Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book Review: Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn Series, #1) by J.A. London

Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn, #1)

Author: J.A. London

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Synopsis: Only sunlight can save us.

We built the wall to keep them out, to keep us safe. But it also makes us prisoners, trapped in what's left of our ravaged city, fearing nightfall.

After the death of my parents, it's up to me--as the newest delegate for humanity--to bargain with our vampire overlord. I thought I was ready. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the monsters. Then again, nothing could have prepared me for Lord Valentine . . . or his son. Maybe not all vampires are killers. Maybe it's safe to let one in.

Only one thing is certain: Even the wall is not enough. A war is coming and we cannot hide forever

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: I have missed reading stories where vampires are actually portrayed as the heartless predator they really are and Darkness Before Dawn brings back the terrifying portrayal of vampires but only slightly.

Nine years have passed since the thirty-year war between humans and vampires took place and Dawn’s parents were killed leaving Dawn to become the youngest named Delegate for the Agency. Dawn’s job is to keep the tentative peace between vampires and humans and to keep the blood supply ample for the vampires so they don’t attack which means keeping Lord Valentine happy. Lord Valentine is the leader of the vampires in the city of Denver and is as ruthless as a vampire can be. As Dawn adjusts to the fame and criticism of the role as Delegate, she finds her life turned upside as vampires begin to invade the city and abduct humans. But those aren’t the only threats. Lord Valentine’s son takes an interest in Dawn and complicates her life even further. But blood supply and Victor are not the most threatening aspects to Dawn’s job. She will find herself right smack in the middle of a battle that will change the vampire regime and bring back someone Dawn had thought to be dead.

Darkness Before Dawn is narrated by Dawn. The authors made an attempt at portraying the character as a strong and wise female lead but it didn’t work. Dawn often came off rather unbelievable. She also makes incredibly stupid decisions. She wasn’t the worse female lead I have ever read, certainly better than others, but there was nothing remarkable about her character. In action scenes, Dawn was pretty useless. She would make an attempt but would quickly be over powered and needed to be rescued.

Tegan, Dawn’s best friend, is a complete airhead, shallow and rather annoying throughout the book. She not only makes decisions that nearly get both her and Dawn killed (more than once!) but she also falls for a guy based on looks then decides he is not like other guys and must be with him. Michael, Dawn’s boyfriend, is bland and throws tantrums so easily when Dawn isn’t an agreement with him. There was nothing really likeable about him. Sin, the guy Tegan falls for and the new guy to the Watchman team (team of humans that protect the city by taking down vampires that get passed the wall), is your predictable bad boy. He thinks he’s above the rules, easy on the eyes, and cocky as hell. Out of the secondary characters, Sin was the one I liked.

Victor and Richard where pretty good characters. They are both vampires but civil ones. There is humanity to them and an old world charm which did fit their characters well considering they are two of the oldest vampires. Victor is agile, fast, and has a fierce determination. He isn’t driven by fear but by his passion to merge humans and vampires together in true peace. Richard is patient, kind, loyal, and wise. He also has a good sense of humor. I liked his bond with Victor.

The best part to the entire novel was the world building. The portrayal of what the city looked like after a thirty-year war with vampires and the wall protecting the city were all well detailed. The loss, the pain, the fear housed within the broken parts of the city where showcased well within the architecture of the city. I also liked the fact that every city where humans lived was closed off from other cities. Only one train ran from city to city, non-stop, to bring supplies the humans may need but humans could not interact with anyone else outside of their city. This was a great quality. You could feel the isolation within the world building. I also liked that the TV shows and radio shows were all made from within the city. Any outside tv shows or radio shows were banned since vampire leaders did not want humans to be able to exchange interaction.

There is, of course, a love triangle but a sad one. The love triangle was rather ridiculous and really just felt unnecessary. The action scenes were sparse and lackluster, especially when the final epic battle with Lord Valentine comes into play. I had expected much more than what took place within the scene. The suspense build up was one of the aspects of the plot that was written pretty well. The pacing and fluidity moved at a steady pace. There were a few moments scenes were dragged down but for most of the book, the story reads at an easy pace.

Overall, there were aspects to Darkness Before Dawn I enjoyed reading. But much of the book was predictable and nothing really too surprising happens that the reader won’t be able to figure out early on. The ending was the most predictable part of all and reminds me of countless other paranormal novels.

I am interested to see how the story progresses since I did enjoy Victor and Richard’s character. There are also unresolved aspects to the plot such as what happened with Tegan and Sin, what will become of Dawn now that she has sided with Victor, and what will happen to the city after the big revelation toward the end. I just hope Dawn becomes a stronger character.

About the Author: J.A. London is the mother-son writing team of Jan and Alex Nowasky. As Racgel Hawthorne, Jan has written many novels for teens, including the popular Dark Guardian series. Alex, a recent graduate with a degree in Historical Studies, enjoys combining history and fiction to create unique worlds.

Where to Find the Author

Second installment in Darkness Before Dawn series, Blood Kissed Sky, came out December 25, 2012.

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