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Before The Dawn (Dark Angel, #1)
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Before The Dawn (Dark Angel #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  672 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Never-before-told tales of action and adventure
revealing the early days of Dark Angel!

Los Angeles, 2019. Large sections of Tinseltown are in Richter-scale ruins in the aftermath of the Pulse and a devastating earthquake. Surviving among a ragtag pack of street kids, agile as a cat, and an expert thief, Max steals from the rich and gives to Moody, her mentor in crime and
Published (first published October 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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Like most avid fans of the Dark Angel series, I was devastated when the series was cut short on the most shocking of cliff-hangers with so many questions left unanswered. I hoped against hope that they would at very least make a movie to tie off loose ends, buy alas, my prayers went unanswered.
Then, I discovered that someone had written three tie-in books. I HAD to have them. I ordered them from my favourite online bookstore ( and got stuck in.
I didn't really know what to ex
Jul 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aspiring writers as negative learning material
This is one of the most horribly-written books I have ever read. Max Allan Collins is just a bad writer to begin with, then he doesn't research/think out consequences and destroys established canon.

Let's start with the bad writing. In the first chapter, I put down the book and yelled "this stupid book is written by a boy." Yes, I did not take the time to look at the author, because these books are the only way to get the answers to the cliffhangers. If it is good writing, you can't identify the
Apr 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction
This is a prequel to the TV series (which I tore through at a prodigious rate and then threw things at the TV at the finale because I wanted to know *what happened next* -- hence ordering these books) and suffers from all the failings of most prequels. For one thing, our main characters meet for the first time in the first episode or the the series, so a book about the two of them when they have not yet met but somehow share a storyline doesn't work so well. Also, the decision to cover all point ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It has been several years sense I've seen the TV series known as Dark Angel. I began scouring the internet looking for the series, instead discovered a written series that has a prequel to the show.
The book while not bad, is not great either. It fills some questions that fans of the TV series may or may not ask, the book itself was written, in my opinion, a mediocre manner. At times I found myself confused as there seemed to be a sudden time lapse, or lack of information in a certain paragraph.
Michelle M
Okay, yes, I'm copping to actually reading a Dark Angel book. Whatevs, we all have our trashy reads! And this one was actually pretty well written, with humor and pathos and all the things I want in an easy read. And no stupid, convenient, "she's a girl and therefore must have a romantic interest" relationships shoehorned in. Just a (genetically modified) kick ass heroine trying to do the right thing.

And bonus extra points for a stylistic dystopian vision of Seattle, land that I love.

Read during
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I thought Collins did a wonderful job in keeping with the universe of the tv show and did a great dive into the characters and background of Max and Original Cindy.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is actually a prequel to the TV series Dark Angel starring Jessica Alba. It starts with Max's life with the Chinese Clan after she escaped from Manticore and then leaving for Seattle after seeing a video of one of her siblings on the news and a mysterious cyberjournalist called Eyes Only. Along the way she meets Original Cindy and Kendra and in trying to find her sibling, possibly Seth, and gets caught up in intricate schemes involving art dealers and Colonel Lydecker from Manticore.

Ryo Yanagisawa
This fictional novel starts from a flashback. Max, 9 years old girl protagonist, escapes with her mates from what they call Manticore where the government secretly institutes in order to train and raise the soldiers. Then the story goes on to 10 years later when Max adapts into the ordinary society but yet she tries to find her mates who has successfully been escaped.

What I like the most about this novel is how the author creates very unique setting. The story takes place after the terrorist at
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dark Angel fans.
It's apparent that the author was well versed in the world of Dark Angel. He manages to capture the personalities, mannerisms and style of speak that the actors brought to their characters on the TV show.

The story covers in more detail, Max's escape from Manticore along with a brief description of her child hood that the TV series only alluded to. The story really picks up Max once she's a young woman living in L.A. as a member of the street gang, The Chinese Clan and follows her move to from L.
Edward Gold
Aug 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was so damn good when little Max, just after her escape, met a 'normal' child and tried to understand how the world works. Sadly, the rest of the book couldn't reach this pleasant feel, even a little, as the stories are more or less boring and the writing is less than compelling.
The author added several explanations about the world and changed some characters' background. It's a little weird, but why not.

Every motivation to finish the book was based on the characters, as I loved them from the
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine, read-in-2015
I recently re-watched the Dark Angel TV-show and in the process discovered that there were books as well. I'm a bit wary of Max Allan Collins because he pissed me off once with a Criminal Minds novel where he got the characters spectacularly wrong.
He did a better job with Max but only barely. I liked the plot, that's a plus, but still the writing style rubbed me the wrong way - again. I have the other two books on my shelf but I'm ignoring them for now. Maybe one day I'll find the courage to gi
Patrick Montero
May 08, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Dark Angel Fans
Shelves: sci-fi
I know, I know, but trust me after watching the TV series, which I will defend because I think it was really good, I needed to find out what had happened, did Max and Logan ever get together? Did Col. Lydecker REALLY die? What happened after the end of the second season when the series was unceremoniously canceled? Questions, questions, questions. So there is my motive for reading this series. Despite the horrible analogies and simple writing this is a fun book to read if you were plagued by the ...more
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good prequel to the tv series. If there are any fans of Dark Angel out there i suggest you read this. While it doesn't solve any mysteries you had while watching the show it is definitely cool to read about what happened before Max meets Logan.

Though her reasons for spending time up on the Space Needle are even sadder, it's still a fun read.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fine but I wish it could have been great. I don't think a casual reader would have much interest in this and might not finish it for that reason. I've been a fan of the series since it aired on tv so I stuck with it despite the inconsistent writing and logical fallacies. It did add a few things to my knowledge of the overall story so I guess it was worth it.
Alexandria Darcy
As expected, this was not the greatest book ever. But, it is a fun story involving the characters of the Dark Angel world and a few new ones. I think there are some major inconsistencies (didn't she not see any of her siblings until Zack?) but overall it was a fun story. If you really enjoyed Dark Angel, you may as well read this too. On to the 2 books that finish up the series!
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's kind of simple, but works very well as an introduction to the Dark Angel universe. There are some questions about why events in the book are never mentioned in the show, but apparently that'll pop up in the books that close of the tv-show, so if that's true I think this is an okay way to round off the tv-show.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written prequal to the short lived FOX TV series, Dark Angel. As Before The Dawn reveals Max's life after she escapes from the Manticore facility, and pursues a normal life while at the same time attempting to stay under Manticore's radar. A must read for those who are a fan of the TV series
I loved this series!

That said, this book is a prequel to the TV it's written to introduce how Max grew up, met her "family", etc. So....interesting quick read, but sometimes too obviously "tying up loose ends" related to her history on the show. I will keep an eye out for the next one, and will probably go pick up a Dark Angel DVD today!
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good prequel story that filled in a lot of blanks of the previous events. It was nice to see how Max met most of the characters before the pilot episode, and tied together all of the flashbacks from the series into a nice linear fashion. The foreshadowing of events for the subsequent two books was a good idea to hook you in.
Koen Crolla
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Just about what you can expect from a novel associated with a moderately crappy TV series: purple, bland, randomly sexist, and at odds with canon. As a prequel to the show, the two main characters haven't even met each other yet, so they just kind of spin their wheels and don't accomplish anything of note.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
one would have thought the dark angel series would be much more thrilling and action packed. instead, this prequel is slow-paced and at times the narration bored me to tears. i do hope the next book is much more exciting. otherwise i may just have to speed read to the part about logan cale……
Jan 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like how fast paced it became when it involved relationships between people and events. Max instantly became good friends with the characters from the show and I didn't believe it. In spite of this a good tie in to the show
Anne Lalor
Sep 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this trilogy as I enjoyed the TV series and, like so many cancelled series, it did not come to a definite end. I like stories with a beginning, a middle and an end! These are not the best books I have read but at least they filled in some gaps and supplied closure.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
So much fun!! After missing the characters from the cut short series, it was so nice to sit down with them again! The author did a good job keeping continuity. As a prequel to the series, he didn't leave any ends that didn't jive with the coming series.
EscaPe iNTo thE PaGEs
The show had a lot of potential to really rock but unfortunately, it was cancelled. Before the Dawn was a nice prequel though.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
continuing the story after the tv series, learn more about the love and story line then the fan can expect.
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done in the style of the show. Gives the backstory to Max and her Seattle stay. Worth a read even if you don't know the series.
Elissa (crz4drwho)
Jun 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the show Dark Angel
Shelves: read-2010
Enjoyable read. Very true to the show. I could see the characters and hear them just as they were on the show.
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
1st: 3/4/04
2nd: 12/24/11 - bloodier than I remembered it being.
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Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2006.

He has also published under the name Patrick Culhane. He and his wife, Barbara Collins, have written several books together. Some of them are published under the name Barbara Allan.

Book Awards
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1984) : True Detective
Shamus Awards Best Novel winner (1992) : Stolen Away
Shamus Awards Best Novel nom
More about Max Allan Collins...

Other Books in the Series

Dark Angel (3 books)
  • Skin Game (Dark Angel, #2)
  • After the Dark (Dark Angel, #3)

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“Eyes Only is more than just a voice and eyes on some cable's more like a network. People who help Eyes Only, they're all loyal, and they don't talk to anybody about anything, if you're not one of them.” 1 likes
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