Hello everyone! Today I’m bringing you a tour stop for Born at Dawn by Christina Davis! It’s a young adult high fantasy featuring interesting new species and detailed worldbuilding! I had such fun reading this book, thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours and the author for giving me this opportunity, and if you’re interested please check out the other stops on this tour!
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?
Five Reasons to Read This Book
1. The Worldbuilding
Most young adult books skimp a little on the world-building, but not Born at Dawn! Christina Davis has created a complex world with different species, cultures, gods, and conflicts. If like me, you love detailed worlds to immerse yourself in; this is the book for you.
2. The Da’Valia
The De’Valia are the species we spend a lot of time around in Born at Dawn. Neva, our main character, is half Da’Valian, but she’s not spent much time around that side of her family. We learn about them through her eyes, the difference between their culture and humans, the way she both fits in, and doesn’t.
I love how much this book has such a strong focus on family. Not just biological family, but found family too. Neva feels such strong family connections to her father and the rest of the people who have spent time at their pub; she sacrifices so much to keep them safe. Amongst the De’valia found families are a part of their society, and I loved seeing Neva find new people to call home.
4. Clan Intrigue
I am always here for intrigue in my books! I love the dynamics of having leaders not everyone agrees with, betrayals, uncertain loyalties, and working behind the scenes for change.
Okay, here me out. The De’valia have horns, and there was a scene that was just *chefs kiss*. Some people have sensitive elf ears, other people have horns… Don’t judge me.
If you couldn’t tell already, I loved reading this book! It was an adventure that brought me straight into an exciting new world. Born at Dawn has all the elements you’d expect from YA fantasy, but with little twists and turns that bring new life to the genre.
The worldbuilding was a brilliant surprise! I expect YA fantasy to be a little sparse with worldbuilding elements to focus on characters and plot in an accessible manner. The great thing about Born at Dawn is it manages to have the detailed worldbuilding I adore without sacrificing anything! It makes you feel like there’s a living world around the characters that’s rich and independent of them; I’m so excited to learn more in the next book!
With the rich worldbuilding does come a lot of new terminology. I’m one of those people who’s constantly confused by new words and lots of characters, so I find it easy to become lost at times. Thankfully, there’s a glossary at the back of the book, which was a great help when I’d forgotten something!
I swear I’ll stop talking about worldbuilding soon, but I also loved how the De’Valia were created. It’s difficult to create a unique fantasy race, and I adored them. They gave me Tiefling vibes (if any of you play D&D), partially because of their description, but also the way other people generally have a negative perception of them. I loved the way we got to understand their culture through Neva, who’s both a part of their world, and not. I loved all the cultural rules and depth they had to them, and how Neva slowly learnt about that side of herself.
I’m always a huge fan of books that have intrigue in them, and I love the incorporation of into this one! You’ve got the conflict between different clans of De’Valia, but we’ve also got quiet rebellion from within. Not everyone agrees with how the leader of the clan carries things out, and even those closest to her might be considering a new way.
I’m so glad that family was such a heavy focus of this book. A lot of the time books try to gently push family into the background to allow the character to follow their own paths, which is understandable but also unrealistic. Born at Dawn has Neva going her own way, but she never forgets her family or her desire to keep them safe. I love how both biological family and found family are so important to her, as often you have either one or the other. I’m excited to see how her family will change throughout the series, and who else will be incorporated.
Speaking of people close to Neva, oh boy, is she surrounded by lots of hot men. I’m happy to say they’re all likeable characters though, and I’m intrigued to see where their storylines are going. I could see a love triangle, or maybe even a love square, being set up but so far I’m enjoying the dynamic! I’m not always a fan of having multiple potential love interests, but what I love here is that they’re respectful of Neva and her desires.
Overall, this was a great first book in a series, and I’m so excited to see where the story will go in future instalments!
CW: Violence, Death, Fire, Torture
Recommended for: people who love young adult fantasy with badass main characters, people who enjoy fantasy that explores other species, people who enjoy slow burn romances, people who enjoy multiple potential love interests, people who enjoy fantasy with a family focus, people who enjoy books with clan intrigue, people who like their YA with a side of worldbuilding.
I’m so excited to see what everyone’s thoughts were! Here’s the schedule again if you’re interested in having a look.
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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Get this book
Born at Dawn releases on the 15th of November.
As always, I recommend checking out your local indie bookshop!