Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paranormal Pick: Darkness Before Dawn

Darkness Before Dawn
by J.A. London
342 pages

Available May 29, 2012 (date from publisher's website)

Read more about the Vampire world from the authors' website

Just when you thought vampires were passe, just when you were glad that vampires were so last year, just when you decided that vampires are over-done, just when your mantra became: I'm so over vampires--a new vampire thriller appears and changes all of that. Darkness Before Dawn is compelling and clever with a title that plays on the main character's name: Dawn. Dawn's name means, "the first appearance of daybreak; overcoming darkness." Darkness Before Dawn--Dawn will face darkness; she is, after all, a delegate for humanity; she works for the Agency, the human council that oversees vampire/human agreements. She is the youngest human ever chosen as the go-between the human world and the world of the vampires led by the powerful Lord Valentine. Even the name Valentine is a play on words: Valentine's Day with its red roses, red hearts, red arrows, red blood, true love.

Darkness Before Dawn is the best paranormal of the year; it has everything a reader could ever want: a high-speed rocket of a plot, a dark and brooding love interest who is hell-bent on putting things right, a feisty and clever heroine, and a mother/son writing team who flex good old solid writing chops. The pages just kept turning for me; I was hooked from page one and couldn't put this one down, and I double-dog dare you to try to put this book down!

Humans lost the war with the vampires and a treaty was agreed upon. VampHu rules allow humans to remain safe in their cities IF they provide enough blood through blood donations to the vampires outside the walls. Lord Valentine controls the vampires outside of Denver. He insists that the city of Denver provide double the blood rations. Dawn is in a predicament. Humans are giving less blood than ever; how will she ever be able to meet Lord Valentine's crazy demands?

Dawn goes to a party near the wall with her friend Tegan--she's knows it's dangerous but wants a little fun before facing the Dark Lord. Tegan's drink is drugged and soon she's a mess; Dawn grabs her and takes her from the party, half-carrying the now unconscious Tegan. They are lucky enough the catch a streetcar, or are they?

Attacked by the vamp conductor and two other vampires, Dawn fights back; she's been trained by the best vampire killers and she uses her training and strength, but she's losing the battle. When seconds make the difference between life and death, Dawn and Tegan are rescued by a mysterious guy; Dawn believes he's a Night Watchman, a human trained to defend the city against rogue vampires. Victor saves the girls and takes them to a safe place, an old movie theater. Later, he drives them to Dawn's house in his car--he must be very rich to own a car--only the very rich have cars after the war.

The name Victor means champion and was a popular saint's name in Christian Rome. Yet, Dawn discovers that Victor is also the son of Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire. She is disgusted by him and hates the fact that she thought he was handsome and chivalrous before she knew his true identity. Yet he saved them--Tegan and Dawn. Victor assures Dawn that he is a "good" vampire, out to rid the city of the rogues and monsters. He is protecting the peace between the vampire world and the humans. Dawn tries to believe him, but all her training tells her not to believe anything a vampire says or does.

There's sparks between them that neither of them can deny. Victor says,"I know I should resist. Vampires and humans...they never work out." Victor has a secret and he's about to let Dawn in on it. Together, they will have to face the enemy.

Highly, highly recommended for any paranormal fans and fans of paranormal romance will love this one. Way better than Twilight and its sequels. Girls will be Team Victor from now on. Dawn is a tough talking human with strength and moxie; she is no sniveling, weak-minded Bella Swan (Twilight).

Book Two, The Blood-Kissed Sky is not to be missed; there is no publication date yet.

Grades 9-up. Underage drinking, kissing, vampire gore, bloodlust.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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