Jack Valentine has been a Silver–a vampire–for a couple of decades now. She’s been working with the Seekers, a vampire enforcement team that monitors Silvers to ensure they don’t cross any lines that may lead to humans discovering what they are. A series of murders in London rear their ugly head in Oxford, finally, when a prominent businessman is thrown from a window on May Day in front of a crowd of students. Human students. The Seekers are on the case, and despite Jack’s best efforts to embarrass herself in front of the Secundus and the doctor he’s brought in, Tabitha Ross, she begins to unravel the pieces of the story. But it might be a story other Silvers don’t want told…
I was provided an ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review.
What is May Day about?
May Day has two primary jobs: the first is to set up the Seekers series (though the set up for Jack and her backstory was accomplished in the prequel short story Killian’s Dead) and to give us the story of Jack, a younger Silver who, while part of the Seekers, has not gotten her shit together (yet). Jack immediately hones in on the potential connection of Killian Drake, Baron of Oxford, to the case. Having a grudge against Drake doesn’t help. But it soon becomes clear that Killian can help Jack in the case, and definitely wants more than just to help. And so the book also indulges in some bisexual dating drama!
Genre: Vampire Mystery
This book firmly fits into the world of vampire fiction, concerned with the comings and goings of a group of vampire law enforcers. But this is also a mystery novel, giving it another level of plot that I enjoyed. I like that a lot of the book focuses on vampire politics, but that even the main character is regularly reminded that what she’s supposed to be focused on is a mysterious crime.
Tropes: The Messy Bisexual
As Jack is our main character and perspective, I’d say the biggest tropes focus on her and her life. And she is messy and bisexual. Despite the looming pressure of the investigation and what Jack uncovers during it, a lot of her time is spent stressing about impressing Tabitha–the attractive doctor sent to help them investigate–and the tension between herself and Kilian Drake.
Plot: Vampires Are Corrupt, What’s New?
Wow this book threw a lot of corrupt vampires at us. Vampires take advantage of humans with startling frequency, as demonstrated by the existence of the Creep Box. But the Seekers are only there to enforce one rule: don’t reveal yourself to a human.
I really enjoyed this book so I’m going to try not to gush too much in this section. Here goes:
I think the Silvers are better organized and more interesting as a community than vampires usually are. A lot of vampire societies I read about are explained to and by humans, so we get a lot of stuff glossed over. For example, where there’s usually a governing body of vampires that ensures their existence is kept secret (or in series where vampires are exposed, keep them from being overwhelmed by human governments) they’re antagonists. The main character is usually a human who resists the pressure of the enforcement vampires in order to remain with their vampire counterpart. Here, Jack is vampire enforcement, and a vampire herself. I also really like Jack as a character because she’s messy, bisexual, entertaining, and a relatively young vampire so not difficult to understand at all. The side characters are fun, the politics were complicated and absorbing, the mystery was genuinely thought out, and I love the sexual tension between Jack and Killian.
Look… Jack is a character I very much enjoy, but my girl is a mess. The way she jerks Tabitha around is not great, and the way she sometimes ignores her friends didn’t sit well with me. Of course, this is just book one: Jack is more interesting for having major character flaws and at the beginning of a series, that’s better for a main character. I’ll be glad to see character progression and growth from Jack as the series continues!
The Bad (Not really)
In lieu of any strong criticisms, I will say Content Warnings are critical in this book! Luckily, I don’t have to list them out for you here because Josie Jaffrey has listed content warnings in the book itself! I had a physical copy, and the warnings were a clear list in the back of the book. This is actually my first time owning a physical book that came with content warnings!
I’m stoked about this series. I’ve been stoked since reading the prequel, honestly. I’m stoked because of the vampires, I’m stoked because of the bisexual representation, I’m just excited in general! Jaffrey captures the messy bisexual energy I need in a main character perfectly and I also really enjoy the Silvers as they’ve been written. The love interests for Jack are each interesting in their own way, and I liked the resolution to the mystery in this book, including the insidious twist it took. I savored this book, every moment of it, and I am so incredibly glad I’ve been hooked on this series!