Jax Aubrey is going through a rough time. His father is dead, leaving him orphaned, and rather than being left with relatives, he's been given into the custody of Riley, a boy he hardly knows--a boy not much older than himself. He's just counting the days until he's allowed to go and live with his aunt and cousins; just keeping his head down in his new school and trying to survive.
Until he wakes up one morning, completely alone in the world.
He panics, believing an apocalypse has come. He breaks into a store and loads up for survival, stashing his supplies back at the house and falling asleep while trying to figure out what to do next.
When he wakes up the next morning, however, everything's back to normal.
With the help of Riley, he learns that he's one of a very few people who live through an eighth day every week; a day which the rest of the world is completely unaware of. Within that world, Riley has a sacred, sworn duty to protect a young woman upon whose safety the entire world hangs--our world, and the world of the Eighth Day. If Jax ever wants to figure out who he is and where he belongs, he's going to have to help and trust Riley.
So. There is a LOT going on in this book. In the beginning it had a real MIDNIGHTERS (Scott Westerfeld) feel to it, but it quickly becomes its own thing. It's got a lot of Arthurian and Welsh legend woven into it. When I read that in the summary I couldn't imagine how that would work but it does. I am always a sucker for a tale that includes these elements, so I was really excited to see where the book took them.
Salerni does not disappoint. This is a very original take on the Arthurian mythos, and is not another "This is Arthur, King of the Britons, come back to live among us" tale. The characters are good--flawed and doubting and very human. Jax is very much a regular boy thrust into extraordinary circumstances, but he doesn't suddenly become a hero with mad skills of any kind. There's a lot about his struggles to find his identity and his home that I think will resonate strongly with readers.
The end sets it up for a sequel, and I very much look forward to reading it.