Day Soldiers (Day Soldiers, #1)

Day Soldiers (Day Soldiers, #1) - Brandon Hale (Book reviewed for ARR #19 in the We ♥ YA Books! group.)

When I asked if I could read & review "Day Soldiers", I did so because the pitched elicited some interest in me. The prospect of a war between humans and the creatures of darkness looked like something that would provide me with mild fun and a pleasant quick read. To be honest, I didn't expect a lot from this novel—just that: being a fun and easy read.

And then I got hooked.

The prologue itself, in the form of a declaration of war, immediately grabbed me. The first chapters then pulled me into the action, as Lily and Leo, 18-year-old, decide to take on the vampires who've been threatening their small town, because the adults aren't acting fast enough. As they come back victorious, little do they know that their single action is going to trigger a chain-reaction culminating into events they wouldn't have suspected. And the both of them are going to pay a heavy price. We then get to see the two friends through their joining and training within the Day Soldiers, a corps specifically aimed at fighting vampires and werewolves. After what happened to them, is there any other path they could follow? Not really.

I thoroughly liked Lily and Leo. Lily's got a strong personality, and a definite ability to fall back on her feet. Even though she gets discouraged at times, she doesn't let this stop her, and she doesn't give in to throwing pity-parties for herself, not for more than a couple of minutes, which is always pleasant to see, in my opinion, in a character. She also has special skills, but I was glad to see that the author didn't make them *that* special in the end. She doesn't get to save the day all by herself, and she's far from being the only one with such abilities; this makes that plot point more believable. As for Leo, at first, I feared for his role in the story, wondering if he'd just be some uninteresting sidekick—because the kid *is* skilled, for sure, and he can pack a handful just as well as Lily can. I also feared what was in store for him. Until that moment, I hoped he'd get to find a way out. When I realized there wasn't any, I must admit I shed a tear for him. Be awed. This seldom happens.

The other characters were also enjoyable. Abbie does come off as unpleasant at first, but it's clear that she is a good person, too, and that she doesn't hesitate to act. The B-Team (no, really, this *is* a play on words on the A-Team, isn't it? I can't shake that feeling off!) is made of awesome, and I liked their take on events, how they always did their best to do what felt right to them. Their boldness and inventiveness roped me in (the way they tackle the rescue operation in Sneaker City was just so great!), and I could easily feel their sense of camaraderie, the strong bonds they managed to form among them, the instinct they had to stick to each other now matter the circumstances.

And what about the story itself? I quickly was drawn into its pace: not too slow, packed with action, but not too fast either. Events fold into each other in a logical way; we get to see that every action has its consequences, and that the characters have to deal with those, make their decisions, and then live up to those decisions in the end. I don't know if there will be a sequel to this novel: the ending could very well stand for itself the way it is, or open up towards a second book. What's sure is that if there is one, I will definitely pick it.