This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won. Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters.... Darkness Before Dawn is a fresh new story with captivating characters, unexpected plot twists, a fascinating setting, and a compelling voice. Written under the name J. A. London by a talented mother-son team, the trilogy is perfect for fans of True Blood and the House of Night and Morganville Vampires series. ~From GoodReads
"Soon the monsters will come out to play. They like the night. They feed on it. Sometimes they feed on us." (pg.3)
So I'm just going to come out and say it. I loved this book. I loved everything about it: the characters, the plot, the dangerous world...everything.
Let me start with the world-building. I would consider DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN to be a post-apocalyptic/dystopian crossover, heavier on the post-apocalyptic.[Sidenote: Post-apocalyptic and dystopian are not the same thing. For the difference in dystopian and post-apocalyptic please read this post by Julie Kagawa.] Many of the post-apocalyptic books that I've read have been vague in that respect. In DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN, you learn exactly what happened to bring about the bleak existence humans endure. I don't want to give all the details away, because that aspect was fascinating for me to read. Long story short, there was a decades long war between humans and vampires. Vampires won. The VampHu treaty came out of this, the main stipulation being that vampires will not attack the humans within their walls as long as they provide blood to the vamps.
So here we are in Denver, and our heroine Dawn is the new delegate to the leader of the local vampires, Lord "Bloody" Valentine. And though the treaty is intact, the humans go into hiding each day when the sun goes down, for fear of rogue vampires. Their safety in tenuous at best. Dawn, who has replaced her murdered parents as the delegate, is all but responsible for walking the fine line that keeps humans safe. I truly admired Dawn as a character. She is a teenager with the world on her shoulders, yet she manages to smile, have fun, live, and still take her duties seriously. She has her guardian, best friend Tegan (not the sharpest knife), and her long-time boyfriend, Michael. I did like Michael. He's protective, intense, and seemed to be devoted to Dawn. Until...he isn't. Michael has an ego that constantly needs reassured. He definitely has a hero complex and begins to grate at the nerves which made it remarkably easy for another guy to swoop in.
That alluring new man is Victor. Victor is dashing, intriguing, and dangerous, but not in a bad boy way. He is exceedingly kind, goes out of his way, puts himself in danger to keep Dawn safe. He wants to do what's best for Dawn, even at his own risk. The dude made me hardcore swoon.
The storyline was consistently moving ahead. I never felt as if it stalled. Not only is the consistent threat of Lord Valentine a factor, Dawn is also confronting danger on at least three different fronts, never mind the potential drama in her love life. There is an issue at the opening, that Valentine mentions later in the story, that's never explained. I'll assume it will be expanded on in the next book. I'm fine with that. When everything comes to a head, though, I thought the suspense would kill me, or at least make me pass out from holding my breath. The ending was a definite cliffhanger. I would have been screaming, dying to know what was happening. But, my book, a finished copy, has a sneak peek of book two, BLOOD-KISSED SKY. Well played, authors, because I am dying to read that book.
Personal Note: In the synopsis, it is mentioned that fans of True Blood, the House of Night series, and Morganville Vampires series would enjoy this. I haven't read Morganville Vampires. But I have read the Sookie Stackhouse series and House of Night series. DBD, besides being a book with vampires that have come out, is nothing at all like Sookie Stackhouse series. And besides the obvious, vampires, it is nothing like the House of Night series. DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN is soooo much better. Sorry if I've stepped on any toes, but if someone told me this was like HoN, I probably wouldn't read it.
"In my dreams, we're the same. We can touch, kiss, love. And every dream ends with us ...being together forever." (pg 224)
Expected publication: May 29th 2012 by HarperTeen
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Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.