Friday, May 10, 2013

Tour Review: Darkness of Light, by Stacey Marie Brown

Hey guys and welcome to my spot on the Darkness of Light tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours! Below you can find more info about the book and author as well as my review, and an international giveaway at the very bottom :)

Release date: February 15, 2013
Publisher: Twisted Fairy Publishing
Format: ebook / paperback, 298 pages

Goodreads description:
DARKNESS OF LIGHT is a Mature YA/New Adult Paranormal Romance

Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.

Stacey Marie Brown works by day as an Interior/Set Designer and by night a writer of paranormal fantasy, adventure, and literary fiction. When she’s not writing, she’s out hiking, spending time with friends, traveling, listening to music, or designing.

I’m not going to lie, what first drew me to this book was the beautiful cover. It’s not just pretty but also relates to the story and represents it really well! Darkness of Light truly is a mixture of both these things: it has elements that are sinister and threatening but it’s also a fun read with great, sarcastic humor and a strong-spirited heroine!

Ember has never fit in anywhere. With her different-color eyes and two-toned hair, she has always stood out and been the object of suspicion. Strange things and accidents happen around her. Because she sees things other people cannot see, she has also spent time on the psych ward until she learnt to lie about her ‘hallucinations’ and was discharged. She is a character with a dark and painful past who is trying to make the best of the present. Since her mother’s death, she has been living with her stepfather, and I really liked how important he was in her life! Very often, the home life of protagonists is pretty much left out, but Ember and Mark have a close relationship and he is a father to her in everything but blood. Despite knowing that she is not quite normal, he stands up for her when she’s in trouble.

And trouble there is. Once more, Ember is being related to a fire that broke out at her school. There is no direct proof, but the sheriff has it out for her, and his word is pretty much the law in their small town. Ember is sent to Silverwood, a school for troubled teens at the edge of the Washington woods. Silverwood is a setting I really enjoyed, including the teachers and other kids Ember meets there. I thought the situation was rendered realistically and without resorting to convenient clichés like the evil principal (she’s awesome!) or general bad treatment of kids (not happening), but it also wasn’t idealized as some kind of sanctuary of the merely misunderstood.

Easily my favorite thing about the novel was the dialogue! At this point I have to mention Ember’s two best friends, Ryan and Kennedy. They were a great trio of outcasts, and both Ryan and Kennedy had their own strong voices and personalities. The three of them together had me cracking up all the time and I loved how loyal they were to each other!

Speaking of dialogue, I have to bring in Eli. Ember first meets him at the police station where he is handcuffed to a chair; later it turns out he does community service at Silverwood and they have to be around one another all the time. Eli is basically sex on a stick… or more like, on a Harley. Before you peg this as the typical good girl – bad boy thing, remember that Ember isn’t really a good girl, she’s snarky and a rule-breaker. Eli is a mystery, at one point reacting to Ember’s interest in him and then seemingly disgusted by her a moment later. There is something strange and different about him, and he (as well as his maybe-girlfriend) seems to know more about Ember than she does herself.

Their arguments and conversations were awesome! There were so many ‘oh-my-god-(s)he-did-NOT-just-say-that!’ moments that left me with my jaw hanging open. I loved it. Their interactions never felt forced and the mixture of attraction and repulsion between them was tangible. I also liked that there was no talk of ‘love’ after only a few days of knowing him and that Ember always keeps in the back of her head that whatever else he is, he is also very dangerous. Nevertheless, I do admit that sometimes I thought there was a bit much of the whole ‘you are bad for me but I want to do naughty things to your off-limits body’ theme, but that might well be personal. Regardless of it, I enjoyed their interactions (oh the tension! *fans self*) and burst out laughing on the train way too often.

More and more, Ember realizes that strange things are happening, that her dreams and hallucinations might be more than just that, and that both she, Eli, and a group of people around him must be more than simply human. There is also Torrin, a guy who keeps appearing in her dreams speaking of danger but refuses to ever answer her questions. He claims to protect her but I had a problem with his attitude.

Another really strong point of the book is the mystery. What is Ember? Is she the same as Eli? What really happened to her mother? Who was her father? What are her abilities? I had a hard time even coming up with theories! Nothing ever quite fit all the elements. At some point I was fairly sure I had Eli pegged, but I was wrong. Darkness of Light is a novel that will really keep you guessing until the end! The revelation, when it came, made a lot of sense though, but it also leads to some of my small parts of criticism of the book. I’d always found it easy to connect with Ember, but I didn’t quite buy her reaction to finding out what is really going on and to the events that happen at the very very end. Still, after that bomb of an ending I really need to know what happens next!

Overall, Darkness of Light is a great read on the edge of mature YA and NA that puts a twist on your usual paranormal novel. The plot is well thought-out with a mystery that keeps you guessing and characters that draw you in and make you feel for them. The dialogue is absolutely fantastic and the tension between Ember and Eli is off the charts! Stacey Marie Brown does a good job navigating around many of the typical YA paranormal clichés. If you’re looking for a read away from the usual urban high school setting and happen to love sarcasm, snark, and some dark themes, you really should give this book a try!

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