Book Review: Born at Dawn (Da’Valia Trilogy #1)

Title: Born at Dawn

Author: Christina Davis

Pub. Date: November 15, 2020

Pages: 304

Pub: Christina Davis

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


In a world of secrets, the one she never expected is the one that will change her life forever.

When a heist goes terribly wrong and the binding spell holding 17-year-old Neva’s powers at bay is shattered, the half-human thief knows she’s in trouble.

Neva has always hidden her Da’Valian heritage while working risky jobs to make a name for herself and serving at her family’s tavern, but she won’t be able to hide much longer. She can either risk the safety of those she cares about or seek out her mother’s people to gain control over her emerging powers.

The Da’Valia are beautiful, brutal creatures created by the god of war, and the austere Da’Valian soldier Astiand reluctantly agrees to take Neva to his clan under his protection. She makes unexpected friends, including the handsome fighter Emiliand, and a new enemy in the clan’s ruthless leader.

Spying on her guardian, the sly heroine quickly discovers just how deep she has stumbled into a dangerous, developing clan feud.

Will she be able to embrace who she is in time to keep her loved ones safe?

*This book is about a race of warriors and contains violent scenes, which may not be suitable for all audiences.

This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. This book has been sitting on my shelf since it came out – and I just haven’t had the time to read it. Then I saw that it was on audio, and I jumped at the chance. I really didn’t have any expectations, but I ended up loving it.

My feelings developed a little slowly, growing over time, but I can honestly say I’m excited for the next book.

It’s been awhile since I finished this book, and I made the mistake of pausing mid-sentence while writing this review – so bear with me while I try to remember.

Like I said, I really didn’t have any expectations. I’d originally fallen in love with the cover – it’s what drew me to the book. Then once I read the synopsis, I was definitely interested. I’d heard a few good things, but it wasn’t really hitting people’s radar – that needs to change.

Y’all should pick this book up.

I loved that it wasn’t an incredibly long read – but the perfect length. We get to meet the characters, explore the world and the history that Davis created. It sucks you in and transports you into the story. I loved the format of the book as well – that each chapter starts with a journal log before diving into Neva’s POV. I loved that you don’t really understand the purpose of the journal entries until much later in the story. You don’t really understand who the POV is, and what they’re documenting. Once it’s revealed, it’s like *poof* things make sense. I loved that, that sense of discovery is shared with Neva.

And speaking of Neva – I loved how we’re introduced to her. She’s a badass – a pro at her trade. The fact that her being a thief is kind of like the family business and she’s got this whole sort of support system behind her – it’s so good. I really liked the way the books starts – the way key elements are introduced seriously kicks off an incredible plot.

I also really liked that while it’s a Chosen One story, it doesn’t necessarily play out in a stereotypical fashion. Neva isn’t wholly unaware, but also doesn’t quite know. She more or less takes the changes in her circumstances in stride and rises to the occasion. Now, like anyone who has their life flipped upside down, who’s been thrown into the middle of something much bigger than them, she has moments where she’s less than amenable. She can be quite petulant honestly, but I loved it. I loved her back and forth with Astiand – the tension between them. I also loved Emiliand and her friendship with him.

I actually really loved the depth to all the characters – how feelings arise for all of them – good and bad. There are definitely some characters in this book that made me angry with their actions, others who made me grab them by the shoulders and shake them and some who I just loved outright. I just loved that on some level, you enjoy them all.

And pair them with the plot? Hell yes. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The books starts and it just keeps going. Neva’s journey is hard and epic and she never gives up. Between her human life and her Da’Valia life – the differences are stark – but the story so good. The conflict so good. And when things are reveals *mind blown*. Honestly, there were moments I never would have expected and I loved it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. Neva proved herself, she’s strong as hell, and I have a feeling things are just getting started.

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