Review: Against The Dawn by Amanda Bonilla

19548279Against The Dawn (Shaede Assassin #4) by Amanda Bonilla
Urban Fantasy
E Book, 271 pages
May 20, 2014
NYLA

Reviewed by Tori

 

**Slight spoilers from books two and three**

In Crave The Darkness (book three) Darian pays a harsh price for her actions in Blood Before Sunrise (book 2) when her Jinn lover and boss, Tyler, walks away from their relationship after repeated warnings he cannot take her lack of self-preservation anymore. The blows keep coming as Darian has to deal with the legal ramifications of her actions and her job of keeping a fellow Shaede and her unborn child alive puts her own life in danger and the results are tragic.

Against the Dawn picks up where Crave the Darkness left off and once again submerges us into the dark and dangerous world that Darian lives in. Seattle is a seething pit of powerful supernaturals and heading towards a war that may destroy them all. Action packed with intrigue, suspense, and a healthy dose of love, anguish, and betrayal, Bonilla answers some much need questions while setting up the storyline to take a turn that will leave readers stunned by her audacity. *smile*

Darian suffered unimaginable horrors at the hands of Kade and left to spend some time healing with Rafe’s daughter in O Anel. After three weeks (six months human time) passed, she came back to Seattle only to find Xander’s kingdom in shambles and him fighting for his crown. Xander still wants Darian as his queen but Darian is in a place right now where her vulnerability is at it’s highest and she is only hanging on by a thin fragile thread. Darian decides work is her best bet for not dealing with her issues and contacts Tyler for an assignment. This brings Darian face to face with someone who by all accounts should be dead. As Darian works her assignment, she learns that once again she is only a small part of a larger picture, an expendable part, and destiny has an interesting way of reasserting itself when you least expect it.

Bonilla has accomplished so much in this noir world she has built. Ever changing and expanding, we have seen our heroine grow right along with this world, though her own past and stubbornness has caused her much grief during this learning process. The appeal for me of this series is the flawed characters Bonilla has created. We aren’t inundated with perfect men and women who swoop in and save the day. These are people with problems. They make the wrong choices and pay a heavy price for them. They are at times selfish, blind, and often hurt those they love the most. Darian is probably the most complex of them all. Her past has left her heavily scarred with severe trust issues. She wants what every person wants deep inside the place where no one can see-she wants to be loved. Yet at the same time, the thought of being loved scares her to death. She struggles with the thought of having that much responsibility/power and her previous actions cement that. She is the perfect UF heroine in my eyes-a will of steel with a deep vein of vulnerability. She doesn’t have unbeatable powers and will fail on occasion only to rise and fight again. She strives to do the right thing concerning everyone but has learned the hard way that sometimes losing is the only way you can win.

The love triangle is still in play but each installment seems to be edging us closer to a choice. I hate love triangles, especially long-term ones, but this one bothers less than most as I don’t feel that Darian is leading them on. She loves Tyler and has only recently understood just how much. Xander is more of an irritant. I honestly feel Darian made her choice but the decisions made at the end may change that.  The sexual tension between Darian and Tyler is still VERY hot and sensual and now that she has acknowledged what is in her heart, it becomes even more appealing. Bonilla does a fabulous job of blending the romance without making the story dependant on it.  After this book, I still find myself rooting for Tyler, even after his less than stellar decisions in Crave The Darkness.

Xander, the king of the Shaede nation is STILL a pain in Darian’s arse and she doesn’t hesitate to let him know that repeatedly. Though we know Darian cares for Xander, she is not in love with him and I don’t feel he is in love with her. I think his attraction is more based in the challenge. She does not bow willingly to his authority. She is a strong opinionated female that excites his more base natures. He wants to own her. Possess her. Bend her to his will. Xander per usual uses his power to try to force Darian’s hand but his actions towards the end has me wondering what exactly that man has up his sleeve.

A complicated secondary cast only heightens the excitement of this story. Raif remains a favorite character of mine. He is an important part of Darian’s life and I like that she has someone in her corner that wants nothing from her but her friendship and for her to be safe. I enjoyed Asher’s development and look forward to seeing more of him. Darian can’t have too many true friends in my book. Anya annoys me. That is all.  We meet some new characters and learn some information about old ones in here who further expand on the complicated world Darian lives in. I am very interested Kaii and seeing what Bonilla has in store. Tyler, of course, is my guy and I feel for him so much. Poor guy can never seem to catch a break.

This entire book is a speeding out of control roller coaster filled with twists and turns that will keep you clinging to your seat. The ending is a shocking cliffhanger that left me blinking in surprise as Lorick’s actions are fully exposed. The main conflict is resolved, but once again, Bonilla uses that to open another doorway, leaving us with unanswered questions and concerns. I look forward to the fifth book in this series-title and release date to be announced.

Overall Rating: B

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