Thursday, October 8, 2015

#Thursday Review - Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles (Young Adult, Alternative History, Paranormal)

Series: Becoming Darkness # 1
Format: E-Galley 496 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Switch Press
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult, Alternative History

Like everyone else living in Haven, seventeen-year-old Sophie Harkness is an Immune--a carrier of the genetic mutation that protects her from the virus Hitler unleashed upon the world more than half a century ago. A virus that wiped out most of humanity and turned two-hundred million people into vamps. But after her best friend is brutally murdered and several attempts are made on her own life, Sophie becomes determined to find answers to what seems to be a conspiracy running generations deep. And when she questions the peace treaty that keeps her small community protected, Sophie begins to discover terrible truths about herself and what it means to be human in a world ruled by darkness. 

Lindsay Brambles' debut young adult novel is a story of an alternate universe: Hitler won the war, our modern technologies never evolved, and the Nazis' terrifying reign still continues. This fast-paced novel will appeal to readers who guzzle up genre mashups and are looking for a fresh hybrid to sweep them away.

Becoming Darkness is apparently the first installment in author Lindsay Brambles' alternate universe trilogy where Hitler actually won World War II. Hitler's scientists created a virus known as Gomorrah, and unwittingly unleashed it upon the entire world. The virus didn't entirely wipe out the population, but it did create 200 millions vampires while leaving only 2 million humans or Immune's living on the archipelago of Haven in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, while the rest of the world is under the Third Reich. 17-year old Sophie Harkness, our protagonist) is one of the 2 million Immune's left in the world.

She carries a genetic mutation that prevents her from turning into a vampire. Readers will get the immediate feeling that this is a girl is rash at times, willful, impetuousness, and has a careless attitude towards her fellow Immune's because of her relationship with vampire Valentine (Val). But, let's not toss her into the vat of boiling lava just yet. Sophie is also curious to a fault, eager to find out the truth behind what happened to her best friend, and willing to go the extra mile into enemy territory to get the answers she feels is necessary to open the eyes of her fellow Immune's into what is actually happening. Sophie travels across the world from Haven to NYC to the Arctic to find her answers.

When Sophie starts digging, things really pick up, and some surprise characters make their first appearance. Someone definitely doesn't want what Sophie is searching for to get out. In fact, I dare say that both sides are eager to see Sophie stopped in her tracks by any means necessary. Her only real friend in all of this is Val, who she has loved since they first met. There is also Inspector Havershaw who knows that Sophie is into something dangerous after her friend Camille was murdered, and she is shot. But, he doesn't know the depths of trouble that Sophie is getting herself into by refusing to give up. Sophie investigations leads to terrible truths about herself and what it means to be human in a world ruled by darkness, as well as the role of a group known as The Old Ones.

Let's chat about Sophie and Valentine's romance. Val is an example of the prejudices that Vampires face in Haven. Because of the fact that he IS a vampire, he's is considered to be evil and therefore has no redeeming value. However, Val is a curious sort who has had his time doing things that would be considered anathema by his own people. He values Sophie's love. He values humans and doesn't want to see them extinct. He valued Mary Wolstencroft, Sophie's mother, which kind of feels a bit hinky, but let's leave that alone for now. Despite the odds against this relationship actually working, Sophie genuinely cares for Val, and I do believe that the same can be said for Val's as well.

Becoming Darkness is a really entertaining story. It is a story that makes you want to take a breath and just ride out this story until the very end to see what happens to Sophie next. Brambles has created a marvelously thought provoking story with remarkable characters who you can connect to. He doesn't necessarily push the envelope in regards to climate issues or real world issues, but he does offer the idea of Mandatory Labor Service, and Mandatory Military Service for everyone in Haven. I do want to tell you to pay attention to the book referred to in this story. No Haven for Darkness definitely is something that is not to be ignored, or scoffed at. The search for answers IS the driving factor in this story. It's what motivates Sophie, and tosses her into the deep in of shark infested waters. 

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


  1. Scary premise and that virus does seem like something hitler and Mengele will come up with I they won ww2

    1. I agree with you. It's just too bad that he killed himself before the allies could bring him to justice. He was just evil through and through.

  2. Hi, Shelley,
    I just wanted to thank you for the review of my book. It's always a pleasure to read reviews by people like you who have clearly taken the time to read the book and carefully consider the content. I really like that you picked up on NO HAVEN FOR DARKNESS, which plays a large part in the two subsequent books. For any of your readers who want to learn more details about the book and the world portrayed within it, visit my website where a wealth of supplementary material about the book and the author is there for the viewing. There's also A POCKET GUIDE TO HAVEN, which is a free PDF download of a fictional illustrated guidebook of Sophie's world.

    Thanks again for the review!

    With warmest regards,

    Lindsay Brambles