Companion book to the Arcana Chronicles
By Kresley Cole
Available now from Valkyrie Press
The fourth Arcana Chronicles novel, ARCANA RISING, comes out later this month. In anticipation, Kresley Cole has released DAY ZERO. This companion novel contains profiles of each of the Arcana and Jack, including nicknames, powers, weapons, tableau, unique characteristics, and who they were before the flash. The Fool's file is heavily redacted and The Hanged Man's is completely blacked out since that character isn't known yet.
The meat of this companion book is the short stories that accompany the profile of each character who is still alive. Cole writes about what they were doing on Day Zero, when the Flash destroyed most of humanity. Evie's is the longest, which is a bit of a cheat since hers is the relevant passages from THE POISON PRINCESS (my review). Fans will be particularly interested in Aric and Jack's stories, and I did love that Jack's explains part of why he was such a jerk at first. Cole wisely begins and ends DAY ZERO with their sections.
However, they weren't the standouts for me. Many of the shorts involve romance, which isn't surprising since that is the genre where Cole got her start. (And is, of course, still active with her Immortals After Dark series.) Circe's is passionate and sad and makes me wish that her love story gets an eventual happy end (even though I know it won't happen). Sol's is likewise tragic. Calanthe's turns surprisingly sweet, and Selena's is full of deserved wrath. I thought Tess's was a strong end to the minor character stories, with a beautiful scene of parental love.
DAY ZERO contains spoilers for the three Arcana Chronicles already available, and is truly geared towards fans only. I don't think Cole is shortchanging them. Fans can happily pick up this companion book without feeling they're only getting information regurgitated from the novels. The stories do a wonderful job of bringing more personality to each of the Arcana, even the awful ones (Richter, ugh). It makes their inevitable deaths in the games more upsetting. She lets each of her antagonists be people who all have their own hope of being the hero.