Okay, I can’t help it. I have to start with this awful cover art. Not only do Mira and Danaus have no legs, the cover isn’t an accurate representation of the contents. Yes, there’s sex in Wait for Dusk. No, it’s not as predominant as this cover would imply. A more fitting cover would have shown Mira with a fireball in one hand and a big bloody knife in the other.
Having read the first four DARK DAYS novels, I was expecting Wait for Dusk to follow the pattern of books two, three, and four: namely, a slow-build start with lots of politics and posturing, leading up to an action-filled finish. To my surprise (and pleasure), there’s not a slow moment in Wait for Dusk. There are a few scenes of politicking, but they’re short and have immediate, tangible consequences.
Wait for Dusk begins just a few minutes after the cliffhanger ending of Pray for Dawn. We’re back in Mira’s head, and she has just been whisked away from the scene of the battle by a powerful entity. We learn that this entity is actually Mira’s real father, a really nasty fellow, who gives her a task she doesn’t think she can refuse, then returns her to her home. Later, Mira is summoned to Venice to officially take her seat on the vampire coven. Her enemy Macaire assigns her to clean up a mess in Budapest, so she travels there with Danaus and with vampires Stefan and Valerio, who each have agendas of their own. Mira is pretty sure that this is a trap, but she’s determined to make it an opportunity instead.
Mira opens up a big can of Machiavelli as she cuts a swath through Budapest’s supernatural community, showing us just how she’s managed to survive 600 years as a nightwalker. Her actions don’t necessarily make her more sympathetic per se, but they’re realistic and they’re terrific character development. We keep rooting for her because the alternatives are worse. Mira may be a bitch, but she’s our bitch.
At the same time, Mira’s actions help drive a wedge between her and Danaus, throwing a heartbreaking conflict into Mira’s life just when she least has time for it. As you might have guessed from the clinch cover, Wait for Dusk is the make-or-break book for the Mira/Danaus relationship. Jocelynn Drake has built up this relationship from the very first scene of Nightwalker, with some books advancing it and others retreating from it, and here we learn whether they “will” or “won’t.”
The book is filled with action and violence, and every fight is consequential to the main plot in addition to being exciting. Jocelynn Drake builds to a big ending and then delivers it. No cliffhangers here. There’s plenty of trouble ahead for Mira and friends, but Wait for Dusk ends on a satisfying note. This is the first DARK DAYS book that’s really recaptured the explosive energy that defined Nightwalker, and to my mind it’s even better than that first installment. Ignore the cover and snap this one up.
Only one small caveat: There have always been a few copy editing mistakes in these books, but this is the first time it’s really been distracting. There’s a sentence that talks about the death of Character A, who is actually still alive at that point in the book. I thought maybe I’d missed something, but no, Character A appears, still kicking, a few scenes later. It’s Character B who’s dead and who I think was supposed to be mentioned in that sentence.