Oct 1 2015 9:30am

First Look: Darynda Jones’s Brighter than the Sun (October 6, 2015)

Brighter Than The Sun by Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones
Brighter Than the Sun (Charley Davidson 8.5)
St. Martin's Press / October 6, 2015 / $3.99 digital

All his life, Reyes Alexander Farrow has suffered the torments of the damned. Only one thing has given him hope: the woman who radiates a light that no mortals can see; a light that only the departed can see...

Told from his point of view, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN chronicles the first time Reyes ever encountered Charley, and how their relationship has been the one thing that can either save him or doom him.

Wouldn’t you love to know what’s going on in your boyfriend’s head, especially if said boyfriend was the son of Satan? Darynda Jones gives us a rare treat in Brighter Than the Sun.  She gives us a glimpse into the head of not so heavenly heartthrob, Reyes Alexander Farrow, the love of Charley Davidson’s life.

The Charley Davidson series is written in the first person from the point of view of the main character, Charley. But fans have always wanted to know more about the man behind those smoldering looks always pointed at Charley.

We know that Reyes, at one time known in Charley’s life as “The Big Bad,” had known that Charley would be born onto the world to be the next Grim Reaper.  Even before her birth, Reyes fell in love and so he too had himself born onto the Earth.  He had chosen his birth parents so that he and Charley would grow up together and would become childhood sweethearts and live out their mortal lives together. But Reyes’s father, Satan, being unhappy that Reyes betrayed him and his plan to steal the next portal to heaven, punished Reyes by having him stolen from his birth parents and sold to a man of pure evil, Earl Walker. 

I begin with the first time I saw her.  A shimmering light in the vast blackness of the universe.  How many centuries ago was that? How long have I been waiting for her?  She turns and smiles at me and I am lost.

I abandon my mission.  The one where I’m supposed to be there when she is born a human on Earth.  The one where I’m supposed to kill her and capture her soul.  The vessel.  The portal to heaven.  The preeminent power that is inherent in her kind.  I’m supposed to wrap it up with a bow and lay it at my father’s feet.  My real father.

Instead, I wait.  I plan.  I find a family and give up my memory, my identity, to be born on Earth as a human as well.  To be raised near her.  To meet her on common ground.  We should have gone to school together.  We should have been high school sweethearts.

We should have lived happily ever after.

Apparently, my father didn’t appreciate my changing his plan, so he threw a killer wrench into mine by means of Earl Walker. 

In Brighter Than the Sun, we see that as Reyes grew up under the constant torture of Walker, he would escape into what he thought was a world created in his imagination.  A world where a beautiful girl lived.  A girl whose light shone so brightly, a light which always healed him from the pain Earl inflicted.  Whenever someone tried to hurt his dream friend, he would protect her like he was unable to protect himself. 

Someday, I think, when I’m stronger, I’m going to smash the windows out and pull the bars apart with my bare hands.


It’s around this time I being to ponder why I created my other world.  Why I created Dutch.  I can be strong there. Powerful.  Cunning.  Like an angel from the bible I stole from a hotel room we broke into.  Or the superheroes in comic books I found in the trash.  Or the roadrunner in my favorite cartoon.

In real life, I’m more like the coyote.  Bumbling.  Conniving.  An absolute failure at everything I do. I feel like the coyote when he falls of a cliff and splats on the ground below in a puff of dust.

But not when I’m in Dutch’s world.  Her world is so vivid.  So tangible.  Things happen I can’t control.  If I could, I would make Dutch’s new mother love her.  And I would make Dutch love me, so it’s probably good I can’t control it.  As Earl told me once, you can’t force someone to love you.  You can only stalk them and hope for the best.

So I stalk her.  Go see her every chance I get.  Feel the light on my face.  See the shimmer of her eyes.  I lay back and fall into her world for hours at a time.

And as he grew older, and as he watched her grow more beautiful, Reyes wished more and more that Charley was more than just a bright light in his imagination.  She was always the dream he escaped to when life became too painful.  If only she could be real.  It was when Reyes hit his late-teens that his world was turned upside down, and during a particularly brutal beating by Walker, his dream world literally crashed into reality when Charley threw a brick into their front window to stop the beating. For the first time, Reyes saw the one face he knew better than his own in the flesh. 

For a long time I only stare.  A thousand thoughts hit me at once, the least of which is the fact that she is real. Flesh and blood.  Dutch.  Her light soaks into me.  Begins to heal me instantly.

I begin to calm. To slow my breathing.  To clear my head.  I don’t know what to think, other than the fact that she is more beautiful than I ever dreamed.  She is real.  And she has seen me.  The real me. I have no robes to hide beneath now.  No cloak.  She has seen how I live.

I don’t think she realizes it’s me.  Does she know that I’m real?  Maybe she thinks like I did.  Maybe she thinks I’m a dream.  A figment of her imagination. Something to help her cope with the reality of her existence. 

Finding out that Charley was a real living woman was a pivotal moment in Reyes’s life and starts him on the path to remembering who he was and what his purpose was for being born on Earth—to find his love and protect her with all his heart.


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Brighter Than the Sun by Darynda Jones, available October 6, 2015: 

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Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.


Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Tarand
I can't wait to get my hands on this. I the only one who noticed the typo in the snippet?
2. Lucy D.
@Tarand - It's like Where's Waldo? What typo? I am an audiobook listening. I always mistype Charley as Charlie. Thank God for global changes.
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