Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: The Darkness by Crystal Connor

The Darkness
by Crystal Connor
Release Date: December 1st, 2010
2010 Bennett & Hastings Publishing
Softcover Edition; 266 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-934733-37-0
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Speculative
Source: Review copy from Pump Up Your Book

4 / 5 Stars

Artemisia, a scientist who also practices alchemy, is wealthy beyond imagination. She is one of the founding members of the Skyward Group, a privately funded, secret, research facility conducting experiments that erase what tradition has established as the boundaries separating the realm of man from the realm of God. Artemisia has everything she wants - money, fame, knowledge and power - except for a child. Inanna is a powerful and dangerous witch, also wealthy beyond imagination. Her powers are greater and more deadly than any in the long tradition before her. Inanna has everything she wants - money, knowledge and God-like power - except for a child.

The Child has nothing. At three months of age, he knows only what he has experienced through the bars of his locked cage. He has nothing. He doesn't have a mommy. He doesn't have a daddy. He doesn't have a name. The scientists who created him do not handle him, because they know The Child is dangerous. 

Two women clash in a vicious battle that has been fought since the days of King Solomon - the fight over a child. One woman unleashes the nightmarish arsenal of modern science while the other dispatches the weaponries of witchcraft. And as The Child grows up, his love for one and resentment for the other will change the fate of both these women, forever.

My Thoughts
The Darkness, Crystal Connor's debut novel, is an intriguing blend of speculative fiction, mixed with horror, suspense, science fiction, mystery, and a bit of urban paranormal; and yet, it really does not fit into any of these traditional genre categories as it tends to eschew the normal trappings of femininity and power in a way that was unique and different.

Even though it took me awhile to get into the rhythm of the story, especially as I didn't grasp the different POV's right away nor did I quite pick up on the different time eras as they jumped around quite a bit, until several chapters in, I found the eerie atmostphere of the story to be intriguing.  There is this grown-up child, already a dangerous character, thrown at you without rhyme or reason, just these delicious tidbits given to you, something that sends deep chills and fear into one of the main characters and sends her world upside down.  And you want to know right then and there what is going on, who this character is, and why this character is spreading such deep fear into a team of scientists known for their audacity and their foray into projects that other scientiest wouldn't dare touch. 

While you have your basic good witch/bad witch story, the twists and turns to it are so amazing that everything you think and everything you believe get turned upside down.  You have Artemesia on one side, an alchemist and very powerful scientist who is addicted to the sight, touch, and feel of gold; she is also someone who will do everything in her power to keep, and get more of, her precious jewels.  And then there is Inanna, an extremely powerful witch who mixes with demons and other dark creatures in order to get what she wants from life.  When I thought I had everything straight in my mind, the two worlds of these women slowly collided and everything I thought I believed got turned upside down, and the ones I thought were evil were not, and the ones I thought were good were actually evil.  And the conclusion?  Can I say I was shocked?  Oh, yes, completely shocked, and it's still reeling through my head.  Wow!  And the best part is the author warns you in the novel how the novel will probably end, but I won't spoil it by telling you how, and I just glossed over it as if it meant nothing.  I have got to stop taking things for granted and start paying attention!!

And Adam, the poor baby who gets rescued twice in this novel, the telekinetic child with amazing capabilities, is manipulated all of his life, but who is really his true mother? I felt sorry for what he was going through, and yet, I even hated him at times for some of the things he did.  I felt sympathy for Artemesia when I should have been paying attention to what was said 'between the lines', and perhaps been more sympathetic towards Adam.  I have to give a lot of credit to Ms. Connor and her writing ability as she was certainly able to manipulate me very well.  (But it won't happen again, I hope?!?!)   Again, I was surprised by what I read as it was not what I was expecting, but that made it so much better.  And I loved Grandee, the modern-day Merlin, and wished I could have learned more about his character as he seemed to interesting and powerful. I felt far more connected to Inanna and Adam than I did to Artemesia and I am not sure if that was done deliberately was an aspect of her colder personality, while Inanna is actually a more loving and more nurturing person.  It's hard to say, but it did leave something wanting for me with regards to Artemesia as I felt like I didn't get to know her or the people in her life as well I as I could have. 

The Darkness is an enjoyable novel with many twists and turns.  The blend of genres helped keep the plot suspenseful as it drew on many different aspects such as history, magic, suspense, science fiction, mystery, and even murder.  I am looking forward to reading the sequel to this novel, Artificial Light, when it is released.