Review: Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Title: Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn #1) by J.A. London
Page count: 342 pages (hardcover edition)
Goodreads rating: 3.99
Published on: May 29th, 2012
Buy it via: Amazon|B&N|Book Dep
Rating: 2.5/5 Crystal Balls
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.
Ever since I read The Immortal Rules earlier this year (which not only is one of my favorite reads of 2012 but breathed new life into vampire fic for me), I've had an interest in vampire dystopians, so when I heard about Darkness Before Dawn, I was excited. Unfortunately, I have to say Darkness Before Dawn was a pretty big disappointment for me. This is one of those sad cases were an otherwise good book is weighed down by a unnecessary and poorly written love triangle, therefore pretty much souring the main character, and the story itself. I really enjoyed certain aspects of this book. I especially loved the world building and the vampire mythology, but overall, I can’t say I was blown away. I want to point out that this is a fairly fun and quick read, and I could see other people liking this way more than I did, but for me personally, the romance just killed it. To put it into perspective, based on the plot and world-building, this book would have easily received four stars from me, but the the romance knocked it down to two and a half stars.

Insta-love can be bad enough, but a triangle on top of that? Well, that’s a recipe for disaster. I initially really liked Dawn’s character, but then I quickly grew frustrated with her as the whole book consisted of her going back and forth between her hating Victor one minute, lusting after him the next, than trying to convince herself she wanted to be with Michael while still thinking about Victor. I'm sorry, but I couldn't buy Victor and Dawn’s relationship. I really tried, but it just didn't work for me. It’s basically, “I could never love a vampire, but I DO!!!!!, but I don't!!!” The back and forth gave me whip lash and I felt like shaking her and shouting, “just stop already!” As a result, Michael’s character felt like nothing but a plot point to prop up Dawn and Victor's 'epic' romance, and that'd be acceptable if Dawn and Victor actually had a genuine, rootable relationship. Instead, their scenes just felt fake, and contrived, and their ‘love’ had no weight behind it. It’s as if their dialogue only existed because there needed to be a forbidden romance in the story. If you want to convince readers that two characters are 'meant to be' you need to let the relationship grow on its own, instead of using another character to prop them, to make them look like the better option.

It's true that Darkness Before Dawn might not have been one of my favorites, but I feel like this is a series that shows a signs of growth. Therefore, I'll be sticking with this series for now. Even though Darkness Before Dawn was released earlier this year, the sequel, Blood-kissed Sky is actually coming out this month. I'm curious to see where the story is headed, and hopeful that the series will reach it's potential.


  1. I have stayed away from this one because I loved The Immortal Rules so much. A love triangle can make a book even more amazing, disappointing that this one made it worse. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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Once upon a time, there were two sisters -Susan and Shauna - who were moved and mesmerized by stories through any medium, since they were teeny tiny. This passion stayed with them throughout adulthood, and after becoming even more enthralled with Young Adult fiction in recent times (and some Adult & MG!) they decided they just had to open up their own book blog and share their enthusiasm with the world, or well, to anyone who would listen.

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