Book Reviews: Darkness Trilogy Books One and Two by L. M. Justus

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BOOK ONE:
Title: Welcome to the Darkness
Series: Darkness Trilogy #1
Author: L.M. Justus
Publication date: August 5th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

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BOOK TWO:
Title: Darkness Reigns
Series: Darkness Trilogy #2
Author: L.M. Justus
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

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Welcome to the DarknessWelcome to the Darkness
Darkness Trilogy #1
L.M. Justus
Taurpio Publishing, August 2013
ISBN 978-0-9919368-0-9
Trade Paperback

From the author—

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.

A brand new teenaged vampire, a slightly older rookie cop with a different sort of power and a seasoned vampire with a couple of hundred years under his belt…can this odd assortment of characters defeat the nefarious intentions of a very old and vicious vampire queen and her equally odious brother? Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? Well, put your pre-conceived notions aside because Welcome to the Darkness is a serious vampire book—no sparkles in sight—with overtones of sheer fun and, yes, lots of bloody dinners, so to speak.

I am perfectly aware that there are all sorts of reasons this trio should stumble in their efforts to stop a terrible scheme against humanity and, truthfully, the plot doesn’t always work. For instance, why would a plan to turn all humans into vampires be a good thing for the existing vampires since they need to feed on human blood? I also think Sarah is sometimes too naive, especially since she’s a cop. Still, little quibbles like this one don’t really matter so much because the entire cast of characters is vibrant enough to carry the story. Reed is delightful, as is Sarah, but I have to claim Nathaniel as my favorite. He may have his own issues as a “mature” vampire but, beneath his pasty exterior, he still has some rather endearing human traits.

I also really enjoyed Ms. Justus’s use of both first and third person POV and there’s no trouble following the switches since each chapter is labeled with the name of a particular character. The voices are distinctive, not only of the original three protagonists but also of many of the other players, especially a couple of folks who join the cast later.

So, can our intrepid trio and a few friends save the day? You’ll just have to read this to find out while I rush on to the next book  🙂

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2014.

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Darkness ReignsDarkness Reigns
Darkness Trilogy #2
L.M. Justus
Taurpio Publishing,
ISBN 978-0-9919368-3-0
Trade Paperback

From the author—

New York City is a wasteland. More than eight million people are dead or worse…infected.

After their failed attempt to stop the spread of a virus that turns people into zombie-like, human-vampire hybrids, Reed Hennessy and his ragtag crew are scrambling to stay alive. To make matters worse, the human authorities are close to proving the existence of vampires and blaming them for the disaster in New York.

Their storm of trouble is already spinning out of control when an old enemy reappears to issue a challenge–an ultimatum that will mean certain death for at least one member of Reed’s group. With their mountain of problems growing exponentially and a host of enemies closing in, they flee for their lives, desperate for a miracle. Will they survive and avoid the world’s scrutiny, or will darkness prevail?

When we last saw our trio of heroes, now grown to five with at least one more reluctant than heroic, things had gone from bad to worse and now they need to get out of New York City before the hordes of former humans get to them. Reed and Nathaniel face even more difficulties as their vampire backs sport great big targets. Unfortunately for this little band, many of the survivors out there are no more trustworthy than the hybrids.

This is where I think Darkness Reigns slips just a little bit. These humans and vampires are remarkably trusting and almost innocent in their outlook, particularly when they approach a prison, and they don’t get smarter once they’re inside. The other aspect of the story that doesn’t quite work for me is the romance between Reed and Sarah. I started feeling uneasy about it in the first book and its credibility slides even more in Darkness Reigns with the problem lying in their ages. It’s not that I’m especially bothered by his being 17 as opposed to her 21 from a moral standpoint; rather, I’m too aware that the huge majority of girls mature faster than boys and Sarah has managed to make it through the police academy so I just don’t feel the big connection between these two.

Putting all that aside, I still think this book is quite entertaining and I do appreciate that there are more twists and turns than in the first book. At times, there’s a feeling of “The Perils of Pauline”, adding to the fun as well as the darker side of things and I’m now looking forward to what might happen in Book Three.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2014.

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About the Author

 

L. M. JustusLisa 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. Welcome to the Darkness and Darkness Reigns are the first two books of the Darkness Trilogy, a YA paranormal fantasy.

These days Lisa is busy writing her next 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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3 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Darkness Trilogy Books One and Two by L. M. Justus

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Books of 2014 | Buried Under Books

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