Darkest Before Dawn

by Stevie J Cole


There are books that almost defy description, we all have them; ones that once read you just can’t put out of your mind, well for me this is one of those novels.

It isn’t sweetness and light, heck it isn’t even light, this is described as a dark novel and make no bones about it, it lives up to its billing!

On one hand we had Max and for all intents and purpose he initially could never have been described as being a nice guy, born into a family that was never capable of nurturing him in a way that everyone else takes for granted, brought up on the wrong side of humanity, his life was a series of choices that went from bad to worse and eventually peaked and insurmountable because how does a child a mere lad of 16 ever recover his soul when faced with a life or death decision at such an age but that is exactly what happened and it is because of that, that we see the broken human before us. I didn’t want to feel for him but I couldn’t help it, I think I was hanging out in the hope that he couldn’t possibly be all bad…was I deluded?

Then we had Ava, again from a family that were no strangers to living on the wrong side of the law but with one advantage, she had a family that loved her and a father that would hang the stars if he had to in order to make her happy, but Ava much like Max was formed by events of her past and while she didn’t have it anywhere near as bad as he did, she hid her dark side well. But could she hide it forever?

Once the story kicked off, the events came thick and fast and for my sins I think that is what I found most engaging. Ava is abducted by Max but that was just the beginning of not only a physically but an emotionally tumultuous time for them both. They were in uncharted territory which was only further compounded when it became apparent that their families were linked, that they had history and not of the pretty picture painting kind either.

But despite their circumstances, despite their pasts, despite their families and almost despite themselves, can they survive both mentally and physical strain that their sixty-four days together brings forth from them?

I had no idea whether, not only they but I was going to be in one piece come the end of this book but I have to say to the author…wow! This was excruciatingly intense, it was captivatingly raw and perhaps this is the wrong thing to say but it was deliciously dark.

This was everything you didn’t know you wanted but you will lap up anyway…quite simply there was no putting it down it was additive but it was thought provoking too. It made me consider the need to label, the desire to look skin deep and to see no more than we the voyeur is prepared to accept. To ignore the possibilities that might just surface if we peeled away that all too readily available top layer.

This was a pair that were more connected, more right for each other than society would have ever acknowledged but they didn’t need society, they didn’t need approval, they didn’t need anything because they had souls that spoke to each other and refused to play by the rules, but was it enough?

Take your time with this, give Max and Ava the opportunity to welcome you in, take a good hard look at what they do and why. It is only by doing that, was I able to see everything that I wanted from their story. I held onto my hope for them both and after dismissing my preconceptions, I think they had their way with me and I finished the book an ever so slightly different person, the old adage that looks can be deceiving…I get it now!

Topic: Darkest Before Dawn by Stevie J Cole

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