September 27, 2015

Review: Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles


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.


Haven is an archipelego the Immunes found when they fled the vampires on the mainlands, and is located where the ante meridian meets the equator.  When it was founded it was the largest refugee camp the world had ever created.  But is Haven the haven it claims to be?

I really liked the alternate-history and paranormal mash-up idea. This was my first alternate-history story, and I think I will read more of them now as I am always wondering 'What if..." about past decisions.

I liked that Sophie was a complex character. She wasn't dutiful daughter, nor rebellious teen; she wasn't 'love is blind' nor skeptical and closed-off; she was not brilliant but neither an idiot you wanted to slap.  The grey areas of not only the characters but also the settings made me happy. There is not much in life that is black and white, so why should it be so in fiction?

I think the only drawbacks for me were that one, it could have benefited from a little condensing. It got repetitious and drawn out several times, and two, I wasn't too thrilled about the fiction book Haven had that cropped up several times- an alternate-history (in their world) where the Allies defeat Hitler.  A little too on the nose for my taste.

Still, if you enjoy alternate-histories and paranormal stories, I recommend Becoming Darkness as a compelling genre mash-up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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