The beginning of a new YA fantasy series... Born at Dawn by Christina Davis (Review) #yalit #fantasybooks @ChristinaDWri @TBRBeyondTours

Welcome to my tour stop with TBR and Beyond Tours!
Check out my review of this new YA fantasy below...

Born at Dawn
(Da'ValiaTrilogy #1)
By Christina Davis
YA Fantasy
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 304 Pages
November 15, 2020


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?

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My Review

BORN A DAWN is an exciting fantasy about a girl who is just figuring out who she really is and the battle she is unknowingly at the center of. Full of complex characters, magic, danger, and romance, this is a story perfect for fans of YA fantasy such as the Grisha universe and the Throne of Glass series.

I didn't know what to expect from this novel as Indie can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, but I had no reason to worry. From the first chapter I could tell that the author had done her work. It was well written, with fully drawn, complex characters and a page-turning plot. I literally read this in one night, without wanting to put it down!

I especially loved Neva. She was a great protagonist. She was also easy to cheer on as she tried to survive her life and the new world she's thrown into. I appreciated that the author let some of her weaknesses, insecurities, and immaturity show in places. She also let Neva's strengths, skills and heart come through, so she felt like a complex and well-balanced character. And again, I just loved her! I also loved a lot of the side characters who were equally well drawn. Neva's family, the other thieves she worked with, the D'Valians... all of them were interesting and unique. I didn't feel like any of the characters were one dimensional or cookie-cutter.

Then there was the fantasy world, which I found really interesting. I appreciated that there were no information dumps. I learned things as the characters lived and learned them, so I felt fully immersed in this storybook world with magic, different races and cultures, and a long-fought war between mythological gods and their creations. I really liked the whole premise and about Neva and the power she holds within in. The plot just totally worked for me logically, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, so I was thrilled not to deal with it here. It also brought up some interesting thoughts about power and how individuals use it differently, and about relationships and influences. I would love to know even more and am looking forward to the next book to learn more about this fantasy world. There was a glossary at the end of the book, but I found that I understand the gist of everything without using it. I did like reading through it afterwards to see if I got everything right though.

Finally, the romance. There was a bit of a triangle or rectangle... sort of. The system is interesting of how the D'Valians connect their power. Neva had admirers in different places and I wasn't sure who she would end up with. I really liked her relationship with Emiliand. He's just a solid guy. I also really liked Adam. And then there's Astiand who was the epitome tortured, brooding and irresistible guy. The romance was a bit strong in places, with a few lustful making out sessions. I did appreciate though that it stayed on the clean side and hopefully that will continue. It's one of my disappointments with other YA fantasies, so I'd love it to stay that way in this series. There were some references that were darker (in regards to Arroyand) that might turn some readers' stomachs that I don't think were necessary, and there was some descriptive violence. Otherwise, this was a fairly clean read, which I also loved.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This is definitely a page-turner, which makes it feel like a quick read. Readers will love this story and the characters! Book two can't come fast enough!

Content: Some sensual innuendo and a few brief references (including some that are gay) to abuse and torture, heavy making out, and some violence.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from TBR and Beyond Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Christina Davis was raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a California girl at heart. She spent much of her childhood in and out of hospitals and embraced reading as an escape. After being home-schooled through high school, she graduated summa cum laude from San Jose State University and attended NYU's Summer Publishing Institute before embarking on a decade-long career in journalism. She enjoys chocolate, cosplay, coffee, and board games, but not necessarily in that order. She now lives in beautiful Monterey County with her husband and daughter.

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