by Lindsay Francis Brambles
Review by KM
Alternate Universes has to be one of my favorite tropes and I so rarely see it in published fiction. The idea behind this book, mixing fantasy, alternative universes, and I guess a bit of historical fiction together presents a great new story. The only comparison I can even use to describe it would be the better parts of Twilight mashed with the BioShock video games.
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.
I’m being completely honest here; the first twenty pages are tough to get through. I kept having to put the book down and text SM about my worries: was this going to be another version of Twilight? I didn’t want to repeat that experience. I swore to her that if it ended up being a double, I was going to post this review under “Not Another Vampire Love Story.” It’s not posted under that, so relax. Becoming Darkness is so much better.
The plot was so meaty and full of turns that I could really choose to ignore the romance if it bothered me. In some parts it did; in some parts it didn’t. I will say, I do have a problem with the whole vampires-dating-teens trope. It presents a power struggle of age and that was more than present in this. I want to clarify that I’m not saying there isn’t a problematic relationship in the text, but that I enjoyed the book despite it.
The other characters more than made up for it, though. I think motives of side characters is something that often gets left out of a plot, but Becoming Darkness felt like all of the characters had their own moralities and motivations. It definitely makes for more rounded people.
There were more than a few loose ends left in this novel. I can only hope that it means there is an intended sequel. With this first installment being nearly five hundred pages of packed action, I hope the story continues to hold up to that standard.