Darkness Before Dawn, Leigh Robbins

 Darkness Before Dawn by [Robbins, Leigh]

I liked this book overall, but when broken down into individual parts it probably seems like I'm less than enthusiastic about it.

First, Dawn seemed so great in the beginning, definitely young and her level of attachment to Matt at the outset matched that youth.  Then there was Matt.  He seemed much older than his age and I'm pretty sure the beginning mentioned him being 21 but then later in the book he was reported as being blinded at 19...I'd have to re-read the book to catch what was up with that or if I'm just remembering incorrectly, but either way the age thing was confusing when speaking of, to, and about Matt.

Second, I'm less than impressed with the run-in at the hospital with the g-fri and the leg guy and all that.  Sure, it was a very in-your-face thing for Dawn and set the tone for a lot of events in the book, but I just didn't like it.  It could have been done very differently, something less distracting from what should be the main couple in the story.  The events that followed because of this set the timing for Dawn and Matt so much later in the book that I was tempted to skim and jump ahead but would have missed probably half the book.

Third, related to the second issue, is the amount of extra stuff in there that felt superfluous to the main couple and the story in general.  When I think back on the book I remember the related points but have a hard time connecting them in a real timeline because a bunch of other vaguely unimportant details fuzzed up the memory of the flow.  Also in the realm of extra was Lauren and Brett.  I feel like they should have gotten their own story because fairly important and semi-connected events were big and there but merely glossed over because they weren't really the focus.  It drew attention away and distracted from the main story but felt like I should be invested in their outcome as well so the little crumbs of information we get about them are completely unsatisfactory.

So there's more that bugged me, like the amount of tears and crying from Dawn from beginning to end, but there's stuff that I liked too.  The confessions were especially tender and touching and the difficult moments weren't glossed over or romanticized.

Matt's blindness was dealt with in a pretty mature way.  I liked that it was hard, difficult, and that he found ways around his lack of sight.  His internship was both good and bad.  He did something about his situation and, unfortunately, it didn't work out, but the reasons were intense.  It was a turning point for him that was utterly necessary.  How he came to that realization wasn't exactly mature and it hurt Dawn and set their union even farther into the future, but it was more real than I expected.

Dawn's situation with needing help and protection was intense as well.  As extreme and awful as her experience was near the end I was glad that there wasn't a Deus ex machina situation or a white knight moment.  Well, there was a bit of the knightly, but it didn't happen in time to keep bad stuff from happening.  We all know that life isn't made up of perfectly timed moments, but how we survive and rise above the bad we encounter.  What happened was more real and didn't shy away from the consequences which I respected.

Overall, this was a good book.  There was equal frustration and sweetness to recommend it so it was a worthwhile experience.  Oh, and there were some really cheesy moments that weren't really the sweet kind, more the extra sappy and juvenile.  But other than that, I don't mind the time it took to finish reading.

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