PUBLICATION DATE: OCTOBER 02, 2012
arkness Risingpicks up shortly after the events of Waking Hours. Slowly Dani and Tommy have begun to put together the pieces of a very disturbing plot by the administers of St. Adrian’s academy. The picture that’s emerging is not only scary but proves to be a great test their faith in God as well as each other. When Abby Gardner is killed and her son is discovered to be missing, the mystery deepens further and forces Dani and Tommy to bring into their confidences two very unlikely people—both of their ex-fiancés, Quinn and Cassandra. With the help of the enigmatic Ben Whitehorse and equally mysterious art expert Julian Villanegre, they are able to decipher part of Abby’s cryptic message. In the process they learn the history of East Salem plays an integral part in the present events. However, when the small group is infiltrated, the progress they’ve made risks being exposed to the enemy. With events spinning out of control and the forces of evil gaining strength, can Dani, Tommy, and their friends find the answers and the faith to fight against the demonic forces rising in East Salem?
When I finished Waking Hours last year I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue this series. The characters didn’t resonate well with me and the pacing was such that the ending totally blindsided me (in a negative way). Furthermore, I was quite skeptical about whether I liked the direction this series was going, but based on Lis’s last two Triple Threat novels I decided to continue the East Salem series. Without a doubt, Darkness Rising is a significant improvement. The introduction of Quinn adds a very interesting, dynamic character to the group while opening an area for internal conflict and allowing for the further development of Dani and Tommy’s relationship. Additionally, his presence helps to balance some of the perfection of the other characters.
I was very skeptical when this series hinted at taking a turn into the realm of spiritual warfare. It came so unexpectedly, that I wasn’t sure if it was going to be integral to the story or simply a popular story device to add a little spice to the series. As it turns out, this part of the story is nicely developed and is a good addition. Also, by tying it into the town’s history, it adds one of my favorite story elements—the past directly affecting the present.
Darkness Rising is much more complex than the first book in this series. At times diving into the science is somewhat confusing, but by integrating the ubber-intelligent Quinn as the conduit for much of this information it lets the blondes (like me) of this world feel a lot less intimidated. At times I simply faked understanding without losing much of the story. However, I did understand enough of the scientific explanation to grasp the complexity and originality of the concept presented. Not to mention it has a disturbing ring of truth that makes me want to do some independent research to confirm the accuracy of parts of it.
I have a couple of complaints though. There are some information ‘dumps’–whether historical background, spiritual, or technological—that tends to throw off the pacing. Additionally, the parts that focus on Dani and Tommy’s relationship issues feel forced and more like a teaching moment for the author rather than a fluid discussion or progression. Lastly, there are a couple of instances of flat writing that sucks the emotion from what should be tense or touching scenes. These are all relatively minor, but they did temporarily pull me from the story.
Though I was quite reluctant to start this book, I’m glad I gave it a chance. It’s a definite improvement over the first book and offers an interesting and engaging storyline. The new characters at times overshadow the returning ones, but are a welcome addition to the story. With a strong, open ended conclusion, I’m very much looking forward to the final book coming out September 2013.