Blog Tour: Solomon’s Ring by Mary Jennifer Payne

In the second book of the Daughters of Light series, the demon-hunted Seers are in a race against time to return a stolen ring.

Twin sisters Jade and Jasmine are finally together after a five-year separation, but there’s no time to enjoy the reunion. As Seers, the sisters are being hunted by demons spilling through the rift, and the city is on high alert against terrorist threats. The Protectors at Beaconsfield have gathered as many Seers as possible, as the countries that haven’t been destroyed by climate change are starting to close their borders. On top of it all, Jasmine discovers that someone has stolen a ring with the power to control the demons, and the Final Battle between the Daughters of Light and the forces of darkness is approaching more quickly than anyone predicted.

Welcome to the first stop on the Solomon’s Ring Blog Tour from Dundurn Press! Before you dive into my review, you should know that this is the second book in the Daughters of Light series. However, you do not need to read Finding Jade in order to move forward into the second book, although it is recommended. 

Solomon’s Ring picks up shortly after the events of Finding Jade. We are back in Toronto of 2032, where climate change terrorists continue to dominate world news. Jade has been released from the power of the Ibeji doll and The-Place-in-Between, and has been returned to her family. Jasmine and Jade have been continuing their training at Beaconsfield, but the demons are getting more and more ambitious, assuming the forms of the recently dead.

The continued use of Toronto as the main setting for most of this book is an immediate hook for me. Payne writes what she knows, and I could easily picture the characters moving around the city. When you consider the current state of affairs south of the border, some of the more drastic actions of the very sinister Mayor of Toronto (who strangely reminded me of Harold Saxon alias of the Master in Doctor Who) are only steps away from what is already circulating as bills in various states of the US. The heightened terror and the strategy used by the Mayor to use the twins in support of her actions is disturbing in that it could easily escalate and happen here.

“Isn’t it enough to have been a normal teenage girl one minute (albeit with a twin sister abducted and assumed dead), only to have found out in the span of a few months that I am a being with special powers, that demons not only exist but can be destroyed by yours truly,and that there is another plan of existence that houses lost souls?”

“When the time is right, you will discover more. The world is changing irreversibly, and changing fast.”

There are a lot of things that happen within this book in a short period of time, beginning with an attack against the twins during the first chapter that leaves one of them in hospital. We soon realize that no one is really who they seem, and that those in power may be the most dangerous people of all. The CCT is not a terrorist organization but rather a system of climate change allies who are working to save the Earth – or so they say. The dual narratives from Jade and Jasmine’s perspectives give us a variety of different opinions on what is happening, including the bigger questions of whether Jasmine might actually be The Chosen One and what exactly happened with Jade and the mysterious Seth. A times the story switches rapidly from one view to another, and I found myself having to go back to see if I had missed details between chapters. We do learn about the history of Solomon’s Ring, a device created by the Archangel Michael and used to control demons in some form and about how important it is for one of the Seers to return it to its original place, setting up the events for what I presume will be Book Three.

Book One of the series heralded the recent popularity of shows such as Stranger Things, with a similar theme of a missing child in a place “in between”, and the trouble of adjusting back to the regular world; Jade certainly seems to have her issues with reintegration. Perhaps my quibble with this book in the series is that the pieces seem to take a while to gel together, and Jasmine and Jade are not given a chance to re-bond together after so long apart. Additionally, Jasmine makes an out-of-character slur against Mr. Khan regarding his gender reassignment; after knowing his secret for so long and being respectful of his past, this seemed out of character and unnecessary.

There’s a tonne of information in this book, and the events are moving towards an ultimate confrontation in the final book in the trilogy. It will be interesting to see how the author brings all the pieces together, and to see how the climate change advocacy is integrated into the bigger picture of world events.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour as listed below! Solomon’s Ring is published by Dundurn Press and it is available now for purchase from your favourite independent, online and chain bookseller. ISBN: 978-1-45973-783-9, 352 pages.