Jun 26 2012 5:33pm

First Look: Amanda Bonilla’s Blood Before Sunrise (July 3, 2012)

Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda BonillaAmanda Bonilla
Blood Before Sunrise
Signet / July 3, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital

For months Darian and her Shaede guardian Raif have searched for the Oracle who attempted to overthrow the Shaede Nation—and kill Darian in the bargain. But now that they’ve finally found the half-crazed Oracle, for their efforts they are granted a possibility too painful for Raif to imagine, and too enticing for Darian to ignore.

Darian is determined to reunite Raif and the daughter he thought was dead, but her mission quickly proves dangerous when her lover Tyler is almost killed. And when a brooding and mysterious Fae warrior offers his guidance—at an extraordinary price—Darian finds herself willing to risk everything. As her single-minded hunt turns into an obsession, and she and Tyler grow further apart, Darian finds herself caught between the man she loves like a brother, and the man whose love she can’t live without...

Amanda Bonilla’s Blood Before Sunrise picks up where the previous book, Shaedes of Gray, left off and once again submerges us into the dark and dangerous fantasy world in which our heroine lives. Set in Seattle, this noir and Machiavellian urban fantasy will have you clinging to the edge of your seat.

Darian’s past comes back to haunt her when she blatantly ignores everyone’s advice and sets out to find Raif’s daughter. I would classify this story as a character growth book, especially for Darian. Her past has taught her that being singular is less painful, and her protective instincts are strong, blinding her to the fact that she is often guilty of doing what she adamantly hates being done to her. Her pit bull mentality causes a considerable amount of grief and pain to herself, and those around her, but it is an experience she must go through if she is to grow beyond the boundaries originally set up for her character.

Regardless of her flaws, I enjoy Darian’s character. She’s a perfect blend of smart and sassy with deeply buried vulnerability. She is so protective of those she loves and considers friends, you can’t help but cheer for her even as she does some things that make you want to shake some sense into her. Her snarky internal and external dialogue will have you chuckling as Darian works her way through the multiple of problems heading her way.

Darian has begun to trust in her jinn/boss, Tyler. They have acknowledged the attraction between them and are acting on it. Darian is still learning about the jinn side of Tyler and what exactly their “bonding” entails, but her actions at the end of Shaedes Of Gray more then cement the fact that Darian loves Tyler; even if she’s not sure what to do about that. Tyler’s protective instincts both flatter and anger Darian. She is a weapon and feels insulted when Taylor attempts to force his protection on her.

“Sometimes the bond can make me a little twitchy. Darian, this is new for me. Usually the bond doesn’t go hand in hand with romantic attachment. It’s stronger because I love you.”

The sexual chemistry between Darian and Tyler is VERY hot and sensual. We get some nice physical scenes in here, though we learn that Darian has conflicting reasons for what she does and it is uncomfortable at times watching her during these scenes.

As I led him to the shower, I heard items of his clothing drop to the floor.

I’d keep him out of trouble, all right. And if that meant using my body and all my feminine wiles to do it-then so be it.

Their relationship is taken to new levels and certain decisions are made—for better or for worse. I could see what was happening and my heart broke as we see him and Darian struggle against external and internal influences.

“You’re walking a dangerous path, one that only leads towards destruction.”

The main conflict is a delicious blend of lies, manipulations, and deception and it bleeds over into the overall arc and character subplots. The nature and level of the duplicity Darian uncovers and exhibits herself, is mind boggling. Ms. Bonilla takes her characters through an emotional gauntlet, using adversity and heartbreak in order to facilitate growth. Darian makes some decisions in here that cost her, and she pays a high price for those decisions.

Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede series takes us down an emotional path while drawing us in to a action-packed, suspenseful storyline that will leave you cheering and crying at the same time. This is one urban fantasy series that maintains a permanent spot on my bookshelf.


Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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