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.
©2011 Dianne Duvall (P)2011 Tantor
"This is a strong start in what looks to be a thrilling and chilling new paranormal series. Fantastic!" (Romantic Times)
But please don't shove your views down my throat. Smack in the middle of my favorite genre I find Vampires (check), a heroine (check), a bit of action (check), a bit of romance (check), a bit of eat healthy and exercise (what????). For pete's sake, it threaded through the WHOLE story. I don't read escape literature to be reminded of real life. UGH
Loved this book. After looking for something similar to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Midnight Breed, or basically what I now found to be called “paranormal romance” I settled upon the Immortal Guardian Series. This book is intelligently written with a strong female character, Sarah, discovering her knight in shining armor or rather her knight in a tanned ripped body, Roland. Normally, I listen while commuting but I could not set down the iPod and go back to normal life. I went looking for medial tasks so I could listen to more. Well now the house is sparkling and I have completed one of the most breathtaking audible books.
The world the author builds at first seems interesting and it is a different take on vampirism. Though this different interpretation quickly shows itself to be severely flawed.
Main premise of the world: vampires are all bad and give in to blood lust -- the immortal guardians protect "innocent" humans from the vampires.
The 'altruistic guardians' and 'evil vampires' are flimsy, predictable (and not in a good way) and completely unbelievable. (The guardians even all look alike -- black hair and brown eyes -- how boring!)
The author has the guardians and vampires only killing "bad" humans. (There must be a lot of pedophiles in this author's world. I myself have never known one, but they seem to be ubiquitous and abundant in this book. Whenever someone needs to feed, there just happens to be a pedophile nearby. So convenient.)
The book has numerous plot holes. This is not surprising for a new author, but can be distracting nonetheless. ie - in the opening scene, the heroine rescues the hero then takes him to her house just a hundred yards away. She left the "bad guys" knocked out just outside. The hero and heroine promptly fall asleep in her house and stay there all day. Now, wouldn't any half intelligent person think that the "bad guys" might follow the copious trail of blood they left leading to her house?! This possibility wasn't even mentioned, let alone explained why the most logical thing didn't happen. There is another major plot hole at the end, but it would be a spoiler so I won't detail it.
The final irritation -- and main reason why I won't read more by this author -- is her preachy attitude. From the opening scene to the closing scene, she constantly preaches about organic food and cleaners. If you don't believe in these things (which I happen to support, but don't appreciate lectures about) then you will be made to feel like a bad human deserving of being food for a vampire.
The author also seems to be very sure of herself in claiming innocence or sin in a person. Most of her protagonists can tell just by looking at someone if they are "innocent."
Well...there is no such thing as "innocence" and the author acting as jury, judge and executioner, through her characters, is highly annoying.
There are several references to the christian bible -- as if the bible really is true in this paranormal world and even predicted the alien guardians. (That was creepy.)
Every time I read a new author that disappoints me, I tell myself I won't do that again, but that never sticks and a few weeks later...there I am reading another new author. So, this time, I won't bother saying it. I guess I'd never be delighted by a new author if I didn't keep trying.
This author might do it for some, but not for me. Hope this review helps you. Happy reading!
I am Who I am; and you are Who you are...so lets leave it at that.
This book is not unique in its theme on good vs bad vamps....if you have read books from authors like Christine Feehan and Lynsay Sands you will find a lot similarities but the story is so entertaining that you will forget all about the other authors series. The book is so well written and I think the narrator did a really good job. I like how the author sets you up for her next book and maybe even for the entire series. She gives just enough of taste that you will look up when the next one is coming out. (Dec 2011;) The other thing that I like is the whole story was not always about the main characters. This book is a romance with steamy sex scenes. So if your not into that look else where. Also folks who do not want to get involved in a series that will probably be going for a well just like the previous authors mention then also look else where because this book leaves you with a lot of unansweres question. There is also a lot of fight scence which I personally like. Action. Hot men. Sexy romance. Good vs Evil. Good narrator. Makes for fun listening....hope you likey:)
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Better characters, better dialog, better writing, less lecturing, no "Mary Sue"...
My Take on Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall
- The dialog was awful and had me rolling my eyes every other minute.
- The main characters so flat and one dimensional that I almost felt embarrassed at the silly things they said or the boring action - seriously how long can a writer go on about prepping an organic salad, the importance of eating organic, being eco-friendly, recycling? Way too long!
- I felt like the author had an agenda with the organic, eco-friendly lecturing.
- The main female character was a complete and total "Mary Sue" so undeveloped and "ideal" it was almost sickening.
- The narrator was good but her accents were not the same as how the accents were described. If the accents had not been described as, "Egyptian, British, ...etc then there wouldn't have been a problem but because they were described in the book it was something that continued to bother me.
- The lists. Every so often the characters just start listing things...for example when the main female is thinking about her reasons for having sex with Roland she just starts stating the reasons why (even though early on we were told she is a good girl that has only had two sexual relationships that were both based on love and she doesn't approve of sex outside of relationships) that she can have sex with a man she has known for about 24 hours. This particular list was so long that I found I had tuned out the book...when I tuned back in the list still wasn't finished!
- The sex scenes. In my experience there are a large number of books that although the story or characters are flat...the sex scenes just sizzle. This was NOT the case. Instead it was a case of - Sara does _______ . Roland does ________. Sara does _______ . Roland does ________. Seriously it sounded more like stage direction than a sex scene.
- So bad I sat down and wrote my first audible review.
- I do not have a lot of extra money for audible books and I feel like I have wasted one of my (very precious) credits on this book.
- I may end up finishing this book some day...but I can not listen to it for any length of time before I have to just turn it off.
- The book started out very good - the action drew me in immediately and I was very interested in the characters - until I actually started to "get to know" them - Later though I felt like I was dying a little bit inside with each chapter after the pizza making incident (very early on) - after the later salad making I really started rolling my eyes. (If you still get this book after reading this review - you will see exactly what I mean.)
- The narrator - she took a badly written, boring story and did the best she could with it. She did a good job with the different voices (although the accents didn't seem quite right) and it was easy to tell the different characters apart.
- For a while I had entertained the thought that when the author was going off on an "organic" tangent it was actually "in character." It was jarring to me but I thought that perhaps it was in character for Sara to notice, point out, and/or use organic, eco-friendly products at every turn or to lecture on the use of cell-phones, about eating non-organic foods or why eating meat and shell-fish is gross etc etc... but eventually I gave up on the hope that this was in character and just became annoyed. On a side note - I personally do what I can to recycle, use good (earth friendly) products, and feed my family healthy food so that isn't the aspect that is bothering me.
- There were some interesting ideas in the story and I do want to find out more about how these ideas develop.
How Good: Not good enough to overcome the bad. I will eventually finish this book because I always run out of credits and material to listen to long before my next installment. I am interested enough in the new ideas about vampires and immortals to want to know a little more but can only listen in small bite-sized chunks...anything more leaves me gagging.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Not really! Although I guess that some of the ideas behind "vampires" and other "immortals" seem interesting and it was nice that the female lead wasn't all "kick a$$" (although funny enough there was an eye rolling moment when I found out she is an expert with a gun.) I still wish I hadn't wasted a credit on this book.
Any additional comments?
I know there are a lot of high reviews for this book, this author, and this series and so I worry that it is just me who doesn't like this book. At the same time I haven't listened to a book this bad in a very long time so I really have to wonder at all the four and five star reviews.
Definitely! It was entertaining, leads into an ongoing series, and breaks the mold while keeping with certain traditions.
* This review stands for the entire "Immortal Guardians" series. *
Some have compared this author to Christine Feehan and her works. I'll use that. I'd rather contrast them, however. I've read a handful from the latter author, and, although good, every story there is repetitive (copious amounts of adult scenes are, by actual intent, more lust driven than romantically driven - especially in the beginning when the couples, who rarely know each other beforehand, meet up and hook up for life) and formulaic. They barely build upon one another. The most I've noticed is one character linking to another between novels, and the backstory is just repeated in each book (no real continuation of a plot).
In Dianne Duvall's novels (so far), there is a concentration on the individual couples, but there is also a SOLID backstory that is built upon in subsequent stories. In that regard, I would compare these to Nalini Singh's "Psy Changeling" series come to think of it... Anyway, the characters form a rich narrative tapestry in the context of a series. The steamy love scenes are great, and they don't happen without a relationship of substance between the characters. I'm not saying a lot of time passes, but it is believable that they have a bond in my opinion despite the short time-frame.
All narrators fit into one of two categories for me: Good or Bad. Simple. Ms. Potter's performance was "good" in my opinion ; it did not detract from the story. That's all I ask!
I loved the first scene enough to listen to it more than once. It reminded me of the first part of the first episode of "True Blood," when Sookie rescued Bill. When the petite woman is really a hero, it's a nice change of pace - especially for the knight in distress. Role reversal. :)
I laughed at a few points. The couple was engaging in certain activities when a friend stopped by. The atmosphere was just funny to me.
Some people don't seem to care for the "vampires'" dietary preferences or the heroine's use of guns. I think these are of little concern. It's a novel - not a political debate.
This is a twist on an old tale. Vampires aren't what you think (perhaps a true comparison to Feehan's work on that count, but in a very different way). The rules for uniting a couple aren't what you'd expect. There's definitely a paranormal element, but it's scientifically based - logical. There are plenty of secrets to be revealed at the end of each book, but each also ends on a satisfactory note.
"Darkness Dawns" is excellent in my opinion, but it takes an all-time favorite to get 5-stars across the board. I'd rate 4.5 if possible. REMEMBER: Debut novel. Give it a try, and let the author grow along with your understanding of the story she has to tell. I definitely think the series just gets better, and I liked it a great deal to start! Hope this helps.
I had high hopes for this book, but there is something that rubs me the wrong way about the story. The politically correct, vegan, prius driving vampires just lack the intrigue that drives me to read/listen to that genre of book. The discussions about Tofurky, organic cheese and benefits of not putting processed foods in your body were totally off-putting. I want male heroes to be manly men and not worried about "is that organic goat cheese on that pizza?" Okay, I get that the author believes in this lifestyle, but really? Sorry, even if 100 authors write books with the bad guys driving prius', I'm not ever going to believe that isn't totally lame.
I spin my own wool and knit. Listening to audiobooks while I craft is one of my favorite things. I'm hooked.
This looks like it will be a great new series for those who like romantic fantasy on the steamy side. Admittedly, there are some marked resemblances to other books in this sub genre. I noticed similarities to the work of S. Kenyon, L. Sands, and C. Feehan. I'm rating this book, however, on it's own merit. Not everyone will have read those other authors' series before reading this one.
The book is well paced, with steamy romance scenes. It is not material suitable for young teens, in my opinioin. What I really enjoyed in this book was how well the action scenes flowed. Fight scenes have a way of losing my interest, but these were written and read in such a way as to keep me involved.
The narrator did a fine job overall, although her male voices were on the weak side. I only gave her 4 stars because while it's only one thing, given that most of the characters in this book are male, it's an important flaw in the narration.
For me, the true sign of a book's worth is how it makes me feel when I finished. If a book in a series ends with a "cliffhanger", I feel unsatisfied. If a book ends on a bad note, I feel cheated. This book finished it's story beautifully and completely. Oh, there's a teaser to inspire you to continue reading the series, but the main story between the focal couple ended in a satisfying way. Well done!
The best way to read.
Good characters, good story, bad narrator. Roland is supposed to be a beefcake, throwback, vampire-like, sexy guy, but has a brittle, grating and small voice. Bummer. It would have been fabulous with a male narrator. Otherwise was a good book. Might read the rest of the series via actaul book.
Not very original, not the greatest writing, but a good narrator. The author does what so many romance authors do and make the two main characters fall in love right away without the reader getting a sense of the characters and why they would fall for each other. The author races right to the physical relationship and sacrafices character development. I won't read any other books in this series and don't recommend it.
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