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I Belong


Review: Darkness by Erin Eveland

DarknessTitleDarkness

AuthorErin Eveland

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Darkness Series (Book #1)

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Format: Paperback, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0990325407 (Selladore Press)

ISBN-13: 978-0990325406 (Selladore Press)

Reviewed by: Kelly

Synopsis:

One Girl. One Boy. And the Masters of Darkness. See the Shadow Creatures. They are everywhere. But you can’t run from the shadows or the Masters who control them.

Catherine has been born with a supernatural power called Darkness. The Masters of Darkness have found her and it’s just a matter of time before someone claims her.

Quick & Dirty: Darkness is not the kind of story that will give you warm fuzzy feelings. In fact, it starts out downright depressing before taking a very definite turn into holy-crap-this-is-creepy-like-The-Shining territory. Overall, despite Eveland’s talent at creating visceral responses, the story didn’t appeal to me due to the lack of supporting character development and inclusion of abusive elements.

Opening Sentence: “The Devil is really an Angel,” Margaret said to her granddaughter as they hurried along the cracked, uneven sidewalk, knowing her answer was insufficient.

ExcerptYes

The Review:

Catherine has always carried a sense of foreboding around her. Even her grandmother, who raised her after Catherine’s alcoholic mother abandoned her, never quite felt safe or comfortable around the strange girl. A lot of this is because Catherine is able to see things no one else can, things she calls the Shadow Creatures. These shape-shifting phantoms swarm their victims, crawling in, out and around the unsuspecting bodies to feed off human emotions. For a girl who has to take a shower at the mere thought of a bug skittering across my bare feet, these Shadow Creatures might just be the most terrifying creation I’ve ever come across.

But it’s not just the Shadow Creatures that follow Catherine’s every move. There’s also Artros, aka the Dark Man. He appears in both her dreams and the world outside her grandmother’s small apartment. Artros whispers promises that he will come for her when she’s ready, telling Catherine that she is and will forever be bound to him. She’s both frightened and intrigued by this idea, yet also too young to know what his promises truly mean. So, rather than waste time on this vague future, Catherine instead chooses to work on ways to banish the Shadow Creatures from her grandmother’s home. She’s successful one time, banishing the creatures by sheer will alone, but her excitement at accomplishing this feat is quickly crushed under the weight of tragedy. Catherine’s emotional response to these circumstances is understandable, but the physical way her emotions are expressed leave people injured and a hospital staff wary of the odd – and apparently dangerous – young girl.

Catherine’s story thankfully jumps past several years of physical and emotional abuse to her last year in High School. Thoughts of the Shadow Creatures and Artros fade as she gets closer to making her escape from the wretched environment she’s been trapped in for years. The only bright spot in her life has been her relationship with Nathan – an older boy who saved her from a beating by classmates. Catherine has never told anyone, even Nathan, that she’s planning on making a better life with him somewhere far away from their current home. Until a frightening episode brings it all back: Artros plans on keeping his promise by coming for her soon.

Eveland certainly knows how to pull on the heartstrings. Catherine’s despair and sheer determination to survive are palpable. Her story was difficult to read without becoming too overwhelmed with disgust and anger for those who suffer through such things in real life. Beyond that, however, the story is a bit…convoluted. Most of the other characters in the story are forgettable – even Artros. I don’t have a firm grasp on what exactly the Darkness is. My understanding is that it’s something like the Jedi Force – an energy/emotion that flows through the world that some people can master and harness. Still, it seems too corny to make the darkness “evil” and the light “good” yet that seems to be where Eveland is leading the story. Eveland is obviously a talented writer to create a visceral response to the creepiness of the Shadow Creatures and elicit strong emotions regarding Catherine’s life. However the lack of memorable characters, confusing plot and emotional toll the story took wasn’t enjoyable for me at the end of the day.

Notable Scene:

215. His fingers touched the numbers 215. He etched the numbers again and then slid his hand to the doorknob, daring to turn it and enter. A young man opened it for him. Jorgen stepped aside. This was not the one he pursued. Although this boy was ignorant, his mind was being manipulated toward the power of Darkness. Jorgen could see it inside of his inner threads which were developing awareness, a knowledge which would soon lead to the dark hollow cave of questions without answers. They glanced briefly in passing before the young man became distracted by the commotion in the corridor. He walked down the hall and questioned a janitor about the events taking place before stepping into the elevator with him.

Jorgen stood in the doorway of 215. Mesmerized, he watched a girl pace the room, unaware of herself or anything else around. However, her inner-self spindled, weaved and projected forth as much as it could stretch given the binds placed upon her and the pulsing power she held within. Jorgen saw Catherine for the first time.

Darkness Series:

1. Darkness

2. Shadows (TBA)

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FTC Advisory: Selladore Press provided me with a copy of Darkness. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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