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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Reading Book Review: Darkness Before Dawn

LC's Summer Reads will be featured throughout the Summer of 2012-- These are books that I decided would be perfect for on the beach, in the sun, or pretty much wherever I happen to be this summer! Click on the button above to see what other books I've read or plan on reading! :)

Author: J.A. London
Series: Darkness Before Dawn #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Pages: 342
Read it in: 2 days
Source: ARC from the Publisher
Summary: 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.

LC's Take:

Darkness Before Dawn was SUCH a wonderful surprise for me. Honestly, I started out worried that this was going to be yet another cliche vampire story, but boy was I wrong-- with a Post-apocalyptic twist in a world where vampires rule over humans, this book surprised me in all the right ways, and I am really, really glad that I chose to give it a chance!

Dawn is the delegate of her city-- a job her parents held for many years until they were unexpectedly murdered. In a dark post-apocalyptic world, it is her job to represent all the people living within the walls of broken down Denver and make sure that the vampires lurking outside are kept happy with a steady supply of blood. Reporting to the lead vampire, Lord Valentine, Dawn must negotiate and be diplomatic enough to fight for the human race but also be careful not anger him. Keeping the peace between vampires and humans is a constant struggle, and it isn't until Dawn meets Victor that she learns not all vamps are blood-thirsty monsters. Only problem? Victor happens to be Lord Valentine's son...

So like I mentioned, Darkness Before Dawn was one of those books that I was a little "iffy" about at first-- and even in the first half of the book, I was sort of scared that it was taking a wrong turn into Been-There- Done-That territory-- but the last half of it totally blew me away and I ended up absolutely LOVING this book. I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the next one in the series!

So first, a word about the beginning and why I was worried about this book becoming super cliche-- first, we all know there are like a gazillion YA books about vampires. They are freaking everywhere. And even though this book claimed to have a fresh, new take on the vamp genre, I was a little skeptical, especially since right away there was the ever-dreaded, waaaaay over-played--

wait for it....

Love triangle!

Oh yes, we have a good ol' love triangle, and not only that, but it started out as THE most typical kind of triangle there is. Dawn is caught up in her feelings for Michael, the good-guy athletic boyfriend with blond hair and then she gets all tangled up with Victor, the darkly mysterious and seductive vampire whom she isn't sure she can trust. I KNOW. I can't even flipping count how many times this same kind of love triangle has been played out in YA books, BUT-- and here's a big but (haha I'm such a dork)-- I actually ended up liking this one. Yes, it was the Good Boy vs. Bad Boy love triangle, but you know what, I totally became wrapped up in it by the end of the book. (And I'm so Team Victor by the way-- hott, sexy, brooding vampire with a tragic past? Ummm yeeah.... sign me up for that please LOL :P )

So points are being awarded to the love triangle in Darkness Before Dawn-- which I almost never give, because love triangles typically annoy the holy bejeezus out of me, so this is a pretty big deal guys. Just sayin'.

Next awesome thing about this book? I absolutely loved how it mixed a Post-apocalyptic world with the whole vampire genre, it worked SO well and gave the story a very dark and eerie feel to it. Dawn's world is dark, dangerous, and provided the perfect backdrop for an awesome story.

I was also a big fan of Dawn Montgomery herself. As the main character, I liked that Dawn had a strong-willed personality and was slightly reckless. I also liked that she could stand on her own two feet and didn't spend the entire book mooning over which guy she liked more. I mean yes, there is some of that obviously, but it didn't overwhelm the rest of the story and get to be super annoying. So I loved Dawn and I would definitely read the next book because she was such a great character. 

The writing style itself was a little difficult to read at first because it seemed choppy, i.e. there were lots of small, broken up sentences that felt sort of clunky and made me stumble over a lot of it while I was reading. I would have liked it if the writing had flowed a bit better instead of being so broken up, but the fragmented style didn't kill the story for me in the least, and by the end I was dying to get into the next book-- mainly because the author did the most genius thing possible by introducing us to some awesome new characters (Victor's sister Faith for example? I loved her!) and giving only hints as to who they were, which was like dangling cake on a stick because now I cannot WAIT to read the sequel! Well played, J.A. London. Well played.

So all in all, Darkness Before Dawn was an awesome vampire book-- it had originality, good characters, and an intriguing storyline. The post-apocalyptic twist was pulled off really well, the love triangle wasn't too annoying and actually had me interested, and Dawn was a main character I'd want to follow into the next book. And with the ridiculous number of vamp books out there, I think that this one did a really awesome job at standing out on its own. So to all my paranormal fans out there-- be sure to add this one to your TBR lists right now!! :)

~Cover Talk~

OK, so I know that a lot of people might think that this cover is sort of generic and looks like a million other YA book covers but... GAH! I just LOVE it so much! It's just so elegantly dark and Gothic, and the first time I saw it I was just like **wow!** First off, that dress is absolutely to-die-for gorgeous, and I love the air of mystery surrounding the girl whose face is hidden, and the gloomy clouded sky in the background with the black birds just sets the tone for how dark the story is. The *only* thing-- and this is so dumb-- but it bothers me a little how the "R" in Darkness is backwards. I don't know why! Haha, but other than that I really adore this cover.

LC's Rating:
LOVED IT.  With an action-packed plot and a cast of awesome characters, Darkness Before Dawn also had a Post-apocalyptic twist that was refreshingly original and kept me intrigued from beginning to end. I cannot wait for the next book in this series!

Check it out!


  1. Okay, Lea. I trust you. I will read this one even though the phrase "love triangle" makes me want to jump off a very tall bridge. They CAN be done well but I am so skeptical these days.

    But because I trust your opinion and this is a dystopian (which is a genre I cannot turn down no matter how bad), I will try it. You've convinced me. Prepare to feel my wrath if I hate it. ;)

    1. Oh shit lol :P I hope you end up liking it!! I'm gonna feel bad if you don't! But be warned, the triangle annoyed the crap out of me at first, but... there was something about the characters I liked so it didn't bother me so much towards the end.

      Well, I'll be looking forward to seeing what you think! :D

  2. Great review, Lea! I have this book on my tbr pile, and totally forgot about it. Like you, I LOVE the cover, the dress and the whole dark feel to it. I love my books action packed, so maybe this will be added to the top of my list!

  3. Ahhh you sold me! I wanted to read this book so badly when it came out mainly because of this insane awesome cover and .. hello.. Vampires! For some reason I was not completely sold at first but your review brought it back into my focus! I like how you describe the Love Triangle.. normally I dread them, but when they are done right I like it!

  4. OMG. I am so looking forward to getting this book! It's not yet released in my country. Bummer. Although I -hate- love triangle, I'm actually really sure Dawn would end up with Victor instead. I'm in love with him already. Great review!!

  5. Haha. I love your honest, gushy review and cover talk. I could put aside the typical love triangle issue as long as there's hot, swoon-worthy characters like Victor. The cover does have that elegant goth to it. And I think they put the 'R' backwards for the swirly effect, which works if you don't pay too much attention to it.


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