Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: Darkness Falls - Jessica Sorensen

Title: Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls Series #1)
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Rating: 4/5
Price: FREE at Amazon!

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Summary:
When the disease spread through the world, people had no choice but to go into hiding. The Colony is hidden deep underground, far away from the vampires—humans that were transformed by the disease. The vampires are hideous, starving, and they will kill any human they come across.

Seventeen-year-old Kayla is a Bellator, a warrior that protects The Colony. In order to survive, there are three rules she must follow:
Rule #1—Never go out after dark.
Rule #2—Always carry a weapon.
Rule #3—No matter what, never EVER get bit.
But what happens when the rules Kayla has always lived by can no longer apply?

The Highers run The Colony and accept nothing less than perfection. One slip up can mean death. Kayla has always worked hard to follow the rules and strive for perfection. But during a moment of weakness, she lets her imperfections show. Her punishment is worse than death. She is chosen for The Gathering and is thrown out into a world full of starving vampires.
No one has ever survived The Gathering, at least that’s what Kayla’s been told. But when she runs into a group who insist they were once part of The Gathering, Kayla discovers the Highers have been keeping secrets. Secrets that could lead to a cure.

Review:
First of all--the plot had me pretty much from the beginning. Sounds fascinating, right? An awesome mixture of dystopian and paranormal? Count me in!

I know a lot of readers are complaining in reviews about the amount of romance in YA fiction, but personally, I love it. I'm delighted with all the romance. In fact, I've been known to skim comments just to see people's comments about the romance in a novel. One comment I read on a book (not this one) complained that the amount of romance in the book turned them off. I immediately bought the book. LOL!

So, for those of you who like just a little romance, this book is a good choice. There's just enough to get you interested, but not enough that it dominates the plot. Or even the sub-plot. It does seem to factor into the twist near the end, though, which was a fun change.

Kayla is a strong character who's an awesome warrior. She's brave (who else would run into a cave just to search for vampires?), smart (she figures out something's up with her parental-figure, and that she's being lied to pretty quickly), and self-sufficient ("Sure, I can survive on dirty rain water. Who can't?" -- not an actual quote). And she is willing to ask all the questions you know you'd want to ask if you were in the same situation.

The book starts in a dystopian-like city, where citizens are kept in an enclosed fortress by the Highers--those in charge of the city. It quickly progresses, though, to the outside of the city, where it really picks up. Kayla and two others who were "killed" inside the city are tossed outside, and the mysteries just keep coming. First there's the little girl who was dumped with Kayla and another guy Bernard who can seemingly predict the future. Then there's a mystery boy (Aiden--OH how I love love love that name), who seems to know Kayla a little too well even though she has no memory of him. There's the fact that vampires are actually afraid of Kayla and run away from her instead of the other way around. And then there's an idea tossed around that Kayla may be the beginning of a Higher herself.

But wait, there's more!

When the three were dumped out into the desert, they were given three syringes and told if they took the medicine inside, it would "save" them. Well Kayla finds out what happens when they take the medicine--and let's just say it's miiiiigggghhhhhtttttttyyyyyyy appealing. The plot twist that happened there really caught me by surprise.

The best plot twist, and I'm going to give it away here because it's given away pretty quickly in the book via clues, was that the vampires were actually created by a doctor. Possibly a doctor attempting to recreate the "beautiful, elegant, gothic, super-humanly-fast with super-healing-abilities," vampires from lore. You know--the way we pretty much think of them.

Unfortunately, something went wrong, and the vampires they ended up with had decaying flesh covered in sores and bled tears of blood when they got hungry.

I've seen a lot of complaints in reviews about the "show, don't tell," writing style, and I will say a lot of this book is very "tell"-focused. At first it was a little hard for me to get into, but I actually found it worked, and after a while barely noticed it. It didn't detract from the story for me, anyway. The plot was that good.

I've been toying with the idea of picking up the second book just for the plot twist with the romance, but I might wait for the third one and buy them both together. The first one definitely had a cliff-hanger ending, but not so cliff-hanger-y that I didn't feel satisfied.

It's definitely worth the read--I finished it in just a couple of hours before bed last night. I would recommend it. And even if you don't like a love-triangle, or the "show-don't-tell" style of writing, the book is free and the plot is great. Give it a shot!

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