Nearly a century ago, humans and vampires lived together peacefully, even amidst the religious prophesying that their integration would most certainly bring about Armageddon one day. When a great plague swept across the globe and decimated nearly all the world’s population, it appeared the prophets were right and the vampires were indeed a scourge, and the resulting demise of the human race. It’s now the year 2105, vampires and humans are once again predator and prey, but within the dystopian landscape of what had once been France, one civilized community still exists among the ruins, Rachat, a stronghold in which an army of young men and women with supernatural abilities become lethal weapons in the fight against the vampiric enemy.
Mikhail Hart and Ashley White are two newly minted soldiers in the Silver Dawn Battalion, two young men with powers that give them an advantage in this war against the undead. They, along with their preternatural comrades, have been spoon-fed from the propaganda vessel, taught to believe that the course of their history was directed and dictated by the nightdwellers who have the power to control their thoughts and feed on them like human cattle. But the truth is that the truth is still out there waiting to be discovered. And when Mik gets a little too close to those truths, life as he knows it becomes something more like a small corner of hell, where the devil he knows is every bit as dangerous and the devil he doesn’t, and some of the worst lies are the lies he tells himself, for those are the lies that convince him the one person in the world he loves is lost to him forever.
The battle lines are drawn, and Mik has chosen sides. It’s the invisible line of warring ideology that has separated him from Ash, and now they’re on opposing ends of the personal and political agenda that has sprung from the deception and manipulation of the puppet regime. It is the fine line they both toe but cannot cross until they learn to trust that their love is the most powerful weapon they have in this battle between good and evil, and that survival can mean the difference between living or merely existing.
If you’ve read any small amount of paranormal fantasy over the past few years, you might feel, like me, that vampires have been done to death. After reading everything from Bram Stoker’s original to those of the sparkling variety, I feel like I’ve seen every possible permutation of the bloodsucker theme in between, but I have to say I was very pleased with Dawn of the Darkness, Daniel A. Kaine’s self-published debut. Mr. Kaine’s vampires are a mixed bag of daywalkers, nightdwellers, those who have striven to hang on to a bit of their humanity and to prove they’re not all the soulless monsters they’ve been made out to be, as well as those who are very much the monsters vampires have always been. There’s no attempt to bend or break the roles and rules, no sensationalizing for the sake of introducing something different. These vamps are sometimes horrific, sometimes entirely humane, and I liked the contrasts.
This novel is introspective speculative fiction, a blend of horror and young adult romance. It’s a story of betrayal and of healing and forgiveness, at once altogether gory, then utterly poignant in its portrayal of the broken pasts that have shaped who Mik and Ash have become. Though the going was a bit slow at times, and there were some rough edges to this gem, I was thoroughly invested in the journey and am looking forward to its continuation in Origin of Darkness, book #2 in the Daeva series.
Daniel A. Kaine is a GayRomLit participating author. Find out a bit more about Daniel HERE.
Buy Dawn of Darkness HERE.