Author: Elizabeth Arroyo
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Carly Lopez suffers from post-traumatic stress, though the “post” part technically doesn’t apply…not when the killer is still out there. As the only survivor of the killing spree that left four dead girls in its wake, Carly fails to unearth her buried memories of that day and is consumed with guilt. After a year of silence, the killer is back, and Carly will stop at nothing to catch him. With each new death, Carly’s reality shatters, propelling her deeper into the darkness where the dead haunt her—but where the truth lies. Her only firm grasp of reality is Hunter Jackson, whose mysterious overprotectiveness of Carly forces her to doubt the reason behind her guilt. But Hunter has a secret. And when Carly discovers a horrible truth, she questions her involvement in the murders. Was she directly responsible? Did she help the killer? Carly soon learns that finding answers may mean risking more than just her sanity.
When I received a copy of Darkness I expected a thrilling ride, having previously read Elizabeth Arroyo’s Second Sign series, however the difference here is that Darkness retains a sense of realism.
In Darkness Elizabeth Arroyo captures the atmosphere and hopelessness in a town where a number of young girls have been kidnapped and murdered. This pessimism resonates throughout the course of the story, particularly as the main character, Carly, is obsessed with the police investigation.
Carly is presumed to be depressed, after she was present when her best friend was taken from the playground a year prior to the start of Darkness. Carly’s therapist is unsuccessfully attempting to unlock her memories of the incident to help the police; instead the ones which resurface are not her own, but those of the missing girls.
The first-half of the novel is slow-paced and at times I felt as though I was wading through the narrative, but I never lost interest. I felt that this was an intentional move on the author’s part because she wants her reader completely immersed in the mystery, before the more frightening second half.
Carly’s determination to find the perpetrator means she makes stupid decisions, putting herself and those around her in danger, but I found myself asking if I would do the same. Elizabeth Arroyo taps into the psyche of a teenage girl who has suffered trauma and needs a resolution to the situation which now controls her. On the other hand the author reveals Carly’s need for something outsid of the investigation, manifested in her relationship with Hunter. Hunter’s involvement in her life is for reasons neither we, or Carly expect and this provides us with more drama!
For any reader, who like me thinks they have pieced the puzzle of Darkness together, be warned that Elizabeth Arroyo’s plot is more complicated than it appears.
I really enjoyed the originality of Darkness and Elizabeth Arroyo’s way of blending the supernatural and mystery with a dark reality. This is a fantastic book for mature Young Adult readers who want an edgy story!