Darkness Before Dawn
by J.A. London
There was awesome world-building in this book. It is a future dystopian novel where we fought a war against vampires and pretty much lost, so humans are confined to a few walled cities and answer to their vampire overlords, a few older vamps that “keep the peace” in exchange for blood for their people. The problem is the blood doesn’t get to everyone equally. Dawn is the human delegate that meets with Lord “Bloody” Valentine to negotiate how much blood is provided weekly and safety issues from rogue vampires. Dawn is only 17, but like most, has been forged in the fires of these dangerous times. But, even though she does have a level head and makes an interesting liaison to the vamps, she does a whole bunch of supremely stupid things in a row, I guess she is a teen after all. For some reason the teenagers in this alternate reality are much like ones you would in 1st world countries, making their own dumb decisions and mostly surviving. It doesn’t make a ton of sense in this world, because any mistep can get you killed…the typical rebellion and acts of teenage “I’m immortal at this age” types of decisions. Though it did make for some really tense scenes where you wonder if the next step will be their last. Additionally, it has been less than a generation since the war, people are struggling against the vampire shackles and making waves about throwing them off.
But the humans aren’t the only ones struggling against the power structure and some action is going to go down. Players are moving into position.
This book follows Dawn and her friends. They bumble around daring each other to do stupid things. And yes Twilight fans, this one has a 400 year old vamp who is interested in a 17 year old. Yay! Though I did like the 400 year old, he was pretty cool. I don’t know, it was fine for me until he says something confessing how he fell for her and there were too many shades of Twilight and I almost threw it down. But then it got better again. They both were adults about the vamp/human relationship = doesn’t work. But of course something happens and pulls them in all sorts of directions. It keeps you reading and there is a huge cliffhanger at the end. Luckily my book had a sneak peak into Book 2, so I could find out an answer to the most pressing question. But there are other answers I now need from book 2. So if you like it, expect to want the second book fairly quickly!
Dawn is a pretty level-headed leading lady. She is a teen and has hormones and doesn’t always know what to do…and she lets her friends lead her around sometimes, but she keeps her head really well. She doesn’t break down even though life has handed her a pretty crappy bit of stuff lately and she knows what needs to be done and understands at least theoretically when things don’t go her way.
I enjoyed this book, it kept me reading pretty quickly. I guess it is a 3 or 3.5 star read. If I wanted to pick it apart, I guess I could, but overall for intended audience it was good. I will probably pick up the next book some day. But I am not rushing out to pick it up.