Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles

Publisher: Switch Press
Publication Date: 10/1/15
Pages: 496
Source: from publisher in exchange for honest review
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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. --Goodreads
After Hitler unleashes a virus which leaves victims as vampires, the only survivors are the Immunes.  Decades later, after the war has ended, Hitler still reigns with his Nazi Vampires.  Sophie, an Immune, lives in the small town of Haven, content with her best friend and vamp boyfriend. Until her best friend is mysteriously murdered, that is. The murder unravels everything Sophie knew about her world, opening her to new truths that she wished she never saw.  Val, her boyfriend, has always said, “Some truths are better left unsaid.” And he would be right.

Lindsay Francis Brambles is a genius, piecing this together with layers upon layers of story and generations which collide and connect.  Hitler and Nazi Vampires: the base story—if not introduced properly—would flop miserably because people do not want just another vampire story.  Well, my friends, this is not your ordinary vampire story.  The backstory works magnificently and Sophie, the protagonist, is not a helpless lady but a strong female character who gives Katniss Everdeen a run for her money. Becoming Darkness is a work of genius!

Sophie has to be the most unluckiest girl in the entire world.  This poor girl has been through so much and endured it to the very end.  Without giving too much away: Brambles is the type of author who kills characters.  Don’t get too attached to any one character because they may not be there in the morning.  Killing characters off is both advantageous and disadvantageous.  It makes the flow of the novel extremely fast with non-stop action which doesn’t let you catch your breath.  However, it also doesn’t let you mourn these characters that you may have spent pages with.  Why is life so unfair?

Despite the deaths (because you know what you’re getting into reading a vampire book), the use of German on the cover and how the designer was able to incorporate the whole phrase on the front—it gives me chills just thinking about it.  “Nun bin ich ewige becoming darkness.” Those exact words, “For now I am eternal, becoming darkness” can work as the theme of the whole novel.  Brambles weaves this phrase into almost every aspect of his writing, showing that even between generations, people have some of the same thoughts. 

This book is meant to have five stars.  The vampires Brambles created are brilliant; there is so much about them that I love.  Plus, if there was a Brambles’ Apocalypse, fueled by Hitler and his Vampire Nazis, I would be alive (I’d like to think that but the virus may have gotten to me) because New York (New Yorkers unite!) still stands.  The writing, the action, the characters, the story: all five stars.  But it’s about this vampire boyfriend of Sophie’s.  He is very cryptic and mysterious—he wouldn’t be if he told Sophie anything about anything.  Despite several scenes with Valentine and Sophie, the communication between them grates on my nerves because if he had only told her what she wanted to know… well, then there would be no book to write, I suppose.  Reading about those two, fighting out their problems or not fighting out their problems (because there still are many problems yet to solve): like no.  What kind of relationship do they have? It’s enormously complicated and unbalanced.  I wanted to like Val but how can you like someone who doesn’t trust you with any significant information? 

 Overall, Becoming Darkness is certainly a book to put on your bucket list.  This is the perfect time to read it: October.  Despite the strange it’s complicated status Sophie has with her boyfriend, this book is superb.  Lindsay Brambles is a true genius, creating a layered dystopian with vampires, Nazis, and non-stop action.  It will be sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page.

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  1. New one. Sounds like an interesting premise. Good one for October, like you said. I'll have to check it out. My teens are hungering for more vampires!