Monday, August 19, 2013

Series Review: Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Series Review:  
I really enjoyed this entire series, from beginning to end.  It presents a fresh take on vampires with incredible world-building.  It's a combination post-apocalyptic/dystopian/paranormal.  Fast-paced action, a strong heroine (no whining), great cast of supporting characters, and a sweet romance (no love triangle).  A few things are a bit predictable and it all ends a little too neatly, but overall, an awesome series.  Below are reviews for each book.

Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn #1)
Publication Date:  May 29, 2012

From Goodreads:
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.

I really enjoyed this book.  I liked the world-building, where there was a 30-year war between humans and vampires and then a peace treaty where there are cities surrounded by walls, the vampires live outside the walls, and humans must provide blood for the vampires and in return the vampires don't attack.  Even with the wall surrounding the city, there are rogue vampires, so no one is ever truly safe.  There are Old Family Vampires, who are born vampires, and then there are humans turned into vampires, called Lessers. This book definitely has a fresh take on vampires.  It's a combination post-apocalyptic/dystopian/paranormal.

The book begins with Dawn's parents on their way to meet with Lord Valentine, the Old Family Vampire who is in charge of Denver (Dawn's dad is the human delegate that works to keep the peace between vampires and humans).  They are assassinated.  And it's clear from page 2 that there's something special about Dawn. After her parents are killed, Lord Valentine requests that Dawn be the new delegate.

I really liked Dawn.  She's strong and level-headed, although a bit reckless, which gets her into trouble.  Unfortunately she allows herself to talked into doing stupid things by Tegan, her best friend, and Michael, her boyfriend.  Both Tegan and Michael annoyed me a bit.  Michael seemed great at first, but then he's constantly out to prove that he's strong and brave and can take care of Dawn.  Then there's Tegan, who doesn't seem to realize that she's living in a world with vampires.  

Then enters Victor, the new love interest.  I do like Victor, and how his romance with Dawn builds (not insta-love but it is pretty rapid).  He's dangerous, but not in a bad-boy kind of way.  He's actually really kind and trying to do the right thing and even though Dawn wants to hate him, she is drawn to him.  As she learns more about him, she realizes that things are not as black and white as she has always believed.  

The book ends in a cliff-hanger (of course) but what's great is that all of the books are out so no waiting.  Yay!  

Blood-Kissed Sky (Darkness Before Dawn #2)
Publication Date:  December 26, 2012

From Goodreads:
I thought vampires were our enemies - they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood - until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they're worse than ever.

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor's vampires don't get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst - a disease that will turn them into mindless killers.

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all... before it's too late.

At the end of Darkness Before Dawn, Dawn has to kill her brother Brady, who Sin turned into a vampire.  Since Brady didn't want to drink human blood, he only drank vampire blood and turned into one of the Infected.  Victor was hurt so bad that Dawn let him drink her blood and it looked like she would die.  So this book begins with Dawn waking up in the hospital after being in a coma for a week.  She's not a vampire.  But she finds out that things are not good in Denver.  Even though Victor has taken over and things should be better, they're actually worse.  After Sin turned a bunch of Night Watchmen into Daywalkers and attacked, people live in fear, relations are tense, and they don't want to give blood anymore.  

Dawn grows up even more in this book.  She's even tougher.  She has to leave the city to travel to LA to find out more about the Thirst (loved that we get to see another city).  Even though Victor is not in this book as much (we do get to see more of him through Dawn's dreams), I love the scenes that he is in.  It's obvious how much he loves Dawn and that he wants to protect her.  "He opens the balcony door.  'How can you walk away?' I ask. 'Because I love you.'"  Awww. 

I liked both Tegan and Michael a lot more in this book.  Michael makes up for a lot of his childish behavior that he displayed in the first book and we get to see how much he really cares about Dawn and what a good guy he really is.   

And then there's Sin.  What a complete lunatic.  We find out more about his insane plans and there's a twist at the end involving Sin and Dawn that you may or may not figure out, although were definitely a lot of hints sprinkled throughout the book.

A strong sequel that I couldn't put down. 

After Daybreak (Darkness Before Dawn #3)
Publication Date:  June 25, 2013

From Goodreads:
When we lost the war with the vampires, our world changed. The Old Family overlords trapped us in a few scattered cities and demanded our blood. Then Victor- the first vampire I've ever trusted, ever loved- came to power, and I hoped for peace between our kinds. Only now a new type of monster, Day Walkers, has emerged, and their maniacal leader is threatening to destroy us all, human and vampire alike.

The Old Family Council is stubborn and proud, unwilling to acknowledge the danger. But once I claim my birthright as the last living member of the Montgomery line, they will have to listen to me.

Neither fully human nor vampire, I am the bridge between both. Even if I'm not sure where I belong anymore, I know that the only way any of us will survive is if we stand together.

A strong and satisfying conclusion to this series, the third book doesn't disappoint. Dawn has learned that she is part vampire and the book begins with she and Michael fleeing from Sin.  The rest of the book is filled with twists and turns involving Sin, the Old Family vampires, and the city of Denver.  Faith and Richard play a bigger role in this book, which I enjoyed.  Dawn stays strong and shows how smart and capable she is, even though she's a bit worried about having vampire blood and whether that means that no one will accept her since she's not fully human and not fully vampire.  

I really liked the relationship between Dawn and Victor.  They become a team in this book, working together and respecting each other, which is rare in YA novels. The ending is satisfying (although it was a bit rushed and wrapped up a bit too neatly); however, there are a few questions that are left unanswered, especially regarding Dawn's heritage and what it all means for the future.  I felt like there was a lot more that could have been done with that.  In the end, a fun and entertaining read.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I am so in love with these covers!!! I only read the first review because I haven't read them yet but I love how you called the love interest dangerous but not in a bad boy way. I'll have to check these out!

    1. I really enjoyed the series and it was so nice reading a series where all of the books are out! ~Pam

  2. If you liked the combination of post-apocalyptic/dystopian/paranormal here, you might like the Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa. It has a similar vampire hierarchy and it reverses the relationship that this one has for Victor/Dawn, but still remains satisfying on both levels. Well, if you're up for reading something so similar. Might be gorier and not have quite the same feel - I can't really say since I haven't read this series and am just going off your review - but might be worth a shot.

    It's nice that Dawn grew a lot over the series and that each installment was still satisfying, though it sounds like the third was least satisfying. :) I hope you have the same or a greater level of success with your next read!

    1. I have read the Blood of Eden series and I liked it too (Book 2 was such a cliffhanger ending!). There are definite similarities.

      It seems like a lot of the last books in a series are a little disappointing. This one was actually pretty strong, but there were just a few unanswered questions about a certain point that they make such a big deal about in the books and then it's like, ok, well never find out what actually happens with that. I'm starting to wish more authors would do an epilogue, maybe a few years into the future, just so there's more closure. ~Pam

  3. I loved Darkness Before Dawn but for some reason I haven't picked up the other books in the series. I will have to get them soon :)

    1. I did enjoy the series so I would definitely recommend you reading the next two. ~Pam

  4. I read Darkness Before Dawn and absolutely loved it but in the wait between when I read it and when Blood-Kissed Sky came out I totally lost interest! I'll have to pick the last two up someday because I am sure I will get right back into it!