Review: Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Darkness Before Dawn
By J.A. London
342 Pages
Published by HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Source: Library

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.

For some reason – and I’m not sure what that reason is – I never seem to get sick of vampires. You’d think they’d be getting wicked old at this point (or not since they don’t age, herp derp) but they really never have become tiresome to me. I can’t get enough. That’s not to say that I like every vampire book I read – one series in particular comes to mind that is beloved by many but that I absolutely cannot stand – but if it’s about vampires it’s a fair assumption that I’ll give it a shot. The fact that this was also post-apocalyptic, which has become one of my favorite genres, made me want to read it all the more.

In Darkness Before Dawn, there were a lot of things that I liked. I enjoyed that the book had a lot of little details. Like, for example, a scene where Victor explains to Dawn how to get into the back seat of a car. Of course Dawn wouldn’t know how to do this on her own, since she had never been in a car before. To me it really added to the realism of the story. It’s not minutiae – we don’t get every little detail of everything – but it’s enough to add to the world building. It was a nice touch.

I thought it was interesting that there are two different groups of vampires – those who are born and those who turn. It’s pretty rare to come across a book or movie or whatever where vampires can actually be born, they’re almost always made. Here, the born vampires are old families of rulers. They have all the power. Turned vampires either work for the old families or basically starve outside the walls of the city (or sneak into the city and feed illegally, which is one of the main issues that Dawn has to deal with as the city’s delegate). I also thought it was interesting that the vampires in Darkness Before Dawn age. Granted it’s much, much more slowly than humans but still…they do age.

For the most part I liked the characters in the book, even the evil ones. Dawn was mostly ok, she had a lot to deal with and I felt like while she struggled with her life she never got obnoxiously emo or totally whiny. Victor, I loved. Victor, Victor, Victor. I hope the next book is all about Victor. I was pretty meh on Michael because he was kind of a dumbass but his part in the book was small enough that he didn’t grate too much. Tegan I could have done without but again, her part wasn’t so large that it bugged too much.

If I had one complaint about DBD it would be that it was somewhat predictable. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve read so many vampire books or just I was guessing really well. Some things are blatantly obvious (like who is a vampire and who isn’t) and other things I just had suspicions about. There is also a massive cliffhanger that leaves you with absolutely no choice but to read the next book.

4/5 Stars

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1 Comment

  1. Victor!! So glad you enjoyed this.


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