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Young Adult Fiction Contemporary

Solomon's Ring

Daughters of Light

by (author) Mary Jennifer Payne

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2018
Contemporary, Dystopian, Siblings
Recommended Age
12 to 15
Recommended Grade
7 to 10
Recommended Reading age
12 to 15
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2018
    List Price

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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.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Mary Jennifer Payne is the author of Finding Jade, book one in the Daughters of Light Series, the YA novels Since You’ve Been Gone and Enough, and several YA graphic stories. She lives in Toronto.

Excerpt: Solomon's Ring: Daughters of Light (by (author) Mary Jennifer Payne)


We hear the sounds at the same time. Jade and I don’t say a word; instead, we start walking faster. The footsteps behind us speed up as well, keeping pace. Whoever — or whatever — is following us clearly doesn’t feel the need to keep their presence secret.
My stomach does a nervous somersault. This isn’t good. During the last few months of training with our Protectors, we’ve been taught to recognize when a situation may be dangerous. And at this moment, every cell in my body is screaming that this is a code-red situation. My gut feeling is that Jade and I are not just being followed. We’re being hunted.
There are still four full city blocks to go before we’ll reach a lit street lamp, before we can turn off the tiny flashlight we’re carrying. Right now, other than the pathetically anorexic beam cast by our flashlight, we’re walking in complete darkness and the street is empty. Rolling electricity cuts are to blame for the lack of lighting; only a small number of street lamps are now turned on at night, and those are found almost exclusively on the city’s main streets or in the wealthiest neighbourhoods.
“Stop,” Jade whispers, and we stop walking at the exact same moment. We’re naturally synchronized like this; it’s a twin thing.
The footsteps stop too. And though I try not to, I can’t help thinking about the recent rash of abductions and murders in our city. Local news websites post daily updates and photos of the missing … and those found. Thing is, not many people fall under the found category. And those that have been found are not found alive … or in one piece. It’s a modern-day Jack the Ripper sort of thing. Or at least that’s what the media and police would like us to believe.
But as Seers we know better. We’re at war.
Jade and I begin walking again, this time more quickly. The night air is only slightly cooler than it was during the day, and the humidity, along with the adrenaline surging through me, makes my face slick with sweat. Instinctively, my hand moves to the oversized knapsack on my back. I run my fingers over the smooth surface of my bamboo pole. Though any sort of strong, pole-like structure will do, I made this pole in class at Beaconsfield. The bamboo is light but strong, which makes it easy to carry. We’re only supposed to use our poles in the most serious of circumstances, when we believe our lives are under immediate threat.
I listen. The footsteps are definitely closing in. This seems as good a time as any to use my pole.
Jade nods at me, her dark eyes solemn. “One, two …” she whispers.
At the count of three we swing around to confront our stalker. In one fluid motion, I pull my pole out of my knapsack. It slices through the air, making a sharp whistling sound as it moves. Ready to strike, I hold it across my body like a shield.
A wiry male figure stands less than five feet away. Jade directs the beam of the flashlight at his face, and even though it doesn’t illuminate much, I am startled by the chalky, grey-white colour of his skin and the cavernous, dark circles that frame his eyes.
Great. Some strung-out junkie thinks he’s going to mug us. I flex my arms, tightening the grip on my pole.
“Back off,” I say, keeping my voice low and even.
He doesn’t move or say a word in response. I feel Jade tense beside me. We’re like two cats, coiled and ready to spring. My newly developed muscles, the result of hours of daily training at Beaconsfield, give me confidence. This guy is likely high as a kite. That might make him less fearful, but he’s still nothing for two Seers to take on.
Jade shines the flashlight beam at his face again. I see it before she says anything.
“Jazz. His eyes.” Her voice is barely a whisper, but the demon hears. In response it draws back its concrete-coloured lips. Razor-sharp teeth glisten at us. The smell of rust and decay hits my nostrils like a tsunami.
There’s only one. This means it will be a minor challenge for us, especially as I’m already armed. If anyone told me a year ago that I’d be killing demons, I’d have thought they were crazy. But after travelling to the Place-in-Between and seeing the armies of demons that reside down there for myself, there’s nothing I won’t believe. Tell me I’ve been signed up for riding lessons on a unicorn and I’ll ask if pulling on its horn will make it stop galloping.
Without any warning, the demon rushes at Jade. She scurries backward, moving just out of its reach as it lunges for her face.
I dart forward, keeping my centre of gravity low, and swing my pole, throwing my entire body weight behind it while aiming for the soft part of the demon’s neck. The only way to destroy one of these creatures is to behead it. I wait for the satisfying impact of rattan against flesh.
This demon is fast, though, much faster than the ones I encountered in the Place-in-Between. And as it grabs my pole and tries to wrench it out of my grasp, I discover it’s also much stronger.
Jade is beside me in an instant. The sticky, humid air is causing my hands to sweat, making my grip on the pole even more tenuous.
“You’re not armed. Get back,” I shout at her. I’m not willing to lose her again. I already spent nearly half my life believing she was dead and that it was my fault, so I’m not going to risk having it happen for real now.
The demon takes advantage of the split second I shift my focus to Jade and gives the pole another hard tug. This time it slips through my fingers like water.
I immediately backflip away from the demon, but it still manages to catch my lower legs with the pole. The wood smashes against my shins, causing me to scream with pain. Flickering stars fill my vision, and my legs give out from under me as I land.
Jade drags me out of the demon’s reach as it lunges again. This time the pole comes within centimetres of my ear. A little closer and my head would’ve cracked open like a sun-ripened melon, brains spilling onto the pavement.
I jump back to my feet, trying to force down the sickening nausea sweeping over me. There’s no way I can let myself faint. Not now. It would be a death sentence for both of us.
Jade runs at the demon, veering off sharply to the left at the last moment. She’s fast, but not fast enough. The demon catches her shoulder with its long claws, ripping open the back of her T-shirt.
The diversion works just long enough. I spring toward the demon and kick it squarely in the soft area between its hip and groin. The creature bellows in surprise and drops my pole. I hear it bounce along the cracked pavement of the sidewalk and onto the road.
Without thinking, I dash toward the sound. There’s no way I can lose my pole. I’ve trained for hundreds of hours with it in my hands over the last few months. It’s become an extension of me, like another appendage. Besides, Mr. Khan would kill me.
“Jazz!” Jade screams as I crouch at the concrete lip of the sidewalk to retrieve it.
I turn in her direction and immediately see why she’s screaming.
Three more figures have emerged from the shadows of a nearby alleyway and are making their way toward us. I’m almost certain they’re not human.
My fingers scurry, crab-like, along the warm skin of the street until they hit my pole. I snatch it up and run toward Jade.
“We have to get out of here,” I say, grabbing her by the arm. She nods. Trying to fight would be crazy. Not only are the odds now stacked against us, but this seems to be a new breed of demon: stronger, more cunning than any we’ve encountered before.
I begin to run without thinking. I know the demons are close behind us. I can hear their laboured breathing and smell the rusty odour of blood from their exhalations.
Jade’s a few feet ahead of me. Speed is her strength; a deadly and accurate aim with the pole is mine. I keep my eyes locked firmly on the glimmering street lamp ahead. The small orb of light illuminates one of the city’s busiest streets — surely the demons won’t risk chasing us out in the open. There’d be too many witnesses.
Not that these demons seem too worried about being discovered. After all, they’ve left over a dozen dismembered bodies strewn around the downtown core of the city over the last few weeks.
Jade is nearly at the intersection. The light from the street lamp glows around her, giving her an angelic aura. I watch a police car roll past the intersection. Maybe Jade can flag them down. If they give us a ride home, we’ll be safe for sure — safe for tonight, at least.
Something grabs hold of my knapsack, and for a brief moment, I’m suspended in mid-air, caught between the force of me moving forward and the demon pulling me back.

Editorial Reviews

Left me wanting more so I’m eagerly anticipating Book 3 to see how things unfold!

Between the Spine (blog)

Ramps up the action and fleshes out the real-world elements only hinted at in Finding Jade.

Literary Treats

Solomon’s Ring and the series’ first title, Finding Jade, would be enjoyable reads for fans of dystopic urban fantasy.

Canadian Materials

Climate change, climate change, climate change. If you think this isn’t relevant, THINK AGAIN. It’s amazing the imagery and descriptions Mary Jennifer Payne puts in this book, it’s all so vivid.

ReadingMaria (blog)

With what is happening right now in the political arena … this could not be timelier.

Lost in the Rain (blog)

Payne is a persuasive proponent of girl power.

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