Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review & Giveaway - Welcome to the Darkness by L.M. Justus

Series: L.M. Justus
Author: Darkness Trilogy #1
Release Date: August 5, 2013
Pages: 349, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.07 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Content Rating: PG 16+? (Some decently grisly violence, sex between characters all happens "off screen")

Summary from Goodreads: 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 was a pleasant surprise for me.  When I first started reading, I wasn't sure if I was going to love it, but the further I got into the story, the more I loved it.  By the end, I was sure that I would be reading the next book in this new series!

The negatives:

  • The writing style.  There were points in the book where I felt that the writing style was just a little too simplistic, especially at the beginning.  But as the story progressed, I became more and more engrossed in the characters and the plot and I didn't find myself noticing the writing style anymore.  I'm honestly not sure if the style improved or it just stopped bothering me, but either way it worked out just fine for me.  
  • Reed's age.  Reed is young and he comes off as, well, young.  This would be fine, but when it came to the romance in the story, I didn't see the attraction right away because Reed felt too young for Sarah as far as I was concerned.  To give Justus credit, though, the age difference is acknowledged and Reed did seem to mature throughout the book, which also seemed to be a purposeful move on Justus' part.  It just meant that I didn't connect with Reed as well early on in the book as I did with him later.
What I loved:
  • Sarah.  Sarah was definitely my favorite character in the book.  She was smart and compassionate and not afraid to take things into her own hands.  I actually also loved another character who showed up at the end of the book, but I won't say who that is because I don't want to spoil anything.  I will just say that I foresee her being a character I will really enjoy in the next book and look forward to learning more about her.
  • The vampire lore.  I loved that this book had a good mix of standard vampire mythology and new vampire lore that I hadn't heard of before.  For instance, in this book vampire's can live forever, but they start to go kind of crazy at around 400 years old.  This fact played a major role in the plot in a few different ways and added an interesting new dimension to the book.
  • Nathaniel.  I thought that Nathaniel was a great vampire character.  I could really appreciate his internal struggle between the human world and the vampire world and his struggle to stay aloof when he started to feel an emotional connection to Sarah and Nathaniel.
Overall, I felt that Welcome to the Darkness was a really intriguing vampire novel.  I will definitely be sticking around to find out what happens in the next book!  4/5 Stars.

**Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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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