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This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Into Darkness by Hayley Barrett
Published by Double Dragon Publishing on August 17th 2015
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Fifteen-year-old Alexandra Spencer’s life was not supposed to turn out this way. She was not supposed to go on trial for a crime she did not commit. She was not supposed to be found guilty. And she was not supposed to be sent to Elder Grey Detention Centre, a place of horrors many don’t survive.
She is however, supposed to be the daughter of the wealthiest, most influential man in the post-apocalyptic New Zealand city of New Phoenix.
But apparently, she isn’t.
Shell-shocked and struggling to understand why she is no longer a member of the city’s ruling family, Alexandra is torn from her privileged life by the churlish young guard, Will Metcalfe, and forced to trek for three weeks through deadly wilderness to her place of imprisonment. Her journey with Will is a constant battle for survival, where she is never sure who is the real enemy. It is also journey into the truth about the safe and lavish world from which she has been cast. Through Will, she learns of a mutant race called Drifters living in the wilderness who are being preyed upon by New Phoenix’s guards—Drifter’s blood being a life saving cure-all elixir for the city’s inhabitants.
As Alex struggles to cope with her new life in Elder Grey, an act of friendship ends in tragedy. When someone she thought was an enemy pulls her from her despair, Alex discovers that old friends cannot be trusted, prejudice is another word for fear, and trust, not blood ties, make a family.
All in all, I really liked this one.
Alex drove me crazy for the first few chapters – to the point where I thought I was going to have to drop out of the book tour because I thought I was going to have to write less than a four star review. But Alex really begins to grow as a person, and by the end I actually really liked her, though she wasn’t my favorite person.
I did wish that there was more time spent in the prison system in this dystopian world, and less time spent on Alex’s and Will’s travels to Elder Gray prison – the book was spent about 50%-50% evenly.
There were some other minor things that drove me crazy – there’s talk of technology, yet there aren’t any vehicles or other forms of transportation, that just seemed off. There’s talk of Alex being in a hospital, but no explanation of why, but that’s how her father finds out she isn’t really her daughter (but why did it take her father so long to find out the truth, when her mother’s been dead all these years? What changed? I thought there was going to be more to the story, but nothing…). The whole bit about the hospital just seemed thrown into the story line so that Alex’s father can find out he isn’t really her father.
It also drove me a little crazy that they made the outback seem so scary and so dangerous (and the chances of surviving so few), and then the author talks so much about the “drifters” that were vampire-like creatures, yet the journey wasn’t really that scary and the drifters you meet were much nicer, friendlier, and personable then the humans, with one exception.
All in all, however, I really liked the world that the characters were living in, and I did really like the story line, the pacing and the character development was great. Even though I did have some issues with the book, overall I really enjoyed this one, especially about a 1/3 of the way in and the whole rest of the book. I did feel the ending was a bit rushed, but maybe that’s also because I was upset that the book was over?
Excerpt From Chapter 2
The silhouette of a man standing in front of me blocked what little light filtered through the trees. He was tall and lean, and in my way. I stifled a scream and turned to run—something about the way this man had arrived suddenly in front of me told me he was unlikely to help.
His arm shot out, grabbing my forearm in a grip tight enough to make me squeal.
With a twist of his wrist, he pulled me to him so my back was against his torso. Before I could open my mouth to scream, he’d clamped a giant and dirty hand across my face.
Something glinted in the darkness, and the point of a knife pressed into the flesh on my neck. I tried to shout but all that escaped from beneath his hand was a tiny, high-pitched hiccup. I was going to die and I hadn’t even made it a day from home. I fought back tears and dared not move.
“That’s better,” he said in my ear. “What made you think you could run from me?”
He didn’t expect an answer; he was still pressing his grimy hand against my face.
“Now, I’m going to uncover your mouth. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep quiet. Okay?”
I said nothing.
“Okay?” The knife pressed harder into my skin.
I whimpered and managed a nod, too scared to scream. I doubted there was anyone out here that would hear me anyway.
“Good.” He loosened his grip and turned me to face him. A strip of moonlight fell across his face, showing off sharp, intimidating features.