Darkness On The Horizon: Before The Sun Rises – Christopher Renna
THE ONLY EASY DAY WAS YESTERDAY – – Despite the odds, Morgan defeated his captor, DuPont, and the Immortals of the East Horsley Colony. His rebellion destroyed plans for initiating a new Great Immortal Battle. Now, returning to America with his allies, Morgan will confront a war in the form of retaliation. The defeated Immortals want Morgan dead for disrupting their plans. Although protected by security, Morgan must fight to survive while testing his independence and defining his role as part of a team.
Morgan’s past paves the road to his future. Survival is not the only goal. He must come to terms with guilt. Accept failures and celebrate successes. Embrace friendships and trust new relationships. Abide by rules and lead with authority. Because everything that happens now will shape the man that Morgan becomes.
Morgan is back! Wiser, more mature and definitely more badass!
Before the Sun Rises continues Morgan’s journey. He and Jonathan had returned to America and currently recovering from their England ordeal. Nicolas and Emily, the Mortal Souls who became Morgan’s friends, went with them. Because of what happened in England, many vampires were out to kill Morgan. With the help of Immortal Elder, Priscilla, they prepared to lure and kill the defeated Immortals who wanted to start a vampire war, using the young man as a bait.
This sequel did a good job portraying Morgan’s growth. Here, he listened more to Jonathan and thought harder about the consequences before acting. Even though he was caught up in paranormal events, he still dealt with practical real world responsibilities and understood the importance of getting a diploma. He’s adjusting to his life as an Immortal and he’s also able to explore his sexuality with both Emily and Nicholas. He was honest enough to admit to himself and to everybody who and what he liked. There were still times when he acted like a typical teenager but that is to be expected from an eighteen year old who still had a lot to learn.
There were many new characters introduced, most notably Erin, Kendall, Lee, and the rest of the security team who went with Morgan, Jonathan, Emily and Nicholas to Colby. Majority of them were faceless and ageless as there were minimal character descriptions. Some features would have been appreciated, just to give these people dimension. The book was written from Morgan’s POV so maybe we can assume, he didn’t really pay attention to their appearances. I was surprised to learn that Nicholas was already in his late 20s because he came across as much younger.
The flow of the story was smoother this time. There were less erratic twists and much faster pacing in general. However, the middle part dragged a bit and felt like nothing’s happening. I was also wondering about the part of Lee and his team being pulled out, only to be reassigned again. I think they could have done the hunt at that point already. The story picked up when Kendall started training Nicholas and the two of them, along with Morgan and Jonathan went around town looking for the killers’ hideout.
The climax had humans and Immortals battle it out with the vampires in an all-out leave-no-one-standing chaos. The fights were as bloody and brutal as in DOTH but with a higher body count. And just when you thought it was over, the book has more surprise in store!
Before The Sun Rises is a paranormal coming of age tale of a young man who found himself the target of inhuman killers. He learned to fight the hard way, met new friends, lost a few, survived a war, proved himself the better man, all while dealing with Algebra and graduating from high school. All in all, I’d say Morgan’s doing pretty good!
Before The Sun Rises will be released August 2019.
Thank you to the author, Christopher Renna for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Final copy of the book may have revisions.
review of book one, Darkness On The Horizon here
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Darkness On The Horizon – Christopher Renna
All Morgan Fischer wants is to graduate high school and escape small-town Colby, Pennsylvania. Since the death of his mother, childhood friends have become his tormentors, and his father has become an absent and neglectful alcoholic. When lack of food forces Morgan to earn money, he develops a friendship with the new residents in town, Ava and Jonathan. They give Morgan the loving attention and guidance he doesn’t receive at home. As their bond deepens, he learns the older siblings have a dark secret. And because of his love for them, it’s a secret he promises to keep.
During the summer, a series of murders have rattled the small town. The arrival of a mysterious stranger from Ava and Jonathan’s past threatens danger. When the threat becomes too great, Morgan must alter his plans for the future and confront his fears. Thrust into a world of deception and murder, can Morgan summon the courage to survive?
This is one of those books where it’s best to go in blind or know as little as possible. Darkness On The Horizon packs a lot of surprises!
It starts with Morgan’s daily thankless task of having to wake his alcoholic father up in time for work. He tries to look for a summer job because there’s hardly any food in the house. He was hired by Ava and Jonathan to work on their lawn. His meeting and bond with the Astor siblings became the comfort of his miserable life as he found people who love and nurture him. It was all cozy enough and then came the big twist which completely caught me off guard and kicked the book up a notch.
It seems Morgan can’t take a break. He became part of a secret world that made him the target of a power hungry killer. The murders were all gruesome and violent which appeals to the horror fan in me but a slight niggle at Ava and Jonathan not taking action much sooner though they were in the best position to do something. The big confrontation with the killer kept me at the edge of my seat and had the book ended with Morgan’s life-changing moment, I would have been satisfied.
The book took an even darker turn when Ava, Jonathan and Morgan went to England. So much darker that I think it warrants trigger warnings for abuse and attempted rape. And while I appreciate all these twists and turns, overall, their unveiling tend to be too abrupt, feels disjointed or forced. I also think the England part is more suitable for a sequel and needs to be expanded to fully flesh out the English characters and their motives as well as develop the world-building because I couldn’t quite understand Morgan’s value to DuPont. The young man seemed more trouble than he’s worth. The saving grace of this story arc was Morgan’s revenge against DuPont where he wrecked all out bloodshed and mayhem. Turns out our boy Morgan could be a total bad-ass when he wants to. All these fun stuff almost made up for the banality of the characters’ interactions.
I enjoyed the Colby arc and I also love the fact that Christopher Renna amped up the horror on the England arc. However, the latter needs more polish while the former can stand by itself. Overall, this is a interesting debut.
Before The Sun Rises, the follow-up installment, will be released Summer 2019
Thank you to the author, Christopher Renna for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it