Review: The Last Days of Ordinary by Sloan Archer

OridnaryThe Last Days of Ordinary is a bloody good ride. I am giving it five stars because it lived up to every one of my expectations.

When I begin reading a new book, I go in with high expectations. As a voracious reader, I know what I want to see in a novel and if those elements aren’t there, it’s a letdown. I look for characters I can relate to, people with distinct voices and personalities that come alive on the pages and make me care about them. If it’s a genre novel, I want to know the how and the why behind the science, magic, or new world that I’m entering. Good writing is a must. The plot has to be plausible and possible, well-supported by the world and the characters in it. Above all, I want a good story that transports me to a different time and place, and makes me reach for the next chapter even when I know I need to put the book down and go pretend to be a responsible adult.

I sat down with The Last Days of Ordinary with my notebook and pen, ready to take notes on the critique sheet with two columns: “WOW” and “WTF.”  Four hours later, I hadn’t taken a single note. The novel had me so completely sucked in that I didn’t want to stop reading. This novel deserves every single one of the five-star ratings it’s gathered so far.

Laurence Clarke is the type of person I would hang out with. He’s intelligent, witty with sarcastic tendencies, and he cares deeply for his friends and family. His parents were murdered, leaving him and his brother alone. Laurence graduates high school and says goodbye to his only real friend, Jolene Mason. She leaves the country to study ballet in France, and he’s left behind in California, working his way through the local university.

His brother Denny enlists to fight the Vietnam war and returns with injuries that confine him to a wheelchair. Laurence steps up to care for his brother while trying to finish his degree. He still pines for Jolene, despite the fact that her father is the president of a notoriously violent outlaw biker club.

When she steps back into his life unexpectedly, he accidentally witnesses the murder–and resurrection–of her father, Boone. Jolene’s father and his crew are Paxios, vampire-like immortals created by an accident of alchemy. Boone forces Laurence to make an impossible choice: Live as Boone’s errand-boy and never see Jolene again, or die.

This story hit every single one of my buttons. Horror? Check. Paranormal? You bet. Fantastic characters, witty dialogue, great pacing, and blood-spattered carnage? It’s all in there. Everything happens for a reason, and while the plot is simple, the storytelling is so well-crafted that it makes for a quick and satisfying read.

Wrenching a five-star review out of this jaded old reader is tough, but Ms. Archer has done it. When I reached the end of the book, my only question was, “There’s going to be a sequel, right?”

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Originally published at: The Bookie Monster

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