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The Eighth Day Hardcover – April 22, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Jax Aubrey wakes up one day to discover he is a Transitioner; a person gifted with an extra 24-hour day between Wednesday and Thursday. His guardian, Riley, is also a Transitioner, and begins to slowly introduce Jax to a secret world of magic and adventure. Jax soon realizes it's not all fun and games. Not all Transitioners are who and what they appear to be, and Riley is tasked with guarding the girl next door, a prisoner who only exists in this magical Eighth Day. The girl, Evangeline, is the key to rival Transitioners' plans to use the extra day to destroy the normal world. Only Riley, Jax, and their allies can hope to stop them. The Eighth Day is an interesting concept, and Salerni makes it work by having Jax learn, along with the reader, to navigate this extra day that is both fascinating and extremely dangerous. The concept melds Arthurian legend into present day in much the same way that Rick Riordan uses Greek and Egyptian mythology, with characters being descendents of heroes long thought to be folklore and their place in this world sometimes dependent on that lineage. There are a few points where the action stalls slightly, but in general the writing is fast paced and exciting. The story lends itself to further adventures and readers will be excited to follow Jax and eager to see what happens next.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX
Adventure, magic, and Arthurian legend combine in a roller-coaster ride of secrets and mythology. When Jax Aubrey’s father is killed in a car accident, a mysterious stranger shows up claiming to be his guardian. Jax isn’t thrilled; Riley Pendare never buys groceries, keeps to himself, and is full of secrets. Soon Jax discovers an eighth day—a day between Wednesday and Thursday, known as Grunsday—that only descendants of Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table can pass through. Evangeline, a girl who only lives on Grunsdays, becomes the target of those hoping to destroy the normal seven-day week, and it’s up to Jax and Riley to protect her. The adventure starts early and whizzes along at a brisk clip, with more about Jax’s past and the legend of Grunsday unfolding as the novel continues. Perfect fodder for fans who adore mythology, legends, and series with more volumes yet to come. Grades 4-7. --Sarah Bean Thompson
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Top customer reviews
The central concept of The Eighth Day appears to be a very unique idea--especially to myself, an avid reader of comic books and a fan of sci fi and fantasy for 40-plus years. The twist of Arthurian lore adds to the levels of creativity, allowing access to different clans/houses/families with different powers and abilities. Having been a fan of Arthurian stories from Sir Thomas Malory to T.H. White to Mike Barr and Brian Bolland to Warren Murphy to Bernard Cornwell, it's nice to be able to enjoy these legends anew. (If you're not familiar with any of those creators I name-checked, they're worth your while.)
Add Dianne Salerni to that list. She has such a smooth writing style that the words seem to jump off the page and into your mind on their own. Her level of characterization sets this book apart from many others in the Young Adult genre, as not only is the main character fully fleshed out, so are many of the supporting characters. In several chapters the main point of view switches to one of these other characters, and those chapters are set in a different font. This is a nice method of storytelling that helps to emphasize the difference between "normal" people and those trapped in the eighth day.
Combine all of this with a plot that picks up speed and becomes ever more exciting, and The Eighth Day turns into a book that cannot be put down. At least, this particular grown-up needed less than half of the titular eight days to devour this novel.
This is the central conflict in The Eighth Day, an exciting fantasy adventure by Dianne K. Salerni. It’s a story with a simple beginning that explodes into global proportions. Jax Aubrey has just turned thirteen and his parents are dead. His guardian, Riley is eighteen and does not seem up to the job. Jax doesn’t know what to think when he wakes up in the Eighth Day, but he soon learns there is a lot going on that he doesn’t understand. All this starts with Evangeline, the mysterious girl next door, who is trapped in the Eighth Day. All heck breaks loose when they become friends and Jax unknowingly puts many in danger.
The Eighth Day has many characters with blurred alliances and motives that cross between good and bad. Despite the complexities, you don’t need to be an expert on King Arthur and the players during that legendary time to enjoy this book. Salerni does a great job explaining the plots and subplots and recaps the complicated developments in a way that does not seem repetitive, but is definitely appreciated.
The characters are propelled to the story’s ultimate conflict in a huge battle for control of the Eighth Day. Many plot twists drive the story’s sometimes misunderstood characters to an exciting and shocking finish.
Although The Eighth Day is a Young Adult fantasy adventure, its themes carry adult messages. Salerni poses questions of honor, loyalty and sacrifice throughout the book. In addition to understanding how opposing sides work together for their own benefit, the reader must consider the question of whether it is right to sacrifice some for the survival of the masses.
I enjoyed this book very much. I was glad to have it on my Kindle because it made it easy to search names and places. But that’s more because I’m many years beyond being a Young Adult!
This book was an absolute delight. I mean, who wouldn't be intrigued by the concept of a secret eighth day of the week... we could ALL use one of them at one time or another. But THIS eighth day of the week only exists for certain descendants of folks like King Arthur, Merlin, and the knights of the round table. Neat, huh?
But Jax doesn't think it's so neat the first time he experiences a Grunday. Nobody had warned him, so awakening to a strange-looking pink sky and no signs of life around him kinda throws him for a loop. The more he learns about this extra day and his role as one of those special descendants, the deeper he gets into a dangerous struggle to preserve life on earth as we know it, a struggle in which it isn't always clear who's friend and who's foe.
This story is filled with great characters, an intriguing adventure, and lots of action, sprinkled with bits of humor. Even a teeeensy bit of romance. Youngsters... and the young at heart... will fall in love with it. Salerni truly outdid herself with this book, and I sincerely hope there's gonna be a sequel.