Puberty - the process of becoming an adult. Your body evolves into something monstrous, your parents become someone you can't recognise, people around you seem dangerous, you feel trapped, and yet like an outsider. In Dawn all of those feelings are a fear factor.
The plot mainly focus on a protagonist, Takashi Nagasawa, a normal hard-working (which is quite unusual for a min character) highschooler. Due to strange flow of event he is obligated to fight the Nigtshift, zombie-like creatures. The story seems pretty standard highschool horror, and it is indeed. Besides scary things we have a lot of romance and a peak on student's life.
And plaease, don't get the wrong assumption from the first chapters - the beggining is quite harsh and strange, but as the story flows it becomes better and better.
What I found refreshing is that, in spite not being that gore (although there are many disgusting scenes, so if you have a weak stomach, I advice you to not read this) really gives you the chills by the paranoidal feeling of insecure, and please notice it's quite hard to do in manga, since "peak-a-boo" or "long hallway" scenes don't work out.
Also, there are a lot of side stories - I don't know if mangaka did it on purpose, but every little story follows another "puberty fear", like the ones on the beggining of the review. It could be a coincidence or unconcious action or a brilliant psychological trick on the reader.
The drawing style is what is called "the old one". Manga looks like made in 90's, and before you shout "oh God, I hate it!" I have to tell you something - I'm not fond of this art style either, but I like drawings in Dawn very much. Just look at the cover of the first volume. To me, it's amazing. Moreover, all characters are drawn neatly, monsters have a lot of detalis and action scenes looks cool and you can see what's going on without any difficulties. But, if you're looking for some eye candy - there are no typical bishounens or big-breasted short-skirted girls. Go read HOTD instead.
Besides the main protagonist, manga doesen't focus much on anybody else. He's a likeable character, however it's strange that he's a "geek" and yet he doesen't seem very clever. I think he's someone everybody can relate to, beacuse he has typical higschool problems (besides the zombie one) and no idea how to solve them. I like side stories guys too, you don't get much info on them, but enough to feel empathy.
After an average beginnig I became quite sceptical torwards Dawn, but as the story progressed, I became more and more lured to it. I enjoyed it as it has some inteligent horror and mystery-flick, with comedy/romance between it for your nerves to rest. Sadly, not all the volumes are translatd, so we have to wait a bit to know the story ending.
Dawn is an interesting story all mystery/horror fans should be familiar with. I have to admit, 9 is a exessed score, (for me it goes only to almost-the-best manga) but I noticed many readers don't touch the manga if the review score is less than 8. (side note: don't minus me if there are some grammar mistakes, English is not my native).