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Darkness Dawns Cover Picture

Darkness Dawns

Dianne Duvall

Published 2011            345 pages

Summary (from the book jacket)

Once, Sarah Bingham's biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she's handed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control...

In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible – when it means forfeiting the world she's always known, and the life he would do anything to protect…

The Review

Dianne Duvall’s debut novel, Darkness Dawns, is the first book in a new paranormal romance series featuring the Immortal Guardians. Whilst not without teething troubles, Duvall’s debut effort should make satisfying reading for paranormal romance fans and occasionally hints her potential to write great action-packed romance.

The Immortal Guardians are a small group of immortals who protect humanity from vampires, usually by hunting and slaying the vampires before they can kill or infect more people with the vampire virus. Being infected isn’t a good thing – bloodlust and insanity swiftly follow – meaning that most vampires live a miserable and fairly short existence before their final death at the hands of an Immortal Guardian. Vampirism as the result of a virus is nothing new in vampire fiction – the twist here is that in a tiny number of “gifted” people the virus mutates into something that gives vampire-like benefits but without the downsides of homicidal mania. All these special people are recruited into the Immortal Guardians where they put their super-strength, immortally and other gifts to good use, keeping the vampires in check.

The opening pages of Darkness Dawns finds 900 year-old Roland losing a battle with a group of vampires, who stake him out to meet the sun. Sarah Bingham had no idea that vampires or immortals existed but when she finds Roland wounded and staked she quickly rescues him and takes him into her home. The vampires have a grudge against Roland, and now that she has thwarted their plans, Sarah too. Unable to leave her alone Roland pulls Sarah into a paranormal world that she never would have dreamed existed. Romance interspersed with plenty of vampire slaying action quickly follows.

So what’s the problem? Well, there are a few incongruous items and passages in the book which in my opinion really should have been squashed by the Editor’s red pen. Firstly, there is Roland’s sexual history, “When the strain of celibacy grew too much, he simply sought out prostitutes or women looking for one-night stands and allowed them to sate his needs.” In my opinion the word “prostitutes” in a man’s sexual history gives him a creepy yuck factor that surpasses drinking blood any day.

But by far the most bizarre was the heroine’s organic food rants. Initially they raised an eyebrow, followed by a snort of disbelief as they continued – eventually leading to them becoming great big jarring things that ending up with me deciding that the Editor should have struck every reference to the word “organic” from the manuscript for the benefit of its readers. The organic / vegetarian / health-food rants came across as preachy, possibly a personal crusade (verging on fetish) of the author’s, but add absolutely no value to the story what so ever.

There are a couple of other factual mistakes in the novel, which again I think a savvy editor should have picked up, but I won’t point them out you because if are inclined to read this book and you don’t spot them for yourself, you don’t want me making you notice them.

Why would you want to read this book if it’s got so many oddities? Well, while the whole food thing is beyond strange and the plotting is occasionally convenient, rather than inspired, there is some great banter and dialogue between the Immortal Guardians who are all alpha-male material. In fact the Immortal Guardians have something of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters about them (obviously without her complex Greek mythology) but still their wit, fighting skills, sacred duty and snappy dialogue do go a long way to easing the reader over some of the books more bumpy passages.

The Guardian’s leader, Seth, is a man of great supernatural talent and mystery (again reminiscent of Kenyon’s Acheron) but his secrets are his own and vague hints of what those secrets might be must be enough to satisfy the reader of Darkness Dawns for now because Seth and other Guardians will obviously be fodder for later books in the series.

Darkness Dawns may not be perfect but it is action-packed and the world of the Immortal Guardians shouldn’t fail to appeal to paranormal romance fans who like their romance to be served with a strong dash of vampire slaying action.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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