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

Turning vampires into loathed monsters, Darkness Before Dawn takes a different approach to one of YA and fantasy’s popular creatures.

I finished this book quickly, and it left me pondering the future of vampires and how they’ll appear in future books.

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

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darkness before dawn j.a. london

Title & Author: Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Vampires

Release Date: May 29, 2012

Series: 1st in a planned series

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.”

No Sparkling Here

I haven’t read The Hunt by Andrew Fakuda or The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, so I had the advantage of a fresh perspective when reading Darkness Before Dawn (whose premise seems similar to the other books listed).

Vampires are deadly blood-suckers and although humans would like to exterminate the lot of them, they must broker a truce with the vamps – as they are much stronger than humans and live much longer lives. Dawn has taken her parents place as the vampire ambassador after their sudden deaths, and she’s about to face Lord Valentine for the first time – one of the oldest and most cunning vampires.

I liked the premise behind Darkness Before Dawn, but I think a few elements got in the way of making this book truly great. First of all, there’s a classic forbidden romance deal between Dawn and Lord Valentine’s son (also a vampire). It’s so predictable and expected that I was slightly frustrated London even went there.

On top of that, there is also a love triangle to contend with. Yeah… I won’t lie and tell you it wasn’t entertaining to read, but again, it was expected and typical.

Things I did enjoy:

  • Dawn’s self-dependence and lack of neediness
  • Interesting world where vampires are set in modern-day Colorado
  • A-typical ending- although a serious cliffhanger


This book had me mentally debating it’s various pros and cons. It was a fast read that did keep me interested. I wasn’t crazy about the predictability of the plot and character’s choices, but I think I’ll give Darkness Before Dawn’s sequel a chance – Blood-Kissed Darkness.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.