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Blood Dawn, by Janrae Frank
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Renaissance
Published: 2005
Review Posted: 6/23/2005
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

Blood Dawn, by Janrae Frank

Book Review by Susie Hawes

Have you read this book?

The third book of the "Light Brothers of the Dark" series is a sweet read. It has a fast, smooth pace, strong characterization, tight plotting; all the things a reader could ask for. The intensity and emotion are there. Characters continue to evolve as their experiences alter their perceptions. That's something I like to see. Isranon realizes that his father was wrong to blindly forbid violence. At the same time, he continues to believe in the importance of finding other solutions to his difficulties. He doesn't over-react to his new philosophy. He binds with the chaotic Goddess of Cussedness and seeks her temple in the realms of light, hoping to be healed of his painful wounds and, perhaps, to find a way to fulfill the prophesy that he will one day walk with the gods of light.

As Isranon and his group travel through the lands of their enemies the author introduces an element of danger to all of Isranon's friends. We see them coping with the same type of prejudice that Isranon lived with. They must be cautious not to reveal their nature, or they will be killed. Galee continues to move toward her goal of conquering this land. She sends assassins and groups of fighters lead by supernatural leaders after Isranon and Timon, who have separated. We see that Hoon is captured and stripped of his abilities, imprisoned and tortured. As innocent people flee this new invasion from the forces of evil, we feel their terror.

Many find protection with Isranon, or with the Freerangers, led by Nans. Isranon and his friends join with this group and travel across the land as Isranon seeks healing and redemption. King William Gryphonheart is attacked by the forces of Galee, and is rescued by Isranon and his friends, but because of old prejudices Isranon cannot meet him. The king will kill any sa'necari on sight. Nans steps in, shielding Isranon, and he goes undetected. As he struggles to help the king, Isranon becomes a battle mage. It harms his body and weakens him, but is a natural evolution of the character. He is aided by the ghost of Josiah, who shows him a new form of magic never seen before by Nans and the Freerangers. It is the power of Isranon Dawnhand's legacy. Isranon's magic begins to incorporate elements of light and fire. It is dangerous. Each new ability he gains brings him closer to death.

He winters in the holding of Lord Edvarde, a teller of tales. Isranon reveals his linage and much of his nature, but he withholds the entire truth out of caution. As he grows close to Edvarde, Isranon relaxes his guard. An assassin infiltrates the stronghold and Isranon is almost killed. He defends himself, furthering his magic, but the cost is high. Isranon still suffers from the wounds inflicted on him by the sa'necari. Any use of strong magic makes these wounds reopen.

Characters around him die, and are mourned. The reader is never far away from the realization that this is, indeed, a dangerous world, but as the book progresses hope is strong. Isranon is empowered by the Goddess of Cussedness, who gives him the staff of his ancestor. In the end of the book we realize that it is these people may triumph, both in terms of defeating Galee and by overcoming their differences.

The culture and religion of the realms of light is explored, and we see its effect on the people of Darkness. The focus on prejudice and religious intolerance is expanded, with incidents of danger to Isranon and his followers. Both sympathetic and hostile characters are found in the realms of the Light, just as they are in the Darker realms. We also see a balance of attitudes and emotions that threads throughout the series. In books one and two we saw the denizens of the dark realm showing intolerance for one another's differences. Now Isranon and his followers must be protected from the prejudices of the denizens of light. This touches on a flaw in many novels; the characterization of people being uniformly positive or negative. It's nice to see a more realistic portrayal of the scope of human reactions.

The characters on both sides begin to change. They learn to set aside old differences. The characters of Darkness and Light begin to see one another as people, rather than stereotypes. Isranon becomes a unifying force, and the goal to resist Galee is a common one.

I give this book a five, for plotting and pace. The author has written these people with a depth that is compelling. The world is richly drawn and the emotion and action intense. I look forward to finishing the series.
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