Sunday, January 10, 2016
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles
Sophie Harkness is Immune. She’s in the small portion of the population who carry a genetic mutation that repels vampires from being able to feed off of her. Hitler won the war and won because he released a deadly virus that infected millions turning them into monsters. The Immunes were able to overthrow the quickly growing vampire population and were offered the opportunity to live on an island in solitude. Sophie’s life is becoming ripped up at the seams after her best friend is murdered. Everything she has known or believed is all just a lie to cover up the truth. The premise for Becoming Darkness is absolutely awesome. Immediately upon reading it I was quick to request a copy from Netgalley and was lucky enough to get approved. I love the idea of Hitler winning World War II because he released a genetic virus that creates vampires and only a small amount of the population are the remain as humans. It’s a scary thought and a brilliant concept for a novel, but this novel is too slow. I read this novel over the summer of 2015 in the span of late May to mid-July and I am sad to say that I blame my slow reading pace on the pacing and style of this novel. I love the concept of this story- it’s unique and promising. The suspense starts out strong and the novel had a lot of promise. The problem is Becoming Darkness teeters on being 500 pages of seemingly endless circles. These circles consist of murder, secret revealed, mother’s diary entry, vampire rendezvous, encounter with officer, and repeat only in different variations.
Whimsical Writing Scale: 2.5
The main female character is Sophie. Obviously this is a vampire novel, so as a reader of the genre I was expecting an immediate love interest and insta-love. That wasn’t the case. Sophie had already fallen in love with a vampire prior to the start of the novel, but my problem is that Sophie doesn’t act like she loves Val in her views. Sophie has the tendency to talk down and demean Val for his vampiristic tendency, which really doesn’t make sense because if she’s such an understanding character with liberal views for the town of Haven, then she should be totally open to Val. Sophie is also not the brightest bulb the box. She’s the type of character who doesn’t understand what is happening around her, based off of context clues, until it’s blatantly shoved into her face. For someone so smart she doesn’t pick up on anything obvious, which really bogs down this book because it’s so obvious where all these clues lead to, but she has to continue to hunt for me because it makes no sense to her. I do have to say that, Sophie’s character seems hypocritical even to the end after all she experiences and it is incredibly aggravating.
Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2
The main male character is Val. Val is a tricky character. As a physical being, I’m lukewarm towards him and don’t feel any real affection. I do really love Val’s back-story, but that is the only enjoyable thing I find about Val. He’s just not my type of character, because I feel like he’s wrapped up in a cocoon of stereotypes and instead of bursting out those tropes, he stays swaddled in there and never transforms. I do have to say that while where Brambles chooses to go with Val’s character absolutely infuriated me, but after stewing on it for a few months, I’m okay with it.
Swoon Worthy Scale: 2
The Villain- The thought of a totalitarian society where Hitler is in charge as a vampire is horrifying. As the story goes on it becomes obvious that there is no solid villain because the world is shot to shit so everyone sucks.
Villain Scale: 3.5
There are quite a lot of characters in this novel, but I’m not going to talk about that. One of my biggest qualms with this story is the family tree love square. To elaborate further, Val is at the certain of this love affair with each of the family members in the Harkness family. His first love, who rejected him after he came back from the war as a vampire, is Sophie’s grandmother. Sophie’s mother was in love with Val from a young age and only married Sophie’s father because Val no longer wanted to hold her back. Of course, Val and Sophie claim that their love is the truest of this family debacle, but I can’t help but call BS. I mean Val has worked his way through all the women in this family through generations.
“We were nothing more than different sides of the same coin.”
Character Scale: 2
There are some really cool aspects of this novel. Within the novel a novel called No Haven in Darkness is basically the setting of our world, but our truth is fictional to this world. It’s a really interesting concept that enjoyed. Again, there are just way too many subplots that converge into one massive plot that just isn’t necessary. I definitely raged at the ending of this novel and it left me feeling completely baffled, but I think that was what was intended. So it in a way, worked out perfectly. This novel isn’t what I would hope it had been, but it’s definitely a novel I would recommend if you are interested in vampires told with a WWII twist.
Plotastic Scale: 3.25
Cover Thoughts: I love the tattoo in German on her lips and while this cover is a bit overused because of that simple little thing it feels really different. I like it.
Thank you, Netgalley & Switch Press for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read Becoming Darkness? Do you want to? What's your favorite vampire novel? Let me know down below in the comments!