August 15, 2013

Spotlight on: Welcome to the Darkness by L.M. Justus

Welcome to the Darkness by L.M. Justus
Series: Darkness Trilogy, #1
Publication date: August 5th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal

Purchase Links:
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Synopsis:
A typical teenager, seventeen-year-old Reed Hennessy doesn’t realize how lucky he is to lead a normal life until he loses everything, including his humanity. The attacker who slaughters his family and destroys their home turns out to be a vampire, a creature Reed had considered a myth.

Now a vampire himself, but with the unique ability to walk in sunlight, Reed struggles in the dark underworld he didn’t even know existed. His only two allies in his fight to stay alive are his reluctant mentor, Nathaniel, a vampire with over two hundred years’ worth of emotional baggage, and Sarah, a rookie cop with a secret ability of her own.

Together, Reed and his companions face a harrowing, cross-country journey before stumbling into a plot which could mean the end of everything for humans and vampires alike.

Welcome to the Darkness (Darkness Trilogy, #1)Welcome to the Darkness by L.M. Justus

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Welcome to the Darkness isn't your run of the mill vampire book. It strays away from the beauty and the allure that is often written about vampires, and concentrates more on the dark and gritty side. The book immediately starts off in the middle of a horrific murder scene, and the consequent turning of a 17-year old boy named Reed. After he turns, he kills the vampire that created him and murdered his entire family. But Reed isn't your typical vampire. There is some anomaly inside of him that makes him able to walk in sunlight, and makes him immune to silver.

It is these abnormalities that make Reed a coveted possession by the Vampire Queen of San Jose and the Vampire King of New York. Luckily for Reed, he is taken under the wing of an older vampire named Nathaniel who helps guide him in this new vampire world that he is totally unfamiliar with. He also, through crazy circumstances, ends up befriending a female cop named Sarah, who also has special abilities of her own. These three end up making an enemy of the Vampire Queen and have to flee cross country to seek asylum with the Vampire King, only to discover that he has his own evil plan that involves them.

This was a good story, and when you read over the last two paragraphs, it seems like this book would be action packed from beginning to end. However, the story seemed like it dragged along at times, and there were a lot of pages where the three main characters were just sitting around and waiting. I can't quite put my finger on what it was, but I never really experience the sense of urgency or anxiety that I like to feel when I'm reading a really good paranormal thriller. There were the odd bits of action that were well written and paced, but for the most part if felt draggy.

Reed was an okay character for me. I understand that he has been thrust into the life of being a vampire against his will, and he is not accustomed to how things work, but I felt like he was way too whiny and hesitant to embrace his new status. I get it. You don't want to be a vampire. But you are, so get over it and start adapting. I think a lot of it has to do with his immaturity and age. He is only 17 when he is turned, so maybe in a way it makes him seem a little more realistic. Sarah, on the other hand was a great character. She is a 21-year old rookie cop who has a straightforward, no nonsense kind of way about her. I liked her character way more than Reed. And I think that's why I really couldn't get on board with the romance that develops between the two of them. I think she's way more mature than he is, and in a realistic situation she would have never looked his way twice. Nathaniel was also a good character. I liked the old world sensibilities he had, and it was interesting to watch him evolve from a cold-hearted vampire, to almost human in the way he cared about Reed and Sara.

The book redeemed itself quite a bit at the end, but it felt so rushed that I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I wanted. I liked the twist and the subsequent consequences from the Vampire King's actions, and I really can't wait to read book two in this series to see where things go from here. Overall, I recommend this book if you are looking for a paranormal read that isn't all sunshine and rainbows.

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AUTHOR BIO
Lisa Justus' path to becoming an author took a circuitous route through the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, followed by jobs in quality assurance and technical writing at a high-tech company. With a keen interest in creative fiction, she wrote her first fantasy novel as part of NaNoWriMo as well as an early chapter book for her kids when they were younger.  Her YA paranormal fantasy novel Welcome to the Darkness is the first book in the Darkness Trilogy.

These days Lisa is busy writing her fourth novel, reading, finishing her basement, doing volunteer work, and trying to stay in shape by running somewhat regularly. She, her husband, and their three children live in Ottawa, Ontario.

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