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Sunset: Pact Arcanum: Book One

4 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the Pact Arcanum Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Best Vampire Fiction Releases of 2011: "...the ambitious, grand-scale, science fiction backdrop and labyrinthinely plotted storyline was impressive, to say the least."
--Paul Goat Allen, Explorations: The Barnes and Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog

"Vampires, shifters, justice fighters, protectors, magic and advanced technology; at first glance, an impossible combination but one that will stir every reader's imagination and leave you asking - What just happened? Yes, the book is that good."
--Valentina Heart, The Romance Reviews

From the Author

This 2nd print edition is superseded by the revised 3rd edition, available at: amazon.com/Sunset-Pact-Arcanum-Arshad-Ahsanuddin/dp/1479199818

Book One of the gay vampire saga Pact Arcanum.  Revised 2nd edition.

Warning: Contains strong language and non-explicit depictions of gay sexuality.

Search on "Pact Arcanum" to find all the books in the series.
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Product Details

  • Series: Pact Arcanum
  • Paperback: 502 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468133861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468133868
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,260,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Sunset is the first novel in the Pact Arcanum series by Arshad Ahsanuddin. Kind of. There are currently two books in the series, and although Sunrise is the chronological beginning of the story, Sunset is intended to be read first. This allows the author to drop the reader immediately into a thrilling moment in the story, in which a terrorist event results in the inadvertent revelation that a few species of "meta-humans", including vampires, have been living among humans secretly for centuries in parallel societies, complete with their own complex political structures, alliances, and issues. Although the reader is dropped into the story midway, all of the necessary backstory is revealed along the way when needed (sometimes the dialogue used to introduce relevant backstory seems a little contrived, but it does the job).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The writing is clean, artfully composed, and engaging; the author's intelligence and precision shine through in impeccably crafted sentences. The beginning and end are absolutely thrilling - the action is gripping, as is the drama of the individuals facing those intense situations - towards the end, I could not put the book down. The political tensions, both between the humans and meta-humans and across the meta-human society, are palpable and credible, and they help to give the story depth and make it engaging, causing the reader to really think about who is right, or, as in real life, if more than one side is right.

The book is not without its flaws. It is far more story-driven than character-driven, which makes for an engaging story overall, but sacrifices the reader's emotional identification with the characters.
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Format: Paperback
I came for the world-building; I stayed for the characters. This author's got brains and heart.

As other reviewers have said, Sunset begins by plunking readers in the middle of intense action. Through the eyes of a minor character, we watch a terrorist take over a televised awards ceremony in the near future with the intention of blowing up an entire city. The major characters cope with the catastrophe by using technology, skills, and jargon that can be baffling. By the end of the first chapter, we, like the minor character, are thoroughly confused--but we're intensely curious. We eagerly follow the major characters back where they came from to try to figure out who they are and why they do what they do, and we end up witnessing a global war.

Ahsanuddin has created not just a plot-driven novel but an actual culture of vampires and related "meta-humans." I find the culture the true attraction of this work. Ahsanuddin's vampires are complex, conflicted; a tragic mixture of human and immortal, instinct-driven animal. They fall deeply in love, protect their loved ones at immense cost, grieve for centuries over the pain they've inflicted. Their foils are called Sentinels, enhanced mortals engaged with the vampires in an ageless war which can end only when one race or the other is exterminated. But Sunset is not so much about this war as it is about the war between these meta-humans and actual humans. Readers may be surprised to find themselves rooting for the bloodsuckers.

I gave this book a three-star rating because Ahsanuddin is still learning his craft. That is, I want to leave room for more stars in reviews of fufure books. Sunset and Sunrise both resemble enthralling paintings viewed through scratched glass: the art is there, but it's obscured.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This author is so lost in a fantasy world that he fails to help the reader to enter that world with him. It is like trying to understand someone else's psychosis when they have limited verbal skills. It's not fascinating -- just frustrating. The book has such a choppy, disjointed narrative that I finally deleted it from my my kindle. I read a lot of close to mediocre fantasy literature but this was too much work even for a somewhat voracious reader. Save your time and money. There are lots of better things to read -- in fact most fantasy literature, no matter how unformulated and implausible, surpasses this book by leaps and bounds. BTW, if you think this sounds like it comes from a literary curmudgeon, trust me when I say I give almost anything 3 to 4 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The world of Sunset (Pact Arcanum book 1) has an interesting premise. The world is our current Earth, but humanity co-exists with human appearing magical races – the Sentinels, the Nightwalkers, and the Daywalkers. Sentinels have magic and steel and are trained to kill vampires (the Nightwalkers); Nightwalkers are Vampires (with all that entails. Daywalkers are Vampires that now have a soul and have been reborn to redeem.

Being in the presence of a Sentinel can activate the innate magical potential an individual possesses. This is what happens when Jeremy Harkness is working as a part of Medusa. His abilities are activated by accident which forces Daywalker Nick Jameson (someone who isn’t fond of the rules anyway) to break their Pact’s general laws and reveal himself to the world in the midst of the Medusa terrorist incident. Deactivating the nuke doesn’t take too long and Nick uses Jeremy’s activation to convince the laws of the Pact to get out of having himself punished. Fortunately, Nick knows the person who is going to be judging him pretty well and makes his case, thus preserving him for future pages.

From there, we learn more about the world as it evolves with the knowledge of magic. We also find out what has occurred in the history of the pact and how magic works within the world and the various forces of the races. There is a lot of history to the world (that happens when some of your characters are over 500 years old) and explanations for how we got to where we are flow freely. The world building is interesting and some of the concepts are neat, if a bit overdone. The history is interesting enough, but it does start to drag on the story.

The other major drag, unfortunately, are the characters. None of them are particularly deep.
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