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.
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The wind whipping across my face made it feel as if I’d just scrubbed with camphor and bits of glass. My eyes watered and my nose ran. I sniffled and kept walking, my boots crunching over the ice and snow. Stars winked high above me like baby’s breath thrown into an inky sea, but the main light came from small umber streetlights tucked into the stone wall beside me. The Aster’s front gate was just thirty yards ahead. I tried not to think about how cold the walk home would be if they refused to let me in. Inside my pocket, I squeezed my letter, forever wrinkling it. I knew some people framed theirs. I didn’t care. I planned to burn mine.
The wall I’d been walking along ended and a massive iron gate rose up in its place. To its side was a call box. Giving the letter one final vicious squeeze, I withdrew my hand, opened the box, and turned the crank. It stuck at first and I had to wrench it free from a brittle crust of snow and ice. Finally I heard a pop and some clicking. But no one answered. I stood for another half minute or so, blowing breath into my cupped hands to warm my now frigid mouth and nose. I turned the crank again. It was too late for dinner and too early for bed. Someone would answer. After a while, Mrs. Aster did.
“Hello?” squawked the box.
“Evening, Mrs. Aster,” I said, trying to keep my voice pleasant. “It’s Nouiomo Onyx.”
A moment of silence passed as I tucked a strand of hair back into my hood. The frost on my mitten brushed my cheek. The spot burned as if someone had just nicked me with a metal rake.
“Good evening, Noon.”
“Is Peter home?”
“I haven’t seen him since dinner.” This may or may not have been true. The Aster’s house was as big as a castle and I knew Peter spent most of his time studying either in his room or in the family library.
“I need to talk to him about something,” I said, still managing to keep the impatience out of my voice. “Would you let him know I’m here?”
“Can’t it wait until tomorrow?”
“No. I’m leaving tomorrow. That’s what I want to talk to him about.”
There was a long pause before she answered again.
“Noon, I have two hundred poinsettias, five holly trees, and a dozen live mistletoe sprigs in the house. You can’t come in. I’m sorry.”
I fought for calm and swallowed the lump in my throat. What had I expected? It was Yuletide and the Asters were Angels, for Luck’s sake.
“Can you tell him to come out?”
Another long pause and then, “He’s studying.”
I sighed. The lump was gone, replaced with resignation. I had lived next to Peter for twenty–one years, my whole life. And I could count on one hand the number of times this gate had opened for me. I cleared my throat, wanting my voice to sound stronger than I felt.
“Tell him I stopped by then, would you?”
“Of course. Good night, Noon.” The squawking stopped and then the static and the box went completely silent.
I turned and started crunching my way back, stepping carefully, and clutching my hood beneath my chin to keep the wind from my ears. I was so focused on how cold and miserable I was that it took me a while to notice the warmth spreading from the pocket of my cape. Just as I started to smell burning wool—disgusting!—warm turned to seriously hot and I glanced down to see that I had set my cape on fire. Brilliant. I hadn’t inadvertently set anything on fire since puberty. I waved a flat hand over the flames and quickly smothered the fire. I looked around to see if anyone was watching. Someone was.
Luckily, it was Peter.
He was leaning against the stone wall I had just walked along. The same stone wall that ran for miles along the Lemiscus, a lane as old as the Apocalypse which separated our families’ estates. The Asters had a wall running along their side. On ours? Nothing. My father, Karanos Onyx, was one of the most powerful Maegesters in the country. We didn’t need walls to keep our privacy.
Peter’s hood was down, his cloak unbuttoned, and his hands bare—obviously he’d rushed to meet me. In the deep twilight, his white blond hair was the color of snow and ash, nearly the opposite of my midnight colored tresses. He pushed off the wall with his shoulder, his lanky frame ambling over to my shivering one, and put his arm around me. His smile was friendly but his frost blue eyes were disapproving. He’d seen the fire.
“Shall we?” he said, motioning toward a small wooden door that was half–hidden in the wall.
“Is it safe?”
“As safe as it always is. I cast the spell just before opening the door.”
Huddled together we stepped through the doorway. Peter closed the door behind us and I stared ahead, remembering the first time I had stepped through that door. I’d been five and it was the first time I’d ever stepped foot in a garden. I’d been so in awe, so overwhelmed, by the life growing within these walls. The dark, destructive waning magic I tried so desperately to keep hidden deep inside of me had pulsed in response to the rich magentas, bright clarets, and cheerful fuchsias of the blooms and buds. Within seconds of my entry, I had killed three hydrangeas, two hostas, and a mulberry tree. Instantly, they’d become black silhouettes against the garden’s remaining ruddy colors.
It was the single most horrifying day of my life. And the most hopeful. Because a moment later Peter had cast a protective spell over the surviving plants so that I could walk among them—green, growing, living plants. I dared not touch anything now, but at least I could look.
The place would have been magical even without a spell. Yew topiaries shaped as Mephistopheles, Beelzebub, and Alecto warred alongside Gabriel, Michael, and Mary. They were all dormant now, the yews buried under an inch of fresh snow, but I could feel their presence. Alive and well, they waited for spring to resume their fight. Behind the wall, shielded by hedgerows and distant cypress trees, the snowflakes felt less like bits of glass and more like cold confetti. Peter and I sat down on a small cement bench, which was nestled back nicely in a cut–out niche of the hedgerow. He spread one side of his cloak around me and cast a spell of warmth over us. My shivering subsided.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
He’d seen the fire so I couldn’t very well say, “Nothing.” But I’d burned the letter so I couldn’t just shove it at him in way of explanation either.
“I’ve been accepted to St. Lucifer’s Law School.”
Peter’s face went still. It could have been surprise. It could have been anger. With Peter, you could never tell.
“Luck, Noon, did you apply there?”
I rolled my eyes. “My mom sent in the application for me. She swears she didn’t tell them about my magic. She thinks I should tell them. Her exact words were, ’It’s your power, you have to decide to use it.’” I snorted, remembering.
My power. As if it was something positive. People like me, who possessed waning magic, were a menace. Not only could I kill something just by touching it, my presence alone had the potential to harm growing things. Plants, pregnant women, gardens, greenery—all could suffer disastrous consequences if I came too near. Worse than that though, was what we were expected to become: Maegesters, or demon peacekeepers. Because waning magic was the only type of magic that could be used to control demons. Becoming a Maegester meant learning all of the Byzantine laws that Halja’s ruling demons idolized and then training to become their consiglieres, their judges, and even their executioners.
Worse than that though, was that I was the only female with waning magic that I knew of.
Unfortunately, I had to live with it, which was why I’d spent my whole life wishing I possessed the waxing magic of a Mederi healer, rather than the waning magic of a future Maegester.
“So are you going to go?”
I shrugged and made a helpless gesture. Ever since I was five, after that first disastrous entry into the Aster garden, Peter and I had been plotting a way to reverse my magic. Peter thought the answer was to find a rumored long lost Reversal Spell. But, so far, we hadn’t found it and my time was running out. Law and scripture required us to use our talents for the greater good. The demons who ruled Halja had no patience for rule breakers, and so under Haljan law, anyone with magic had to declare it by Bryde’s Day of their twenty–first year. That day, the day I’d been dreading my entire life, was now just weeks away.
“I don’t know, Peter. It’s a big gamble, not declaring by the deadline. I’ll be killedif they find out I have magic and didn’t declare it.”
Peter scoffed and I bristled.
“Peter!” I said, suddenly angry. The snow on the branches above us instantly melted and dribbled down on us, a chilling reminder of the combustible magic I was trying to hide. “You act as if the demons, the Council, and the law are of no concern.”
Slowly, he rubbed the back of his bare neck, swiping at the cold drops that had fallen there. He stared out into the snow covered garden, his lustrous blue eyes never meeting the soft smokey bronze of mine.
“Noon, I’m so close,” he said finally, turning to me. “You’ve got to trust me. I know I’ll be able to find the Reversal Spell before Bryde’s Day. Can’t you convince your mother to let you stay home for a few more weeks?”
I shook my head. “She kicked me out, Peter. My own mother.”
Peter grimaced. “Is there anyone else you can stay with? Just until I find the spell?”
I stared at him and then smirked. “I’d move in with you, but your mother hates me.”
“She doesn’t hate you . . . Wait, you’d move in with me?”
“I . . .”
I didn’t know. Peter was my best (and only) friend, but I’d given up my adolescent dreams of anything happening romantically between us years ago. I’m not even sure Peter had known I’d felt that way about him.
“Peter, I need my own place. And I need a job. I need to figure out what to do with my life.”
“Well, I guess you could go to St. Lucifer’s temporarily, just until I find the spell. If your mother didn’t declare for you, your secret’s still safe. Some people might suspect, but I think they’re too afraid of your father to speak openly of it or to declare for you. Just enroll in the Barrister classes, not the Maegester ones. Instead of learning how to police demons like a future Maegester, learn how to help Hyrkes follow the Demon Council rules like a future Barrister.”
“There will be others with waning magic who are there to train as Maegesters. They’ll be in the Barrister classes too. There won’t be any way to avoid them.” Members of the Host who had waning magic could often sense one another. It was a magical remnant of the days when our ancestors had been Lucifer’s warlords.
“I can cast a cloaking spell over you that should last for a few weeks,” Peter said. “I’ll reinforce it when I get there.”
Peter was twenty–four. For the last three years he’d been attending the Joshua School, a prestigious Angel academy that shared a campus with St. Lucifer’s. Angels, whose power came from their beliefs rather than their birth, were different than waning and waxing magic users. They cast spells, instead of using innate power.
I raised my eyebrows at him. “You can cast a powerful enough cloaking spell to hide me from any Maegester at St. Lucifer’s?”
For the first time that night, Peter grinned. “Have a little faith, Noon. Have you ever sensed your dad’s magic before?”
I frowned. Not that I could remember. Peter nodded and smiled.
“That’s because he’s always cloaked. I can do the same for you.”
“Do you really think you can find the Reversal Spell in less than a month?” I said, still worried. “Most people think it’s a myth.”
“It’s not a myth!” Peter grabbed my arm as if I hadn’t heard his next words quoted from him a thousand times already.
“’He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things have passed away. And He who was seated on the throne said, “I make all things new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. ”’
“Noon, somewhere out there is an ultimate spell of reversal, a spell that makes things the way they were meant to be. The old book of Revelation doesn’t give us the spell, but we know from it that the spell once existed. Someone wrote it down at His command and I’m going to find it.”
I stayed silent, not knowing what to say. Did the Reversal Spell really exist?
“What does Night think?” Peter said, cutting into my thoughts.
Night was short for Nocturo, the Maegester’s name my parents had given to my twin brother. Within a day of our birth, it became clear that our names were completely inconsistent with our magic. Because magic and gender were so closely related in Halja, our birth mix–up was something we Onyxes almost never discussed. The fact that I had been born with the waning magic of a Maegester and Night had been born with the waxing magic of a Mederi embarrassed my father, shamed my mother, and caused Night and me no end of grief.
“Night left two weeks ago to join one of the Mederi tribes,” I said.
Peter stared at the Alecto topiary, frowning. I brushed snow from my knees.
“That’s going to make it hard.”
“Tell me about it. My mom and dad weren’t speaking before. Now they can’t even stand to be in the same room with each other.”
Excerpted from "Dark Light of Day"
Copyright © 2012 Jill Archer.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"Spectacular debut novel by a soon-to-be-star."—USA Today bestselling author Faith Hunter
"There is a fresh new voice in urban fantasy, and she has a unique take on Armageddon...With her unusual heroine, Noon Onyx, Archer has created a brilliant character who struggles against fate to find her place in the world. Set against the backdrop of university life, there is an abundance of adventure, mystery and passion!"—Romantic Times (four stars)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dark Light of Day has a book synopsis that caught my attention and wouldn't let go. It presents an intriguing and one-of-a-kind premise that offers a satisfying conclusion while leaving some strings undone for any future stories. I will admit that I didn't always understand what was going on but with Ms. Archer's talents it didn't bother me that I didn't get everything a 100%. What I DID enjoy was the sweetly sensual love story between the cooly confident assassin Ari and the unexpectedly powerful Noon, whose father is one of the most powerful men in their community. Ari encourages her to be what she was meant to be even as she struggles with what fate has chosen for her. It's more than her longtime friend, and wannabe-boyfriend, Peter wants for her. He's desperately trying to find a spell to give her the mystical powers her kind is supposed to have. These differences create an emotionally charged lover's triangle that is a welcome distraction from the endless action sequences of training and killing demons. During the events set at the school I couldn't help but be reminded of Harry Potter as these individuals go through much training to perfect their mystical skills. Once their skills are put to the test we get to see a roller coaster assortment of high energy action sequences which escalate into life or death consequences as a killer demon is on the loose hunting healers. These exciting scenes, as well as the likable and memorable characters, made for a fun story that kickstarts this new series nicely. I look forward to seeing these characters mature and the further earth shattering events that may befall them. 3.5 Stars
I have read hundreds of sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal romance novels and I like this one a lot though I will agree that the ending was a bit abrupt. My hope is that there will be a novel about Nightshade coming.
The book was great! I was wavering about whether to buy it or not from the reviews and I took the leap and it was worth it! Highest praise I can truly give is that I will buy the second book in the series! Armageddan has passed over a thosand years ago. Demons and angels live among us. In order to keep the peace, the laws must be kept and followed. We find ourselves following Noon to St. Lucifer's Law School, where she must declare her true powers or face death. The twist being that there has never been a female magistrate (one who has the power to control demons enough to mediate between them and their followers in order to find peaceful solutions or to kill them if the demon has become rouge). We follow Noon through the twists and turns of her life as she blazes a new trail through preconceived mores and fears to find who she truly is and that she is beautiful and worth being loved as she is by herself and by Ari (who wouldn't want her to change). I gave 4 out of 5 stars bc of the way the last couple of paragraph were structured. I would assume this would be an editor or publisher thing to keep to a certain amout of pages. But the ending should have been allowed a little more detail, instead it felt a little rushed.
I enjoyed the story greatly. I read a lot of fantasy and this was a unique spin on the post apocalyptic novel....demons AND lawyers hmmm... The ending was a little abrupt though. I feel like there was a missing scene...hence four stars! I'll be keeping my eye out for more by this author.
this story takes place in a world post demon-angel war. it is a wonderful interpretation of what Could be. it takes place in a 'modern' world that the author does a fantastic job of placing the reader in. the characters are realistic and the story is really well written. the end leaves a lot of questions for the next book to interpret!
I stumbled upon Jill Archer's "Fiery Edge of Steel," at a small old book store in Vancouver, WA. There were no other books by her there and figured why not. I realized there was more back story, once I started reading. This did not hamper the story at all for me. I was hooked from Jill's usage of latin, proverbs, historic insights, her inspirations, puns, daily life routines, character development and above all her usage of fire in all four of her novels. The interconnected lives of her characters draws you in further in to a deadly world where one wrong word or phrase can lead you down into a rabbit hole. "Pocket Full of Tinder," captured ever ounce of my attention until I finished. Jill Archer put it best "Watch a writer become the artisan of her own fortune..."("Pocket Full of Tinder" pg.354). I laughed, felt sullen, was excited, on the edge, and could not put down this inspiring series. I own all four, and suggest them all: "Dark Light of Day," "Fiery Edge of Steel," "White Heart of Justice," and "Pocket Full of Tinder."Glad you listened to your fans to engineer your very own "Magna Fax" for those who follow your splendid work.
I was pulled into the story with the first paragraph. Ms. Archer has created a unique world filled with vivid characters and interesting scenarios based on the premise that Armageddon has already come and Lucifer's army won. With this in mind, I wasn't sure what to expect. But the world Archer created is not what you'd automatically assume it to be. I absolutely love the world she's created. Can't wait to see what's next, where the series goes from here. I finished the book in two days but have taken two months to write the review because the story and characters stayed with me. I wanted to wait to see if my feeling about the story would change with time. But here it is two months later, and I still miss the characters and the world. I'm not usually a fan of first person because most authors can't write it well. Jill Archer is one of the few who writes it great! This reminds me a bit of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series except with demons and angels instead of vampires and damphirs and graduate school instead of high school. Also has a bit of a Chicagoland Vampires (Chloe Neill's series) feel to it. I highly recommend this book and series.
book starts slow, but pickups real nice
The post-apocalyptic setting doesn't feature the wreckage of sky scrapers twisted grotesquely or an environment savaged by storms and shorelines lost to the greenhouse effect. Instead it's a fascinating look at a city that feels right for high fantasy rather than urban fantasy per se. References to a flash light and electricity are grace notes to steampunk-esque reinventions of "cabriolets" (transportation) and "harmonics" (phone-like communication). As for the plot, Noon faces challenges from several quarters, with the key elements being (1) mysterious abductions at railway stations & possibility of serial killer (2) Noon's trial by fire - literally - as a first year maegester in training assigned to a demon determined to divorce his insane wife, but there's no divorce for demons (3) figuring out a tangle of personal relationships, the hardest being her indecision about what she really wants to do in the future with her life. Some reviewers didn't click with Noon, but I can relate to he grad student moment when you've got to choose the path that will define your future. The sex scenes are adult in nature, and Ari is such a great love interest... mm. Can't wait to start book 2!
So what happens when you go through Armageddon but the world still exists? I mean, how cool is that concept? Demons are definitely walking around like they are cool LOL and Lucifer has taken over, except he's in his own little predicament from all these battles. The main character has magical powers, but it's not really the nice kind... It freaking destroys things.... Hmmm, that would be cool if you needed to have a trash day and needed to obliterate it... but not so cool when you destroy things that you need. Normally, I like to say that I think the heroine-Noon happens to be the coolest name ever- is way cool and bad ass, but *sigh* I think she needs to grow a little more. She is trying so hard to change her magic gifts into her sister's that she's forgetting to live, and make good decisions, like not dating crazy people hahahaha I actually still really like this book, I just want Noon to figure out that her magic can be used in good ways too, and to learn to love herself. However, I loved her relationship with her friends. When it wasn't surrounded around her magic, she's very much a likable character. I predict in future books, she's going to HAVE to grow up and get with it, or her magic and her craziness is going to get her into trouble. I liked the world building. It's not so different that it's far-fetched , but different enough that it's still fantasy. There's some very interesting themes about laws and religions, and I liked the way they were done here. I am definitely looking forward to more from this series, and I really hope Noon can finish with her sad self, and become the kick ass self I know she can be in book two!!! 4 DEMONICALLY DELICIOUS PAWS!!
There wasn't a whole lot that I liked about this book. The "heroine"--whiny, egotistical. I never did figure out what was so bad about having waning magic. So what if she was the first woman to ever have it. Her twin brother was the first male to have waxing magic but he wasn't whining and complaining about it. I agree with another reviewer that she acted like a 14-year-old. This was more of angst-filled love story than urban fantasy. I didn't like her, Peter, or her parents. The best part of the story is Ari. He is a great mature guy with a good head on his shoulders. There is no action in the story. It is basically Noon whining all the time because she isn't a healer. I won't be buying any more of the series.
Great premise and fairly interesting world, but the characters need to grow up -- their maturity levels are more like 14 year olds than 20 somethings. Other than the painfully angsty romance, decent fantasy book. Not at the top of my list but not at the bottom either.
This book is terrible. First if you are a Christian I urge you to stay away from this book. It will offend your religious beliefs. I don't consider myself a Bible thumping, go to church everyday type of individual, but the author writes of a world where the Savior (for Christians, that would be Jesus Christ)has been defeated by Lucifer. In this world Lucifer is made out to be a hero. Worshiping demons is acceptable. There's no conflict with this reality. The sacrifice of blood is considered an acceptable reality. Second this book is bad even if you're not a religious person. The main character can't be described as a hero. She's more of selfish self-centered individual. The book tries to be more of a romance novel than an actual sci-fi fantasy novel. Third from the storytelling perspective, the book lacks action, adventure,or intrigue. In the beginning the book reads interestingly enough, but after a while it continues to drag on. I'm deeply disappointed in this book and I do not recommend it.