Before the Darkness (Darkness Shorts Book 1)

Rated 4.75/5 based on 8 reviews
When Daneeka is asked by her fairy queen to deliver a precious stone safely to another city, she is more than happy to help. Unfortunately, not everyone wants that stone to make it. Thank goodness her older brother's best friend and her long time fantasy --and apparently werewolf -- Jayer comes along to help. Now her only problem will be keeping her feelings and hands to herself.
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Words: 14,510
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465983077
About J. Dawn Light

There's not much to know about me personally. I'm extremely boring. But I'm completely in love with my life, so it works for me. I've been married for over 13 years now to a man that still gives me butterflies and I have 3 amazing children that are obviously the best children ever!

Writing wise, I'm all about the paranormal romance. Mostly adult, but have something in mind for a YA. We'll see how that goes.

I think in my advancing age, I've managed to contract adult ADD, so I have a really hard time reading something that doesn't keep me completely entertained, which is why I write the way I write. I'm not big on romanticizing the appearance of a wall or putting scenes in my books that don't either lend something to the romance of the two main characters, or the story in general. Unless it makes me laugh. I do a lot of stuff because it makes me laugh.

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Review by: KaraSkinner on Oct. 08, 2016 :
I'm a huge fan of fantasy romances. I obsessed over Fairytale by Maggie Shayne and I also fell in love with War Bride by Elise Marion. So I was more than a little curious about Before the Darkness, a free short on Smashwords. It has a five star average from seven reviews on Smashwords, and since it's a rarity to even see a book with reviews on Smashwords, it seemed very promising. 

But unfortunately this book fell flat. 

My favorite part about fantasy novels is the world building. In fact, that is the most important part of any romance novel, which I talked about before. But J. Dawn Light is either lazy or not skilled at it.

In fact, the magic element is more or less an after thought. Various mythological and immortal creatures exist, but we know next to nothing about them or their society. We don't even know enough to serve the story. 

Before the Darkness is about a fairy named Daneeka who needs to transport a powerful crystal to a mythological city. She ends up getting protection from her older brother's best friend, Jayer, who just so happens to be a werewolf. 

But that's the entire plot. We don't learn anything about the immortals' societies-- aside from werewolves in general not caring about human life-- and we don't even know why the crystal needs transport or why it's so powerful. This story is called Before the Darkness, but there's not even a sense of forboding or dark times to come. 

What that darkness is, we don't know either. For all I know, it just means they're moving to Alaska in the winter. 

Everything about their world is undeveloped, even inside the city of Avaleen. Avaleen is actually a huge problem in itself because it's the only truly fantastical place in the story. Everything else appears to be modern day United States, even though the location isn't specified. 

Where's Avaleen and how do they hide it from humans? Is it in the middle of the unorganized territories of Maine? Is it at the North Pole? Hidden in a magical wardrobe or police call box? Nobody knows. Not even the author. 

The author's laziness also extends to the characters and their abilities. Daneeka can shift from human form into a small fairy form as a defense, but that's not mentioned at all until halfway through the story. It's never mentioned during a fight with a vampire or when she and Jayer are talking about her ability to protect herself. 

 He sprang across the bed grabbing those evil little hands and securing them above her head as he pressed her into the bed with his body... “Now what?”

She pretended to think about it. “Now I sit and wait for my big strong werewolf friend to come to my rescue.”

He smiled down into her face... “And if he doesn’t.”

“Then I guess I’m at your mercy.”

No, you shift! You can become three inches in less than a second, but apparently J. Dawn Light doesn't have that idea until a few pages later and decided not to revise. 

Daneeka does have the ability to turn herself into mist in the first scene. It's a pretty cool power. Too bad she never uses it again. 

There are two main bad guys, a vampire and a witch. We don't know their names or anything about them except they were probably dating. They cause the most conflict in the story, but that's everything noteworthy about them.

They only exist to justify Jayer's need to protect Daneeka, but they also show that Jayer is much more powerful than Daneeka. 

This is really irritating. Fairies are supposed to be just as strong as werewolves, but for some reason, Jayer is more powerful than Daneeka. When they're first fighting the vampire and witch duo, Daneeka needs to shift into fairy form to battle the witch, but Jayer doesn't shift into wolf form to take care of the vampire. He "had him", like he told Daneeka later. 

The next time they fight, Jayer kills the vampire without a problem while Daneeka's finishing shot doesn't kill the witch. Instead Jayer rips the woman's throat out. Either witches are incredibly powerful, or Daneeka is weak. I'm thinking the latter.

J. Dawn Light seems to like her as a pseudo badass, where she seems powerful and awesome, but is really just a damsel in distress waitng to be saved by her big, strong werewolf. 

What is this, Mad Men fanfiction?

The traditional gender roles are even more defined in the bedroom. Despite being in love with Daneeka for years, Jayer is a player. He has quite a reputation of sleeping around but never spending the night. 

Daneeka, on the other hand, is a virgin. She was saving herself. For Jayer the player. 


Honestly, the stench of veiled sexism is too much to bear.

Even though Daneeka shows streaks of sadism by regularly "zapping" Jayer with her power, it's clear who's really in charge.

Don't get me wrong, I love alpha romances. But this isn't an alpha romance. Jayer isn't trying to be an alpha and Daneeka isn't trying to be submissive. Jayer is flat out stronger and more powerful than Daneeka and with no real example of powerful women in Before the Darkness, the story sets back women's rights about fifty years. 

But was this a bad story? No. 

This story does have a good pace and the characters didn't piss me off too much. I didn't get bored reading it, and was actually quite entertained. I probably won't pay to read a book by J. Dawn Light, and she has her work cut out for her for refining her storytelling ability, but there are definitely worse books out there. Before the Darkness gets a 3 out of 5 star rating from me. 
(review of free book)

Review by: maria braun on July 11, 2013 :
Very entertaining.
(review of free book)

Review by: hrhsophia on Oct. 07, 2012 :
A very good read, humor and passion.
(review of free book)

Review by: will, Jr on May 14, 2012 :
A wonderful read, I had a smile the whole time. I'm about to start on another one today.
(review of free book)

Review by: karen manning on May 01, 2012 :
A really good read
(review of free book)

Review by: Amber Barr on Feb. 21, 2012 :
J. Dawn Light’s new “The Darkness” series combines danger, humor, and romance with a paranormal element that reminds the reader of the fun that can be found in young romantic interludes. Although the characters in this story are written as twenty-somethings, the storyline and mature content appeal to a much wider audience. Witches, vampires, werewolves, and fairies…Ms. Light creates a paranormal world where the reader must question previous notions about each species because most of the old rules no longer apply…and even fairies can kick butt! “Before the Darkness” introduces two primary characters who are witty and wonderful; however, Ms. Light refers to other mysterious secondary characters just enough that the reader is begging for her encore novel “When Darkness Comes” before the first story is even halfway over.
(review of free book)

Review by: J.M. Cameron on Jan. 12, 2012 :
I agree with Maggie. This would prob be a great series of these two. I'm sure Daneeka could find more trouble to get into. I loved that she snuggled in Jayer's fur & sat on his nose in their shifted forms. :-) Please write another!
(review of free book)

Review by: maggie Malia on Sep. 27, 2011 :
I absolutely loved this story. I would love if this became a series.
(review of free book)

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