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Review - Darkness Before Dawn

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn #1)
by J.A. London

Publication: May 29, 2012
Pages: 342
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Harper Collins
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

The war is over. The humans lost. And in the shattered world that arises, the vampires are king. They rule over the remaining walled cities with an iron fist, none more terrifying than Lord Valentine. His concern is with blood and blood alone, and seeing that it is ‘donated’ on time.

It’s Dawn Montgomery’s duty to ensure the safety of her fellow humans within the city, but also to serve as Delegate to Lord Valentine. She is the conduit between the two worlds, the human and vampire, and the youngest to ever do so.

But when Lord Valentine’s son, Victor, steps into her life, everything changes. She assumes he wants her blood, like all vampires. But he’s after more: her heart.

J.A. London introduces us to a dystopian society where vampires rule over human cities. In exchange for protection, humans "donate" blood to their vampire overlords. Unrest stirs in the cities, as the humans grow complacent, believing that others will donate blood in their stead, teenagers question the need to stay behind the walls, and activitists protest the need to remain subservient to vampires.

My favorite part of the novel is the world building. The idea of vampires ruling the world with humans locking themselves up in walled cities intrigued me, and J.A. London has done a fantastic job introducing us to the history behind the war between humans and vampires and its devastating outcome. I also enjoyed seeing Dawn act out her role as her city's delegate to vampires and how she grows out from her prejudice against vampires (warranted as it is) to accepting them and eventually caring for one.

Character-wise, it doesn't feel as though Dawn has a steady personality. Her train of thought is hard to follow in places, such as her sudden switch from hating vampires to understanding and accepting them. While I can see where the changes takes place, it's a rocky transition in the wording. Overall, it feels as though Dawn's thoughts are inserted where it seems the reader would like to know them rather than playing out naturally. I do appreciate Dawn's growth as a character. Initially, she starts with self doubts, being the youngest Delegate to the vampires in history, and she hates her role because the vampires took everything from her. However, she gains more confidence as the novel progresses and even grows to appreciate the her parents' dedication to their role as the Delagates before her.

As a heads up, there is a love triangle of sorts in this novel. However, it's not a bad one or one with instalove. In fact, it's pretty obvious who Dawn's going to be with. While Michael seems like a great guy, he's missing for the most part, as Dawn and Michael's duties to the city keep them away from each other. When they're together, they don't talk about anything important and mostly derive comfort from each other. Overall, it is what it is: two friends who got together after they tried kissing. I was pretty indifferent to Michael until he suddenly feels the need to prove his self-worth to Dawn, leading to some unpleasant incidents. I very much liked Victor. He's a vampire, but he's compassionate towards humans and vampires alike... and I probably shouldn't go further than that because I'll end up giving spoilers. Let's stick to I-want-to-see-Dawn-and-Victor-together.

The pacing is pretty slow for the most part, as the novel focuses on world building and setting up the plot, but the action picks up towards the end as the plot unfolds. I see potential for more to happen in the second book of this trilogy and will be picking it up to see what happens next.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
15 comments on "Review - Darkness Before Dawn"
  1. I don't mind love triangles especially without insta love. This book sounds pretty good the world sounds really interesting. Good to know it's slow paced though. Great review!

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  2. I'm a bit bummed to hear it's slow-paced. I was hoping it would be griping the whole way through! But, I'm still excited to read it. Thanks for the great review :)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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  3. The whole vampire rulers and human donors thing reminds me of The Immortal Rules! I'm very intrigued and look forward to seeing how this plot unfolds! I hope I like Dawn more as a character than you did and….this love triangle sounds interesting ;) *watches out for Victor* Sounds like a nice first book! Should be a good series! Great review :)

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  4. It's a pretty good book, and it definitely sets up for more to happen in book two. I'm hoping to like it a lot more.

    @Lisa: I hope you like Dawn more. And Victor is definitely someone to look out for!

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  5. I'm glad that the love triangle isn't super melodramatic. Personally, I'm fine with love triangles, but I know some people don't like them. I don't like it when characters randomly change their opinions without any transition. I know that the author knows the transition themselves, but the readers don't know everything the author does. Thanks for posting such a great review, Kris. I can't wait for Darkness Before Dawn.

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  6. @Julie: For me, I don't mind love triangles as long as they make sense to me. This one worked for me. :) I hope you enjoy Darkness Before Dawn!

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  7. It does have slow parts and sometimes lost me completely but the love triangle made it more interesting...nice review!

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  8. @Shane: I loved the Victor side of the triangle ;)

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  9. Yes, no stupid love triangle. Not sure how I feel aboout the obvious part on who she's going with, I like the mystery, but at least it isn't a lovy-dovy one. :D Thanks.

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  10. Great review! I haven't read this one yet, but it's at the top of my TBR list. I love the whole concept behind the novel - it sounds so interesting!

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  11. Yay for no love triangle!! I can't wait to read this one!
    Great review. :)

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  12. The fact that there's not love triangle won me over for this book. I HATE I mean HATE love triangles. The only time they are acceptable for me is if one lover leaves(A tragic leaving, not just because), they one in the middle tries to move on and then falls in love with someone and then the first love comes back. Even then it needs to be done right.

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  13. Great reviews. It's nice to see one WITHOUT a love triangle.

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  14. This sounds like a great vamp novel. I hated the instalove of twilight (seriously- what did Bella see in the dead, controlling, ruin your future Edward?)but like vamp stories, so this should be perfect for me.

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  15. Thanks for the hints and tips about this book! I think it looks interesting! Sounds like the world is really well done! Great review.

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