Agony has a problem.
Dr. Evelyn St. Croix has been the mortal servant of a powerful vampire for more than half of a century. Strengthened and sustained by his blood, she perfected the art of hunting and seducing human prey for her master. Now, she must hunt for herself as Agony, a newly-formed vampire child. However enthralling the hunt, however blissful the flavor of warm blood flowing over her fangs, the thirst in her seems never to be quelled. Her undead body is constantly plagued with fatigue, and vivid nightmares torment her days. No amount of rest or feeding serves to replenish her powers. Each passing night takes a bigger toll on her both physically and mentally, and she’s already running out of time to find a solution.
Perry has a secret.
A specter among Vampires, Perry Dred has nearly as many enemies as he has victims. Centuries of patient study and practice give him knowledge of the full power of his blood – knowledge that others have worked tirelessly to bury. Despite his experience, he has no answers to soothe the plight of Agony, who is as hunted as he simply by virtue of being his child. Regardless of the danger into which he has thrust her, Perry is certain that some of this knowledge may add to Agony’s torment. Balancing his own will to survive against his fears for her survival, Perry must face the demons of his past to ensure the future of his only child.
Ironside has a page turner.
The Birth of Agony is a fast-paced story detailing the chilling sprint that Agony and Perry race against obstacles alive and dead in a quest to discover the source and salve of Agony’s afflictions. Within the first few weeks of her undeath, Agony faces a gauntlet of trials, each promising her final end. However, her decades of training, the power of the chilled blood that sloshes through her corpse, her quick wit and Perry’s instructions pull her through against astronomical odds.
The book is respectful of the existing lore surrounding vampires without feeling like a recycled plot and offers some fresh ideas, as well. The characters are full-fleshed and believable, their lives presented in flashbacks and storytelling that draws you to them. Agony’s struggle to detach herself from Evelyn and explore the new emotions conjured by her vampiric state is engaging, her confusion and frustration nearly palpable.
In his first novel [and the first book in The Prophesies of Dawning Day series], Chris Ironside has flawlessly captured both the horror of vampirism and the suspense of a thriller. The plot twists and turns through night and day, creating a maze through which the characters and the reader travel to the unexpected ending. Agony’s story is just beginning as the cover is closed; luckily the second Prophesies of Dawning Day book, titled “Agony Unleashed,” is not something we need long await: We should be able to sink our teeth into the second novel by January of 2014.