Book: Darkness Rising
Rating: F (30 / 100)
Three hundred pages of a excruciating teen awkwardness and little-to-no plot. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying this book, even young girls who enjoy books about teen awkwardness. Darkness Rising is easily Kelley Armstrong’s dullest book to date.
Pros: It eventually ends.
Cons: Excruciatingly oblivious protagonist. Excruciating awkward teen romance. Nearly no plot development. Predictable paranormal romance plot.
In Brief: A teenage girl’s best friend drowns. The girl spends the following months bumbling around a tiny, remote town completely oblivious to how bizarre her life is, to the fact that she’s developing some sort of magical powers, and to the how local boys feel towards her. Near the end of the book, there’s a forest fire, and of course, the girl finds an excuse to run straight into the middle of it.
Official: Strange things are happening in Maya’s tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya’s home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.
It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.
I am fully aware I am not the demographic for which this book was written, but this book is bad by any standard. The story trope in which an oblivious teen stumbles through the discovery of mysterious mystical powers while working out her feelings towards the new bad boy in town and the old friend who has been secretly carrying a torch for her is stale and has been for years. Everyone knows by now how this story unfolds. (Even readers who don’t read Y.A. fiction, thanks to the Twilight craze.) It doesn’t hold any surprises for readers anymore, and what’s the point of a story without surprises?
The predictability of the novel is compounded by the tedium of nothing happening for the first fifteen chapters of the novel. What’s more, the relationships between the book’s character are nearly identical to the relationships between the characters in Armstrong’s earlier Darkest Powers trilogy, layering the whole mess with an overwhelming sensation of deja vu.
The book’s one redemption is that ends, but even there, Armstrong disappoints. After dragging readers through over three hundred pages of literary salt flats, she ends the novel with an abrupt anti-climax that answers absolutely none mysteries slowly built up through the book.
All in all, this book is as tedious as the fantasy genre gets, and it should be avoided.
If you enjoy this book, you may also enjoy these similar titles: