Lightning Blade, the first book in the Ruby Callaway Collection by D.N. Erikson, was a Bookbub find. I adore strong, snarky female protagonists, and a bounty hunter who has spent the last two decades of her life in an internment camp is no exception. Ruby’s temporary release by FBI agent Colton Roark, ends abruptly when she is killed by the Necromancer he is hunting. And that’s just the beginning.
She awakens back within the walls of the internment camp, a hole the human population places criminal supernaturals, doomed to relive the day again. The Necromancer has set the world in a time loop. One Roark has died in many times before. Ruby made it through over two hundred years of life, only dying once before. She would not let her latest issue kill her repeatedly. If only she could get ahold of her temper to end the time loop before it ends the world.
I know zero about this author other than they write Urban Fantasy books. My normal practice when I start a book review is to research the author, so I can share a link to their website and learn what else they have written along with any other interesting facts. D.N. Erikson has a website, a Bookbub Author page, a Facebook page, and an Amazon Author page, and they all share only information about the books. So I don’t know if the books are autobiographical or pure fun to write. I will leave you to speculate. 😉
What I found is that Ruby started as a side character in The Half Demon Rogue Trilogy, Moon Burn. Ruby’s personal journey continued, starring in the novella Bone Realm, where she fought her way into existence through stubbornness and pragmatism. Traits important when you Bounty Hunter. I have not read the original series they introduced in her, only Lightning Blade and a novella. I seem to have purchased the full collection at some point. (I found it deep, deep in my To Be Read pile), but I have only read the first book in the series so far.
As D.N. Erikson states at the beginning of the Ruby Callaway Collection, “time plays a big role: the passage of it the manipulation of it, the past, how fighting to survive for two hundred years has shaped her approach to living.” This shows through in Lightning Blade, book 1 of the collection. Ruby is stuck in a time loop and intends to find a way out.
Ruby is an unknown to the FBI, but somehow, Colton Roark has found the answers to her name and that she is a Realm farer, having the gift of intuition
I have only watched the time loop trope used in movies and in TV series previously – who doesn’t love Ground Hog Day? But never in a book. Ruby understands immediately what has happened and makes many mistakes and chased vendettas, and she pays for it in pain and blood. For a former bounty hunter, over two hundred years old, she focused on revenge rather than redemption.
Yet, her revenge was immediate, based on who wronged her within the loops. I would have thought she would use the loops to kill the remaining members on her list, repeatedly. Why not follow through with members of the list she now could reach? Or work her way to finding the path to them?
It is a magical future dystopian world, where corporations’ exterior motivation is to defend the human population from the supernaturals who could harm them. Yet, those same corporations are experimenting on the supernaturals for their own research and power. Ruby, while chasing the serial killer Necromancer, questions who the real evil is, and what she and Roark are in the center of.
The book showed Ruby has little trust in others and a lot of built-up rage. Colton Roark’s backstory is still mostly hidden, but his brother is dead and his father is less interested in his sons than the power of the corporation he works for. He follows breath crumbs and puts together information, and has his own set of secret informers. The two trust each other, Ruby through their experiences, Colton because of her knowing information he would only share with someone he trusts. It is a nice beginning. There are a lot of directions the series can go.
There is a free novella if you sign up for D. N. Erikson’s newsletter if you want to check the characters out. You can find that link here.