Earlier this year, E.C. Myers released RWBY: Before the Dawn. This is the sequel to last year’s RWBY: After the Fall and follows Team CFVY and Team SSSN as they continue to grow as Huntsmen and Huntresses at Shade Academy in Vacuo under Professor Theodore. Scholastic was kind enough to send me a copy and it’s been a fun read. You can purchase your copy now from your favorite bookstores and it may even make a great holiday gift for your RWBY loving friends.
I want to start with a similar complaint to one I had for After the Fall. The book starts with a prologue, but it’s really just Chapter 1. It feels like Meyers just really wants his books to have a prologue and so he just renames the first chapter as a prologue. This is a real shame because I think there are some things that really could’ve been written as actual prologues that I won’t go into because of spoilers.
Now, another complaint I had with After the Fall was the way that flashbacks were written and used a lot more than I felt was necessary. In Before the Dawn, there are flashbacks, but they are handled much better in my opinion. There are much fewer flashbacks and that makes them feel more important when they happen.
Meyers had his work cut out for him as he had twice as many characters to focus on in this book, but he did a really good job of juggling them. Each one is given a little bit of space and some degree of importance for their part. Of course, I would argue that Team CFVY was clearly more important in this book with Sun also being extremely prominent, but the other members of Team SSSN are giving their fair share of the spotlight.
Overall, all of the characters were written well. We actually get to meet Sage, Scarlet, and Neptune and see their points of view, albeit that made me get more annoyed at Sun. Sun definitely has the most growth of the characters though and I hope it sticks. We also get to meet Professor Theodore who in theory is based on the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, Professor Rumpole, and a few students from Shade Academy even if their roles are more minimal. The action is great and there are quite a few moments where I wasn’t entirely sure what the outcome of certain actions would be or what certain motivations were.
One of the big bonuses to these books is that we get to learn about Vacuo and what it’s like even though the main series hasn’t touched on it at all. I do appreciate having a lens into this part of Remnant since I do question how much we’ll get to see in the show. In fact, I really am interested to see how or even if these stories tie into the main series of RWBY. Will these directly funnel into the show at some point or are we getting these stories because Vacuo will never be addressed in the series?
If you enjoy RWBY, I would recommend reading Before the Dawn after After the Fall.