Blood Before Sunrise

Blood Before Sunrise - Amanda Bonilla This review is spoiler free, but assumes a basic familiarity with the first book.

Most of you know that the first Shaede Assassin book, Shaedes of Gray, was one of my favorite premier UF books of 2011, so I was chomping at the bit to get my eyeballs on the second book in the series, Blood Before Sunrise. I am pleased to say it totally lived up to my expectations.

Darian is working with her friend and Shaede guardian, Raif, to find the Oracle who she THOUGHT had been her friend, but who totally bamboozled them all in trying to take out the Shaede Nation. Once they finally find Delilah she starts spouting some pretty crazy things, but one of those things is about Raif's presumed-dead daughter... and that's when things get bananas.

The book starts off with a bang! and never lets up steam. There were many moments when I really wanted to shake the heroine, Darian. Initially, she does some seemingly bone-headed things in Blood Before Sunrise, but she sure does pay dearly for her missteps, and she learns from the missteps as well. Additionally, the missteps are not exactly what they seem, either, as other influences come to play with her free will. Her newly developed romantic relationship with Tyler, her dreamy Jinn, hits some pretty tumultuous times. Without giving away too much, Darian really needs to go off on her own and learn from her {very vast, ahem} mistakes... and Tyler also needs to do what is right for him, in the end. But I certainly was not mad at Darian, because after all her stumbles, her growth in character was significant.

We see the tough-talking badass Darian of Now, but we also see a dark and disturbing glimpse in to her past again, as well. There are some very violent scenes involving Darian and the villain that are so well narrated and depicted that they made me uncomfortable. Darian is subjected to some pretty similar events that have her remembering her time at her abusive husband's hands, and she is continuously kicked when she is down. The glimpses we are shown of how it felt to be a battered wife really got to me, and I had to take some deep breathes to read through the scenes. Very very very well done. I went from being really frustrated with her, to feeling horribly sad for her, to then really rooting for her again.

Amanda Bonilla does such an incredible job with all the secondary characters, some recurring from the previous book. I was sad to see one of the Baddies die. She may have been playing for the Team Evil, but she sure had moxie, and I loved that about her (not mentioning names, to avoid spoilers). Seriously, I was bummed when she met her demise! Darian is taken on a trip to the Sidhe flipside with fantastic mythology and helpful Sprites and not-so-helpful Nymphs. We do get a little bit of Xander, but not much. And Darian experiences some flashbacks to her time with Azriel, and a new character is introduced in her memories, Lorik, and a new mystery is presented, which I loved. It left me wanting more, more, more!!

I said last year that this was one of my new favorite Urban Fantasy series, and with Blood Before Sunrise, I can say that it remains as one of my favorites. Dang it, we have to wait until 2013 for the next installment!

Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews