Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Darkness Before Dawn
by J.A. London
Pub: May 29th 2012
by HarperTEEN
REVIEW COPY: Paperback (personal)
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.

Darkness  Before Dawn is the story of Dawn Montgomery, current official human delegate to the Vampires who rule the land surrounding Denver, the city she lives in. The back story of Darkness Before Dawn is that of a world where vampires revealed themselves to humans, leading to a human/vampire war that lasted close to 30 years. 

The war destroyed both sides and left humans living trapped in walled cities with the vampires living outside the walls. The humans technically lost, but neither side is thriving. Humans donate blood to the vampires in exchange for peace, but both sides suffer. The Vampire rulers live in large homes with nice clothes, but the poorer turned vampires starve outside the cities.
Dawn was named the new delegate to the vampires by Denver’s head vampire, Lord Valentine after her parents are killed (her father was the previous delegate).

There are a great deal of politics in Darkness Before Dawn and at times it did bog the story down.  Things moved pretty slowly without enough action to make reading Darkness Before Dawn  really exciting. Dawn's early interactions with Lord Valentine, the other kids in the city and the strange boy who saves her from an attack are all exciting and at times  had me flying through the pages to see what was going to happen. Then there was a long part in the middle where the story dragged. There was way too much talking about nothing, nothing really interesting happening and nobody picking up on the obvious clues to two(three?) big surprises that came at the end. If you don’t figure everything out before Dawn you weren’t paying attention to what you were reading.  Luckily I was reading the paperback so at the point I might have quit the book I flipped ahead and things picked up to make it interesting again.

While there was one twist I didn’t see coming-
 Valentine is killed by his son who assumes his place as the new leader of the vampires. This I did not see coming and did not expect to happen. It was a nice surprise.  
There were too many that I did. Darkness before Dawn is interesting but always really exciting. The last few pages had a big twist that sets up the next book, but even then, that twist wasnt really a surprise so –not so exciting.

If there was one thing I did like quite a bit about Darkness Before Dawn, it was depth of the secondary characters. They are well crafted with unique personalities and traits that give them purpose. I don’t know why but I always enjoy it when lost lonely heroines have a  terrible best friend who takes advantage of them and treats them badly. Dawn’s friend Tegan is awful. She had no redeeming quality that I could find and made Dawn’s life worse for knowing her. She was willing to ditch Dawn for anyone else and basically sided with Dawn’s boyfriend Michael when they have problems.  As for Victor, the mysterious boy Dawn is drawn to. While I liked him as a character I wasn’t into their relationship.  It felt a little too fast and Victor’s yet to prove that he can really be trusted. There is potential in the character for some great twists in future books, but somehow I doubt this is the series that will deliver them.

Overall, I would probably have given Darkness Before Dawn a 3/5 rating if not for it's strong finish. There is so much potential for  really great series that I have to bump it up to a 4/5 based on what there is to come. There was  also enough resolution to the plot that I don't feel cheated by the twist at the end and I'm curious where this story will go in the next book.

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. It's too bad to hear that you thought this one was predictable...BUT encouraging that you liked the secondary characters! I'll keep that in mind when I read my copy!


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