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Book Review – Darkest Before Dawn by Pippa DaCosta

Received from author in return for an honest review

“It’s too late to save myself, but I’ll save her, even if it kills me.”

When Akil leaves a nine year old half-blood girl on Muse’s doorstep, it’s not long before the demons come hunting, but this time Muse isn’t the target. The Institute, Muse’s immortal brother, and the Princes of Hell, all want a piece of the little half-blood. What’s so special about Dawn, and why has Akil conveniently disappeared just as Muse needs answers?

To save the half-blood girl, Muse must first save herself, but is it already too late? Muse’s humanity is failing. Her demon hungers. The darkness coiled around her heart lures her toward madness. And all that stands between Muse and her demon’s lust for destruction, is the hope that some half-bloods do get happy endings.

The veil weakens. Titles will fall. A new Prince rises. And if Muse can’t stop them, the demons will have their day.

You literally feel like you have been thrown head first into this instalment of Muse’s story and this feeling is definitely what is intended. No time wasted on build up, just straight into fast paced action, no time to think or feel. Are you starting to get the gist of why I am such a fan of this series? From the start it has held its momentum up to almost super-sonic, you never get a chance to slow down and feel maybe even a little bored. Although, considering this is a story about demons I would expect no less.

Throughout the books Muse has developed a lot as a character, we’ve seen where she’s come from and watched her grow into herself. In this book it gets taken up a notch once again when Akil shows up on her doorstep with a half-blood child and little instruction about what she’s to do before he disappears. Muse (pretty naively) hopes that she can give this little girl a shot at a life that she missed out on. The storyline with these two reminds me of a parent so wanting their child to have everything they didn’t and it’s no different here for Muse, except instead of ballet lessons and fancy new bikes, we’re talking about the right to not being owned and abused and living to survive another day.

“Sometimes, there is no right thing. Sometimes wrong wins, and that’s okay. Life can’t be distilled down to right and wrong. It’s all about that messy gray area in between and how we deal with it….”

Really, if that was the only thing Muse had to concentrate on then she’d probably fly through any obstacle coming her way no problem. But she still has her ex-owners dark essence trying to suffocate her heart and soul, feeding on her every time things get out of control, she’s still in her love/hate relationship with the institute, a relationship that is definitely more hate than love at the moment, on top of that she’s got major demon problems and of course her two biggest conundrums of them all, Stefan and Akil…

Stefan is slipping away. There is so much unspoken between them, so much love and hate that it really feels like a lost cause. Stefan is not what he was, he can’t control his demon and he is so powerful that he could potentially turn out to be a far stronger player in the netherworld than anyone ever imagined. Meanwhile while we are getting to grips with Stefan’s darker demon side we are slowly peeling back the layers to see more of Akil’s ‘human’ side. The Prince of Greed does not love. The Prince of Greed is supposed to be completely and utterly selfish and indestructible…. So why then, are we seeing more hints that this character is SO much more than what Muse sees him as? The one scene of him in his Mammon form laying in his empty house completely heartbroken has to be one of my favourite scenes of his so far. I am absolutely 100% not ashamed to say that I am team Akil all of the way. I know that he’s an asshole, a demon with no humanity… But damn it! I kinda love him.

Jesus, he was unrefined, raw, and wild. I caught the gleam of the demon glaring back at me. Chaos caged. He wasn’t a man. That being inside him, simmering just below his trembling flesh, was an eternal demon-not of this world, not belonging to humanity in any way. He was unreal, so far beyond my naïve comprehension that I could no more hope to understand him than I could the workings of the universe.

These books are slowly getting darker and grittier. There were a few times in this book where I forced myself to read through it. Trying to reconcile that an innocent looking child and a terrifying demon are one and the same is not easy work for a human brain. I loved that this book made me feel like this because that is the reality of Muse’s world. The chaos around these storylines is confusing and perfect all at the same time. These books don’t drip in ‘happily ever afters’. Half-bloods don’t get that luxury so as readers we don’t either. Like I said, it’s perfect.

I made the mistake of reading the included excerpt of the next book… BIG mistake. HUGE. Because now I am dying of impatience to see where this story is going to go next. I need some relationship resolution. I need some institute resolution. I need I need I need!!! If anything after this book I have more questions rather than less of them. There is still so much further for Muse’s story to go and I have a feeling it’s going to be explosive.

 photo credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. via photopin cc