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Friday, July 16, 2010

Darkness At Dawn by Devin Harnois

Darkness At Dawn by Devin Harnois
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short (34 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fern

Letting her live was bad enough. Wanting her is much worse.

Richard Everson has seen too many people die, killed by the nightmare creatures that have overrun the world. Every night he leaves the protection of the walled city to hunt the nasties alone. He likes his job. Maybe a little too much.

By day, Jennifer lives in her human skin. By night, the wolf takes over, a legacy forced upon her by the nasties who made her one of them. Everson is a tenuous link to what’s left of the human world. Despite the danger to them both, she hungers for his touch.

Each encounter sends the heat spiraling higher, until it burns away all control. And Richard realizes too late his heart has crossed a line punishable by death…

If you enjoy dark, gritty, stories that explore themes outside the ordinary confines of romance, then Darkness At Dawn -- a novella that packs one hell of a punch -- just might be for you. From the moment the story begins, the reader is swept into a world in which creatures literally appeared overnight and changed the world forever. Now there are a few survivors who explore the dangerous areas for food, technology, and of course, those grizzly beings that have all but eradicated the once thriving human population.

While written in a third person narrative, the story is shared entirely through the voice of Richard Everson. He’s a man who has battled the “nasties” for a very long time. His routine is much the same, and because of the death rate of his partners, he chooses to face the evil that has overtaken the world alone. So he’s rather shocked when he comes across a naked female as the dawn eclipses the night, huddled against a building, and agrees to let her go at her request. Since Jennifer is living in the zone he patrols, he knows she’s a nasty too. The problem is she’s also beautiful and hard to forget. The story unfolds as he returns each dawn to speak to her and a relationship develops. Of course, theirs is a doomed affair, as he is a human and she isn’t.

As I settled into the story, I couldn’t wait to learn what would happen to the star-crossed pair. It was obvious they could never be together -- at least not in the strictest sense. Ultimately, that brought me to the only complaint about the story, which is the ending. I was left flipping to the next page, expecting more, and was virtually stunned to discover that there really is no resolution. For the sake of remaining spoiler free, I’ll simply state that it left a lot of loose ends and the conclusion is extremely abrupt and unexpected.

On a positive note, the writing is quite good and the characters are intriguing. While Everson was a character I wanted to know more about, it is Jennifer who is the enigma. You learn what she is but you are never given any back story into her life aside from a few, fleeting glimpses. I would have liked to have known more about her and feel that Darkness At Dawn would have benefitted from being made into a full-length book versus a short novella (one I would certainly love to read).

Urban fantasy fans who love the darker end of the spectrum will enjoy Darkness At Dawn. Although I wanted more at the end, that isn’t entirely a bad thing. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more works from this author in the future.