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Saying Goodbye to the Sun - David McAfee Being a glutton for punishment, and sometimes lacking what little sense I was born with, I decided to revisit McAfee's world of Bachiyr. Some part of my brain (probably the delusional, gin-laced part,) thought it would be interesting to see if there was more complexity to the Bachiyr hierarchy and “Council of Thirteen,” from 33 A.D.The other part of my brain – the part that tells me to eat more veggies and drink less gin fergawdssake – was pretty insistent that I should skip this novel and go read something else, like maybe Lonesome Dove, or, well, ANY of the other 200+ books languishing on my TBR list. As it usually goes, though, somehow the gin-drinking part of my brain won. Again.The Bad:This is a first novel. A FIRST first, not the kind of first you get with a traditionally published book, where the writer has really already written 5 books, but this is the first one anyone would buy, and an editor made mincemeat of it before rubber-stamping it and foisting it on an unsuspecting reading populace. This is the brand-new squalling baby book. It was written by a 20-something guy, about a 20-something guy. The writing is really immature, especially for the first 30% or so. I think it's meant to be “hard-boiled.” You know, like Sam Spade. It's riddled with similes; some of them probably sound better if you say them out loud with a Peter Falk voice. Written... not so much. There's also a terribly annoying tendency to recap observational paragraphs. Like so:“... he was big. At least six-three and two-thirty. Underneath his “Live to Ride” t-shirt he had a barrel of a chest and arms that looked like small trees... {snip for brevity} His beetle eyes glared at us from underneath bushy brows of the same rusty brown color as his hair, which he pulled back into a ponytail that went halfway down his back... {snip}To summarize, he was big, he looked mean, and he was pretty damn mad.” The Good (mild spoilers): I almost didn't make it to the good – nearly packed it in at the mid-point. Vincent finally gets turned for real (all of those superpowers and the blood eating in the first half were evidently just some sort of Renfield effect,) and I was, well... underwhelmed. But I was rewarded for my bullheaded tenacity because the character Ramah is introduced (as more than a bit-part,) and the voice in the novel changes. McAfee nails the transition. It's not a slightly older, eviler version of the protagonist, (who, admit it, is kind of a douche,) it's RAMAH, SECOND OF THE COUNCIL OF THIRTEEN. And he has a story to tell. To my delight, ALL of the writing improved significantly, from this point of the novel on. Yeah, there's still that recap twitch, and several more egregious description overdoses, but the writing grows up. It turns out to be a pretty good story. Sure, there are still some irritating asides to the reader, like the main character saying he is using words like Heaven because otherwise the reader wouldn't get it, and a couple of soul/no soul ideas that don't quite hold water as described, but as a whole, it's a twist on the classic take on vampire lore, and I enjoyed it. And now, the gin-influenced part of my brain is doing a victory dance and insisting on buying a round for everyone.