When it comes to vampires or werewolves, for the most part we’ve read it all. Occasionally a writer comes out and throws you for a loop, making you fall in love with these creatures all over again. That’s how I feel about Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardian series. She takes an old legend and mixes it up with things you haven’t read before, making things fresh and new. I was lucky enough to be sent the second and third book of this series to review, and because I loved them so much I HAD to get the first book, Darkness Dawns. There were things I was anticipating, and her growth as a writer definitely shows with this book, but all in all, it was a great read.
In this dazzling, sensual novel, Dianne Duvall beckons readers into a world of vampires, immortals, and humans with extraordinary gifts…where passion can last forever, if you’re willing to pay the price…
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
By saying that her growth shows in Darkness Dawns, I simply mean that while her writing is really good and she was able to weave plot and sub plots together effortlessly, when compared to the rest of the series, everything is too perfect. Danger is there, but you learn it was misguided from the beginning; all seems perfect by the last page. Love is found, within a day or two, and everything works out like a fairytale. The Immortal Guardians are so skilled and strong, the vampires don’t even stand a chance. That kind of thing. This makes the tension short lived and you don’t worry about the characters and their happiness or their safety for very long. There was also one story told about time travel, but how this happened is never explained. It stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Darkness Dawns doesn’t feel as put together and plotted out as later books.
I love that The Immortal Guardians is one of those series (think J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood series, it’s very similar) that has many stories inside one book. However, with the massive sub plots that were chosen for Darkness Dawns, each book could almost stand alone. You have Roland and Sarah meeting, falling in love. Then there’s the bad guy, Sebastian and his hunt for Roland. And lastly, you have this mysterious woman, who is being tortured and studied by crazed scientists. More time is spent with Roland and Sarah. The storyline with Sebastian would have been neat to flesh out more. Same goes for the mystery woman. You know what is going on in a generalized, “here’s the facts ma’am”, kind of way and it’s almost painful you don’t get to see more of what is happening in these areas. The ending is wrapped up nicely with a cliff hanger so huge it’s like jumping off the Grand Canyon. Which is fine, dangle the hardback in front of me, I like that. But it was so big and wide open that it felt unfinished.
As far as the characters go, while I do like them, they were all so…for the lack of a better word…perfect. Sarah is very accepting of what Roland is, who is human but works out, can take care of herself, and is very sweet and kind. She’s like the definition of a heroine. I like her, I just wish she had some faults, you know? And Roland is refreshing in the sense that he’s not the typical crabby, butthole hero that the girl has to bring out of his shell. His only fault is he’s antisocial, and that doesn’t last long. Considering within a couple days these two are going at it like rabbits. For the most part, I liked everyone because they weren’t the typical brooding, sarcastic, or whiny main or minor characters that get thrown around a lot. But they didn’t have imperfections, though likeable, it made the characters a bit flat.
The good, within the clichéd bad, is the new spin on vampirism. It’s a virus, and in normal humans makes the person go insane; but for those with special markers in their DNA, the gifted ones, it turns them into powerful, ass kicking immortals. I absolutely LOVE this take on vampires. There’s also the fact that Duvall has a knack for weaving in multiple stories within one book. Her pacing is also really smooth and effortless; it’s never choppy or boring. Her characters always have just enough dark with just enough light so they aren’t boring. And my favorite so far about this series, is the way Duvall has set everything up, so that by book three, Phantom Shadows, some of the issues that you have in Darkness Dawns still haven’t been fixed. It gives this series more dimensions and more realism, characters are still growing, still getting used to one another, they are still fighting the bad guys who are after them, etc. I love love love that!
So while Darkness Dawns isn’t as strongly put together as later books in this series, I’m still a huge fan. Her writing is refreshing and entertaining. If you love J.R. Ward, or even Sherrilyn Kenyon, I am positive you will love Dianne Duvall’s Immortal series too.