Dark Side of Dawn
Dark Side of Dawn was very enjoyable; much more fun to read than I expected. The heroine is simply impossible to dislike, pop-culture obsession and all.
Dawn Riley is a Nightmare, guardian of the barrier between the Dreaming and the real world. She was assigned this night job because she is the half-human daughter of Morpheus, the god of dreams. In the previous book in the series, she had to bring her love interest Noah Clarke into the Dreaming to save his life. Too bad she didn’t know she broke one of the cardinal rules of the Dream Realm, and now she has been served a summons by the Nightmare Council. She does a semi-effective job in arguing her case, and is placed under strict observation until they can decide whether or not she is a true threat to their world.
Dawn continues to get threats of being “unmade” by the dream world, and she figures out that the leader of the Anti-Dawn club is a woman called the Warden, who seems to have a personal vendetta against her. Dawn has no idea why the Warden hates her so much, but all she knows is that the Warden is willing to play dirty to get Dawn in trouble, including invading Noah’s dreams and manipulating people to suit her whims.
Meanwhile, her career and relationship with Noah are progressing well, until she gets a call from Noah saying that his ex-wife Amanda was just raped. Because Dawn is a past victim of rape, Noah hopes she can guide Amanda through her pain. Dawn is sincerely glad to help, although she can’t help but wonder if her boyfriend’s unfortunately powerful knight-in-shining-armor complex runs too deeply to allow him to be fully committed in their budding relationship.
Not having read the first book in the series, I was a little relieved to find heavy recaps and explanation in the first few chapters. I could see, however, that this massive recap fest would be overkill for followers of the series.
The first person narrative is a little awkward at first, but it eventually smooths out. Because we are firmly in Dawn’s head, we also have to sit through her excited spazzing and her repetitive descriptions of Noah: “A man of few words is my Noah.” All this notwithstanding, I liked Dawn very much. Her spazzy behavior dies down as the story progresses, and her levelheaded manner and self-deprecating sense of humor make her pretty lovable. Dawn’s forays into the Dream Realm and her experimentation with helping people through their dreams is an interesting concept, and one I haven’t come across in paranormal romance. She’s a truly good person, and I found myself admiring her attempts to alleviate others’ pain, sometimes at high cost to herself.
Noah is unflappably patient, totally understanding, and too damn perfect to be real. He can be woken at all times of the night with nary a growl in sight. He might not sound like an entirely real man to me, but I liked his role as a real source of support, and I gave him kudos for not being the type of wishy-washy man to play with a girl’s heart. The end of the book insinuates his much larger role in the grander scheme of Dawn’s position as a Nightmare, and I am definitely interested to see how it progresses.
I have a few little quibbles with the story. There is product placement throughout the book; I suppose this is an attempt to make the book “current” by mentioning brands, but I usually find that this kind of name dropping to be more irritating than “ooh, she’s so in style!” Also, besides Dawn’s scheduled exercises with Verek, her Dream Realm trainer, I’m not entirely sure what her job as Nightmare entails. She’s training, but I don’t know what for. My last quibble, and perhaps the largest one, is that because we are seeing everything from Dawn’s POV, the love scenes border on TMI. In fact, I know that they are too much information. They are pretty graphic, and some left me cringing in their detail and feeling very much like a voyeur. I found myself reading those scenes distantly, practically skimming them over.
Dark Side of Dawn was a fun read. The plot is interesting, the action was enough to satisfy but not tedious, and I was left very curious by the ending. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the next one.