Review: Dawned

Dawned by Michelle Areaux

DISCLAIMER: I came by this book through Facebook. It was getting ready for publication, and the author was looking for Advanced Review Copy (ARC) readers. I volunteered and received a free ebook copy through the website: Booksprout. Please note that the free ARC book wasn’t the finalized version (though it should’ve been), which means the book went through further revision after I read and reviewed it.

Dawned cover

2 stars – it was okay

This book was published on January 6, though I was required to finish it by February 10. Reading the description, I was promised a mix of Twilight and Lucifer, so I decided to give it a shot. (No starting date due to nature of the read.)

Finished on February 9, 2022.

Everything You’re Expecting in a Vampire Romance

Harlow Parker and Declan Quinn are the main characters of this adventure involving vampires, angels, witches, and werewolves. Harlow is just a regular human in high school, an orphan, throwing herself into her studies and wanting to get away from her life and start anew—though that changes when she meets Declan, a loner with a dark past. Declan is a vampire hybrid with one goal—to die—but something about Harlow calls to him. She seems to be the key to something much greater than herself.

I’m not an expert on vampire stories by any means. If you read my recent blog post Vampires in Fiction, you’ll know that the only exposure I’ve had to this kind of story by any means is through Vampire Diaries, the TV show, and more recently The Mortal Instruments series. Still, I can see how this is a genre book, meaning that certain things are meant to happen, like how musicals have songs, cowboy stories have the showdown and the lone ranger, and pirate stories have at least one person boarding a ship.

This story is very much a heterosexual vampire romance. Boy meets girl; they fall in love; she’s in danger by supernatural forces. I don’t mind a bit of cliché. For me, though, there is a threshold when the clichés become too much. I find stories much more enjoyable when the author takes a cliché and twists it a bit to make it unique, and while the author does so with a few things in this story, it strayed less from them than I would’ve liked.

I found the characters fairly one-dimensional, and at times their motivations seemed to flip based on what the story needed from them. When they were first introduced, assumptions can be made about their personalities, but later on, they’d make a choice that counteracts those notions. There was little description of the people beyond “handsome” “beautiful” or “runway gorgeous”, and there were times when I found it hard to follow the natural flow of the story. I would’ve liked to see a more diverse cast, so to speak, and for their personalities to be explored and picked apart. I also would’ve liked there to be a bit more mystery concerning the supernatural elements, as they were stated outright within the story, and constating to that point, I’d like more clarity on their supernatural powers. I think I’d have enjoyed it better if the powers were explored rather than given to the reader as fact in character monologues.

The story itself reminds me of The Vampire Diaries, from which I can draw parallels between many of the characters. I don’t see much of Lucifer beyond the fact that angels exist in the story, but I liked that there was no love triangle—simply a relationship blossoming between two people.

In summation, I enjoy the idea of this novel. Each chapter left me motivated to keep reading, and despite the technical errors in the work, the writing style is quite solid.

As a final note, I will say that there were many technical errors in the story as a whole, which may or may not have been fixed in further edits—I don’t know. The copy I read was definitely not ready for publication, and I only say this because the ARC is supposed to be that final version (since it’s the copy you’re asking people to write a review with). I also say this because as both an author and editor, there were elements of the story and plot that felt lacklustre to me, though other people may not mind it.

I’d recommend this book to people who read the typical Vampire Romance genre books.

[I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.]

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