Dawnbreaker by Jocelynn Drake

This review is for an ARC I received from EOS books

The Premise:
This is the third Dark Days novel, narrated by Mira, a 600 year old vampire, known as the Fire Starter, the only nightwalker (aka vampire) with the power over fire. Mira is in the middle of a war between the nightwalkers and the naturi, a race of beings who think that all humans and nightwalkers should be eliminated to cleanse the earth. Mira’s fight with the naturi has traversed the globe, from her home in Savannah, to London, to Venice and back. Now things have progressed so that the naturi are about to break free out of the seal keeping most of them out of the world, but Mira is hellbent on stopping them.

My reviews:
Book 1: Nightwalker (livejournal, wordpress)
Book 2: Dayhunter (livejournal, wordpress)

Browse inside Dawnbreaker

**** There are minor spoilers for the past books from this point on ****

My Thoughts: I had very similar thoughts about this book as I did for the previous two, except I would say that this book has even more action. Dawnbreaker is like one of those blockbuster movies with plenty of fights and pyrotechnics (which makes for a quick read whenever I picked it up). The book starts off where Daywalker left off, with naturi pursuing Mira while she tries to stop them from breaking the seal that keeps most of their kind from returning to the world. By Mira’s side are several people who we’ve been introduced to in the past couple of books. There’s a lot of characters to keep track of, but I had no issues remembering who they were because of quick summaries of who is who exactly when I needed it. All of these people are under Mira’s protection and she takes her job very seriously, but the bombardment from the naturi means Mira is a busy woman.

One of the people surrounding Mira is the vampire hunter Danaus who over the past couple of books has become something of a friend. Their relationship is an odd one. They have to work with each other because only Danaus is able to expand Mira’s abilities, but they are natural enemies. This book is very much an urban fantasy because there is almost no romance, but there are hints that Danaus and Mira feel more for each other than they are willing to admit. These hints were *very* few and far between, and are about equal in number to the comments that one day Mira and Danaus will kill each other.  They both seem able to understand one another in times of trouble, but Mira and Danaus have seen each other do things they didn’t approve of. In any case, because this book was focused on the race to stop the naturi from re-entering the world, there was less time to delve into relationships as deeply as they were in previous books. Much of the interesting interactions happened in the last quarter of Dawnbreaker. I don’t doubt we’ll see more of that to come, both between Mira and Danaus, and between Mira and others, including the vampire Coven leaders, whose long term plans are hard to guess, and Mira’s new vampire family. This book leaves us with some problems solved and other problems appearing (Mira’s seat on the Coven, Danaus’ identity, The Great Awakening). I can’t wait to see how Mira and Danaus tackle them!

My family used to live there, so I have a very small nit about the Peruvian weather: Peru isn’t far from the equator and the change of seasons is quite mild, so the description of the winter winds and seasons being the opposite of North America’s isn’t accurate. I’d say Cusco is only colder because of the altitude and there really is only a dry season and a rainy season, not four seasons.

Overall: Ramps up the non-stop action which is found in the first two books. This book continues with the same dark, Gothic undertones and epic scope. I love the complex relationships between characters which is sparingly doled out here, but I have no doubt they will come to the forefront again soon enough. There are a couple of juicy issues left for Mira and Danaus to tackle after this book, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Buy: Amazon | B&N

Links and other reviews:
Jess’s Book reviews as a interview and contest for Dawnbreaker that ends 10/5 (this is awesome because it comes with a picture of how Drake imagines Danaus)
Interview at SciFiGuy (I was interested to find out about a preview novella in the Unbound anthology, and that the next books will be called Pray for Dawn and Wait for Dusk)

Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake

This is the second book in the Dark Days series by Jocelynn Drake. I reviewed the first book, Nightwalker, here (link is to livejournal).

The Premise: 600 year old nightwalker (aka vampire) Mira is the narrator in this series who is the only nightwalker to ever exist with the ability to control fire. She and other supernatural creatures (who humans are unaware of), have been fighting an epic battle against the return of the naturi, a race of powerful beings who believe humans, nightwalkers and everyone else should be exterminated from the planet. 500 years ago Mira was used to create a seal to keep the naturi out, but there are some naturi still around trying to bring their comrades back.

*** Minor spoilers for book 1 from this point on ***

My thoughts: One of the people Mira is fighting alongside is a vampire hunter named Danaus who isn’t quite human. I find myself following the series to find out how their relationship plays out. From enemies in the first book to an unusual friendship in this one, I feel that there are hints of possibly more. The two keep referring to their promise to kill each other once the situation with the naturi is over but bah, I don’t believe it! They work well together and an odd symbiosis means they are both in tune with the other’s thoughts and powers. The reason for that is revealed when we get some of Danaus’ back story along with some more of Mira’s, and their compatibility makes me believe they won’t be going back to hunter and prey later on.

Dayhunter is set mostly in Venice, which is the location of the Coven, the most powerful vampires that rule over the rest. From what the reader sees of them, these creatures are mostly involved with power games where the strong cruelly manipulate the weak in order to make points and further their own agendas. Sadira, Mira’s maker, and the three on the Council, Jaburi, Elizabeth, and Macaire are all equally uncaring of who they have to use for their own purposes.

There’s a lot of unlikeable other characters in this book who Mira deals with, but I found that Mira herself uses her powers to make her own points. So there is some moral ambiguity, although Mira’s reasons are more heroic than villainous, and she has Danaus to stop her from going too far down a path she may regret. Mira and Danaus are quite similar in wanting to do the right thing and I found their conversations about their fundamental conflict as vampire and vampire-hunter revealing. Danaus in particular is conflicted now that he’s met Mira, and it is telling how little he actually knows. In this book we get a little bit more about Danaus’ motivations, and he’s on the page a lot, but his character still feels mysterious.

The book has some dark, dramatic overtones.  I just saw a bit of Francis Ford Coppola’s version of “Dracula” (the one with Gary Oldman in it) on TV the other day. The atmosphere of that movie could work with this book, but add to that plenty of non-stop action. At least Mira and Danaus get to sleep, but one day seems to follow another with more problems and very little time to stop things from unravelling.

Overall: Fast-paced, steeped in vampire politics and intrigue, everyone with their own agenda, and Mira in the thick of it trying to stay alive and protect her friends. If you like a book with courtly intricacies and manipulations, this one has quite a bit of that going on. The writing style has a dark, Gothic feel to it, every so often an elaborate turn of phrase would sneak in.  The voice may not be for everyone, but I associated it with Mira, a 600 year old vampire being the main character, and it seemed to fit her well.

The next book, Dawnbreaker comes out this September.


Other reviews:

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My first giveaway!

It's eight days to my wedding – which is on 08/08/08. To make everyone participate in the mix of anticipation and dread (haha), I've decided to have a giveaway. If things go well with this, I'm probably going to continue. I've given books to people before, just not in any kind of contest, but I enjoy entering other people's giveaways, so let's spread the fun.


1. $20 dollar e-certificate to Barnes and Noble (I figure this makes things a bit easier for non-US participants)

2. Your choice of a paperback book from one of the authors in the list below. It has to be currently in print (you can ask for Wanderlust too, just expect to wait a bit until it comes out in order to get it). 

Some authors in urban fantasy/futuristic/space opera that tickle me

Linnea Sinclair

Wen Spencer

Ann Aguirre

Ilona Andrews

Patricia Briggs

Eve Kenin

Michelle Sagara

Jocelynn Drake

What you have to do

Just comment with your name here on vox or on my LJ (janicu.livejournal.com) by midnight EST on 08/08/08. Anyone on the planet who amazon/bn ships to can enter. If you spread the word and post a link of where you spread the word, you get two entries in this contest (cause – this blog has um… about 5 readers).

I'll probably be recovering from the wedding so likely won't pick winners till 8/11/08. I'll try to be earlier. We'll see how it goes.

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Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

I got this ARC of Nightwalker from EOS Books just last week and I already finished it. I love long weekends.

The book came in unbound manuscript format so I walked over to Kinko's to bind it after I finished reading it. This was a trial. It was $2.66 to bind (cheap), but I had to deal with some VERY grumpy Kinko employees! This skinny european dude with a french or russian accent was annoyed that the machine wasn't warmed up yet and kept telling me: 'You have to wait 10 minutes, OK'?! He repeated this 3 times, even though I was telling him that's fine, I can wait. Why was he so upset? I'll never know. I swear I did nothing to provoke this. Meanwhile another girl was bitching at a customer and he was laughing nervously and turning around to look at me, but I kept a completely blank face – not joining in on conversations with crazy people.

On to the review.


Nightwalker is a debut novel by Jocelynn Drake, and the first book of the Dark Days series. This urban fantasy has vampires, or nightwalkers as they call themselves, as the main supernatural creature. Our protagonist Mira is an over 600 year old nightwalker, not a newbie to the scene, the guardian of the city of Savannah, with the special ability with fire that no other nightwalker has. Although the descriptions of scenery sometimes tends towards dramatic metaphor, the book has a great, suck-the-reader-in beginning, and the action just keeps coming. I felt like the book shines during the action, and there is a lot of action here. At the start of the book Mira is following a vampire hunter who has been killing off some of the younger vampires in her domain, but that doesn't seem to be the whole story. After facing and fighting Danaus, the hunter, she learns about the possible return of the naturi, creatures the nightwalkers banished from the world about 500 years ago in a face off that still gives Mira nightmares. The naturi are a race of beings described as the root of myths about elves and pixies, but much darker and bent on exterminating both humans and nightwalkers. Danaus and Mira have an uneasy alliance as they work together towards fighting the naturi. Both are bent on killing the other once this task is done.

This is an urban fantasy and most of the focus is on action, so there is a lot of fighting and swordplay; but there is also an underlying something between the two main characters. This relationship seems to be the slowly-growing kind because they are natural enemies, with Danaus believing all nightwalkers are evil and kill humans despite what Mira says. There are also beyond just professional shades in the relationship between Mira and her two human bodyguards (who protect her during daylight hours). So some interesting interactions going on between all the fighting, but still I would say although there is sex, there is no romance. At least in book one.

The main focus is on the problem of the naturi, but there is some emphasis on the mystery of Mira's powers, on what Darius really is, and Mira's place amongst the older, more powerful vampires who oversee all their kind. Mira has an old child-like relationship with a couple of them, Jabari and Sadira, where Mira goes back and forth between being an estranged, rebeling daughter, to running to them for comfort and help. I wasn't sure what to make of it since she's supposed to be 600 years old and is Keeper of her own city, but the other vampires are older than that by hundreds more. Theirs is not a human viewpoint of time, and not a human relationship. I felt like the older nightwalkers had hundreds of year old mechanisms going on which involved Mira and I need to find out what that is about. I hope more is revealed.

I found the book quite a page turner and I expect it to do very well. There are a lot of interesting characters and factions involved with the story, plus some dark creatures to battle, so I think the author has plenty more to write about. The book was enjoyable and I'm looking forward to the rest.  

This book comes out July 29th, 2008.

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