2022.
  • PUBLISHER: Erewhon
    CONTENT WARNINGS: Blood, murder, violence, suicidal thoughts
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Thank you to Netgalley and Erewhon for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

They worship the Sun: the only god as cruel as they are.

The Masters, dreadful and severe, rule the Red City and the lands far beyond it. By night, they politic and feast, drinking from townsfolk resigned to their fates. By day, the Masters must rely on their human servants, their Day Boys, to fulfill their every need and carry out their will. 

Mark is a Day Boy, practically raised by his Master, Dain. It’s grueling, often dangerous work, but Mark neither knows nor wants any other life. And, if a Day Boy proves himself worthy, the nightmarish, all-seeing Council of Teeth may choose to offer him a rare gift: the opportunity to forsake his humanity for monstrous power and near-immortality, like the Masters transformed before him. 

But in the crackling heat of the Red City, widespread discontent among his fellow humans threatens to fracture Mark’s allegiances. As manhood draws near, so too does the end of Mark’s tenure as a Day Boy, and he cannot stay suspended between the worlds of man and Master for much longer.

With brilliantly evocative, hypnotic prose, Trent Jamieson crafts a fang-sharp and surprisingly tender coming-of-age story about a headstrong boy—and the monster who taught him to be a man.

Day Boy is unlike any other vampire book I have ever read. I’ll be honest — I requested an ARC simply because the cover was drop dead gorgeous. It has just the right amount of mystery to it, too. The cover is ultimately better than the book, unfortunately. Day Boy is truly a coming-of-age story set in a new world emerging after an ending. (This is perhaps badly phrased — it’s our world, just after a disaster/world war or something. The novel takes place in what’s left of Australia.) Jamieson alludes to some awful thing that has ended the world and brought upon the Masters (they are the vampires of the world. I really wish he had just come out and said what happened. Authors do this all the time with dystopian/post-apocalyptic books. Just tell me what happened!!!

Anyway, the main character is a young boy named Mark. We’re not really told how old he is, just that he’s been with his master for eight years, and this is his last year as a Day Boy. Day Boys are basically servants for their masters — doing whatever needs doing during the day while the vampires can’t come out. In turn, they get protection, a home, education, and care. Some Day Boys get the bite, and turn into masters as a reward once they’re done. I got the impression, though, that this was rare. Mark, as a character, is a little spitfire, and is constantly getting into trouble that would be easily avoided if he just listened to his master.

But he’s a young boy, so why would he do that?

We watch Mark as he makes bad decision after bad decision, and how he deals with the consequences of those decisions. Mark’s voice tells the story, and it’s through his eyes we see everything. Dain is Mark’s master, and he was frequently waffling between caring for him as a son, or terrifying him into behaving. He was an interesting vampire — bookish and seemingly weak compared to the others on page. The other masters in town were much more foreboding — especially the ones in the City Beneath the Mountain.

There’s no real plot, which normally doesn’t bother me all that much. However, when you do a vampire novel with no real plot…it begs the question what the book is really even about. Overall, I’d say Day Boy was an interesting way to say that life is what you make of it. There is no such thing as fate — you are in charge of what happens. The writing is well done, you really feel as if you’re there with Mark watching everything awful unfold.

A solid three stars. Two stars docked because I do wish more information had been given about certain things I don’t want to spoil. Another thing that bothered me that was never explained — why did that one Master hate Dain so much? What happened between them? Too many questions left unanswered.

DAY BOY comes out AUGUST 23, 2022.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

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