DARKNESS FALLS by Jessica Sorensen -a review
DARKNESS FALLS (YA) Darkness Falls #1 by Jessica Sorensen-released March 2012.
FROM THE PUBLISHER: When the disease spread through the world, people had no choice but to go into hiding. The Colony is hidden deep underground, far away from the vampires—humans that were transformed by the disease. The vampires are hideous, starving, and they will kill any human they come across.
Seventeen-year-old Kayla is a Bellator, a warrior that protects The Colony. In order to survive, there are three rules she must follow:
Rule #1—Never go out after dark.
Rule #2—Always carry a weapon.
Rule #3—No matter what, never EVER get bitten.
But what happens when the rules Kayla has always lived by can no longer apply?
The Highers run The Colony and accept nothing less than perfection. One slip up can mean death. Kayla has always worked hard to follow the rules and strive for perfection. But during a moment of weakness, she lets her imperfections show. Her punishment is worse than death. She is chosen for The Gathering and is thrown out into a world full of starving vampires.
No one has ever survived The Gathering, at least that’s what Kayla’s been told. But when she runs into a group who insist they were once part of The Gathering, Kayla discovers the Highers have been keeping secrets. Secrets that could lead to a cure
DARKNESS FALLS is the first release (March 2012) in Jessica Sorensen’s new YA Darkness Falls series. Like many premiere storylines, there is plenty of background information so that is one reason I included the publisher’s blurb. There are Bellators, Watchers, Highers (those in control), Vampires (virus induced), Day Takers (human hybrids) and Day Walkers, all of whom have come into existence through some sort of experimentation, mutation, virus or deliberate manufacturing and medical manipulation. And it is the story heroine-Kayla (aka Juniper)-that has been singled out for greater things.
Found as a young 4year child during the virus outbreak, Kayla was rescued and raised by The Colony doctor and scientist Monarch. But 13 years later, Kayla’s suspicions and memories begin to falter. She is having lapses and black outs with each ‘injection’ and with every absent moment of time, friends and others go missing. Monarch continues to aid Kayla by dosing her with ‘life saving injections’, but all too soon, Monarch himself is caught up in the web of lies and deceit that Kayla is slowing uncovering. It is during one of The Gathering ceremonies, that Kayla will find herself outside of The Colony, with 2 of her fellow Bellators. And life as she once knew it, will take on a whole new meaning when several versions of the truth are finally revealed and what actually happened behind The Red Door.
We are introduced to many different characters and individuals who will either impede Kayla’s progress or add to her confusion about The Colony and what is represents. Tristan is a young man who considers himself mate and protector: Bernard will find himself on the outside, with a new look on life: Maci is a young 7year old with powers to see into the future: Taggart will act as The Colony mortician: and Gabrielle (Higher) who is suddenly interested in Kayla’a refusal to adhere to the rules. But it is the people she meets along the way into the city that will help reveal more about her life than she had ever thought possible.
One of Kayla’s first encounters will be will the vampires. And although she is well aware that the virus has infected these once-human like creatures, it is the vampire’s reactions to Kayla that will place the young Bellator at an even greater risk with the others outside of The Colony. Meeting up and finding a kindred spirit in Aiden, Kayla soon realizes that many of the stories she was once told, have been lies. But there is something about Aiden that will tug at her memories. And the truth is most likely somewhere in between. Hoping to help Kayla retrieve her memories, Aiden explains that the daily injections given by her ‘father’ Monarch have some side-effects that have come in very handy at times and others that could end her life. But it is her meeting with Sylas that will finally force Kayla to make a decision about the direction and risks she is willing to take. With the missing pieces of the puzzle, Kayla knows her next step will either end in misery or finding a cure for something that may not have been an act of nature-after all. And the truth-at this point-everything and everyone is a lie.
DARKNESS FALLS is a terrific start to a new series. Again, there is plenty of background information that must be acknowledged, but the information is necessary to follow the storyline and the characters. Speaking of characters, by the end of the first book, we are not sure whom to believe. Each having their own special ability brought on by medical manipulation and experimentation, it is the lies and the deceit that will have you wondering-just like Kayla-if anything you have read actually occurred or is all a fabricated tale to hide the truth.
Reviewed by Sandy