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Friday, January 28, 2011

Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (345 pgs)
Heat Level: hot
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Once, Sarah Bingham's biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she's landed 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..

Action-packed world building and a hero daring all for love makes Darkness Dawns one of the most fascinating romances I’ve read this year.

I am so enthusiastic about this story because of its humor, passion and an interesting take on the vampire myth. The best part for me was the main characters; Roland, the hero and Sarah, the heroine. Their interaction, the growth of their relationship and their dialogue are what made this an awesome reading experience.

Ms. Duvall wrote Sarah as a quirky character with plenty of charm, wit and joy for life that was exuberant in nature. She’s not silly, though she certainly brought a much needed smile to Roland throughout the book, as well as making me grin many times. She is spontaneous and sometimes she says things out of the blue which cause characters to look at her with twinkling eyes of humor and amazement. She has a pragmatic way about her, yet she has a healthy dose of curiosity. I also enjoyed the fact that Sarah could see the man in Roland, the one no one else seemed to see. She reacted to things with heart and forgiveness and an open mind. Just because she’s smaller than the hero didn’t mean she couldn’t do heroic things. She surprised herself, Roland and this reader with some of the things she was willing to do. I adored her character because of it. Sarah’s character embodied a warm loving feeling that permeated everything she said and did.

Roland is a man as far removed from warm loving anything as he can get. He doesn’t trust at all and I slowly found out just how valid his reasons were whenever he opened up to Sarah. How gruesome and sad and utterly despicable were the things done to him. He was a man who initially trusted and believed and even loved but over time his heart got bruised one too many times. He’s the kind of tortured hero romance readers love to see get saved. I know I did. I so enjoyed how, bit by bit, his shell cracked and he shared more of himself with Sarah. The romantic in me thrilled to his care and sensual doings with Sarah; they were everything I could want in a romance book.

I know I mentioned the dialogue as something I liked and it’s true. There were excellent secondary characters sprinkled throughout this book that made me sit up and take notice. The way they all communicated with each other with their various means was fascinating. I loved how they teased Roland. I liked how the dialogue helped flesh out their roles in the book and how they were like a family to each other. I even liked the way Ms. Duvall described each character as though I would meet them again someday and I have to tell you, I’ll be looking forward to it. Seth is that mysterious man at the top who can do things no one else can and yet he still can make a mistake. That made me like his character. Marcus is a hoot and I think David is more of a mystery to me then Seth is. Then there is this mystery woman who I think is going to be another story arc because of how she was introduced and what was discovered towards the end.

Ms. Duvall has me in her power. I simply have to know what is going to happen next and how she’s going to impact the characters I’ve come to know through the course of Darkness Dawns. I loved the action and the mystery of the villain. In fact, the villain is a surprise. I mean, what could have been a book all about blood and gore, although there is a bit of that Ms. Duvall has instead written a book full of optimism in the face of adversity. I was all set to despise the evil Bastien. The author had other plans. Instead there’s the question of what is truly the real nemesis and what might it have to do with the mysterious lady? Oh and then there was the really shocking revelation about Marcus. That was so cool! What is Ms. Duvall going to do with that story thread? I mean, how is she going to explain that? I can’t wait to find out.

Darkness Dawns kept me reading every chance I could until I got to the happily ever after because every time I came to the end of a chapter, there was something more exciting just around the corner. Oh, and I have to share that I simply burst into giggles with Roland’s reaction about Sarah’s flu. Just the way Ms. Duvall wrote that whole part of the chapter had me snorting with hilarity and melting into a sappy pile of happy goo. I absolutely adored this story and I was entertained and thrilled all the way through. I think this story rocks and I can’t wait to find out which guardian immortal is going to get his happily ever after next. This book has a great concept and the author has a story telling voice that I completely enjoyed.

Darkness Dawns gets a Best Book from me because the strength of writing is just that good. I want more.