72 points, 3 ¾ stars
The Draug have taken over Morganville. Amelie has been infected, and they’re currently leaderless with no clear way towards victory. All seems hopeless, but they have figured out where they are hiding: the city water system. And then Shane has been taken by the Draug.
“You can’t go around… licking things that come out of a water treatment plant. That’s just… unsanitary.”
Black Dawn continues the trend where Morganville is actually getting better to read. It is also the conclusion to the “Draug” arc started in the previous book. It is amazing how much better this series has gotten since there has been something for the characters to actually focus on and fight, together.
This is actually a fairly emotionally powerful addition to the series. It isn’t quite the emotional punch as the previous book, but it is up there. Amelie is slowly dying, just when need a leader most. Morale is at an all time low because of this. Also, one of the major characters of the series dies. I would personally argue that it feels a bit cheap, and I didn’t really care that much about him. Lots of people in Morganville have died by this point. However, if you really like that character you’ll be really disappointed he is gone.
And then there is Shane. Shane is the most heartbreaking part of Black Dawn. He has been taken by the Draug, and there is no real hope to get him back. Claire is in utter despair over losing him, and it is really hard to read. But the worst part is, we see what Shane is seeing. The Draug have put him, and the other victims, to sleep and dream while the Draug feed of them. It isn’t the dark dreams you would think, but Shane’s true desires. And all he wants is a happy life with Claire. When he (inevitably, this isn’t a spoiler just common sense) finally gets rescued, he isn’t quite certain that what he is seeing is reality. He wants to go back to his happy life with Claire. And it is heartbreaking.
By the end, Morganville is a different place. In the beginning of this arc, the big thing was still Michael and Eve’s wedding, and how it would bring doom because Vampires should not love humans (and I would argue, Vampires should not love at all). Now, the town is changed, perhaps for the better. The Draug have caused absolute havoc across the town, have killed many, and disrupted their entire way of life.
Let’s see if it sticks.