“I’m different. I’m dangerous. I’m almost certainly not human. And if I want to stay alive, no one can know.”
She is not human. Of that she is sure, for how else can she explain starting fires with a thought and stripping abilities from others she touches? Life after The Flash is controlled by the Imperial Federation, the power that imposed order on the few remaining outposts of humans. Toxic clouds poison the air and the deadly sun destroys everything. In New Vienna, surrounded by humans, Lu’s life is constantly in danger. Burying her powers is the key to survival, and gloves keep her powers at bay. If her secret were discovered, she would be labelled Aberrant, a creature to be captured and harvested.
“Cleaned. Killed, only worse, because she’d still be alive, trapped inside a body immobilized by drugs, her marrow harvested from her bones . . .”
Lu keeps her powers under control, until the day she sees an elderly woman abused at her work. Reacting instinctively, the result is clearly the work of an Aberrant. The Grand Minister is sent and Lu is recognized as an Aberrant. She is promised a reunion with her birth mother, but she flees, terrified. Discovering her father murdered, she is collared and shot with tranquilizers. Escaping, but at the end of her strength, she reaches her way out only to be stopped by a scarred man, inches away from freedom.
Magnus, the man who rescues Aberrants. The man she remembers from adolescent, all-too-real dreams. He rescues her and introduces her to her people, the Ikati. Lu has a twin named Honor, and a birth name she does not recall: Hope. The hidden Ikati have been rescuing others for years, trying to find their Queen, Hope and Honor’s mother, who was captured the day of the Flash. Strewn to the winds, the Ikati are gathering in hidden communities, rescuing others, and plotting how to save their kind from the IF.
Drawn to Magnus, through a remembered past in dreams, Lu doesn’t understand why he is so distant as she tries to find her place in this new world. Her ties to the Ikati are clear, and now she is expected to save them. The Ikati’s days are numbered by the IF, and Magnus and Lu must go to New Vienna and rescue the Ikati from their top secret prison, or die trying.
4 out of 5 Whatzits.
Starting out in diary form, “Into Darkness” gets you interested in Lumina/Hope’s journey, and shows you her powers and her rapport with Magnus. The stakes are high, and you feel Lu’s predicament. (Right there with you, girl!) She is compassionate, smart and intriguing. The transition to third person in Part Two is a little strained, but once again, as the story flows, you get immersed in Lu’s life. The danger draws you in. When we get the perspective from Magnus, their connection is established, especially as the reader speculates who he is when he appears. The trouble is when we get the perspective of not only the Grand Minister, but also Sebastian Thorne (the head of the IF) and Honor, and Jenna, and various members of the Ikati. It gives us information that drives the plot forward, but it jars you out of the story.
The action is fast-paced, and the romance that started very YA (“Does he like me; no he doesn’t”) veered into the steamy once Lu and Magnus gave into their attraction. They make a good team venturing into danger, and their relationship works. The premise of the dystopian world, the different cultures drawn in through the Ikati enclaves and the remaining human cities show great world-building. Now I’ll have to go back and read the stories leading up to this bleak future and enjoy how she set it up. Enjoy this one because even with a few bumps, it is worth the ride!