Monday, 2 January 2017

Review: Darkness Follows

Darkness Follows
Rating: 5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Welcome to a 'perfect' world. Where war is illegal, where harmony rules. And where your date of birth marks your destiny. But nothing is perfect. And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust? Set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America, the BROKEN trilogy is an exhilarating epic of deception, heartbreak and rebellion.

Welcome to Harmony 5: a secure prison camp where the rebellious and the Discordant are broken. Amity is their newest inmate. The rules are simple here: obedience or death. Anyone caught trying to escape is executed. But former Peacefighter, Ingo, is prepared to risk everything for freedom. And in a world this dark, what has Amity got to lose? 

Guys I don't know how to write the review for this, I really don't! I mean...I loved the first book so damn much, and I've been so excited for this and then I read it and it was amazing and it ended and I just...I need the third book like now, and I can't form the words to write this review, I can't even put my thoughts together my brain is just like SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOOOODDD! So I'll try and do my best! 

The prologue of Darkness Follows draws you in and I loved that it was similar to Broken Sky in it's use of time, it adds an air of mystery and keeps you reading and guessing because you need to find out what happened! I love how it switches between time so seamlessly and you're basically given an outline, like when you do a puzzle and you do the edges first and each trip back in time to the previous months fills in a little piece of the picture until you finish the book and you know everything that happened. I love it. I genuinely do, it's so well done and it keeps you guessing to try to figure out what happened and how this character got to be in this place, or that character doing this thing and so on. Weatherly is excellent at building up the plot until you reach the climax and it completely blows your mind and you're sitting there reading like way...that did not just happen! I love how brilliantly all the different plot threads combine!

Obviously for this book you know a lot more of what's going on than you did in the first book, but I love how Weatherly still managed to maintain the air of mystery, the tension and the sense of foreboding about the missing puzzle pieces that you're trying to work out and then when you think Amity's finally safe and it's all going to be okay boom. The Twist happens. Oh yeah. I capitalised the hell out of that. I had SUCH a bad feeling (again) as Amity goes on her little trip, and man it blew me away! I'm not going to lie, after the ending of Broken Sky I had a bad feeling from the start especially with the prologue, and that bad feeling persisted until some things where filled in and then I while I was feeling the atmosphere of the book, I was probably more chill than I'd been reading either of the two books until The Twist and the build up to The Twist. I mean...I just knew something was going to happen but I had no idea it was going to be that!

Much like Broken Sky the atmosphere in Darkness Follows is a tangible thing. You can feel it, it has an almost physical presence. You can feel the tension, the danger, the suspense and in Harmony 5 you can feel the despair and the oppressiveness. It helps bring you in to the book and it helps create the scene and where Harmony 5 is concerned I think it's completely brilliant in conjunction with what Harmony 5 quite clearly is. But more on that later. We get plenty more of the politics of the world of the book, and the spying and the backstabbing and betrayal and all of that kind of thing as we see the Resistance trying to put a stop to what's happening, and trying to get information. We get a LOT of Mac, so we get a lot more of this than Broken Sky but I feel like this is the right place in the narrative for all of this!

I have to harp on about the plot some more because genuinely, the amount of times I had a real reaction to the book made it impossible for me to read this with other people about, I was gasping, muttering to myself and sometimes just staring at the pages with my mouth hanging open after a brilliant plot twist. Sure, there's some things you can guess, but they're almost like red herrings to make you feel all safe and secure because you guessed something, right before there's a huge giant plot twist you didn't see coming that practically knocks you out when it hits you. Threads from the past and present are once again perfectly combined, with a couple of other threads to give you an engrossing plot that keeps you curious. The writing's on the wall with the characters in this book, you know who's a goodie and who's a baddie although Collie's still kind of up in the air at points! You're always trying to work out what this character is up to or what's the significance of this, and there's much bigger threads being woven in to this book. I just loved how there's always something going on, action, adventure, romance, politics, and so on.

Once again we get multi-POV's and I seriously love how Weatherly does this! Obviously we get Amity, but not as much as before I don't think, which surprisingly worked really well considering what she was up to. We get a LOT of Mac's POV, and he's the one that keeps us in the know with what's going on in the political world and what's happening with the resistance, his cover has been blown with us so I was excited to get to see his POV this book! Sorry not sorry that I was happy we didn't get Kay's POV this book. Her POV worked in the first book to show you what it's like both sides of the fence as it where, but for this book you needed to now know what was going on with her, but seeing as you kind of knew her from the first book you had a vague idea even though she still surprised me right at the end!

I loved the different POV's because while Amity has her own thing going on, for this book she's quite removed from what's going on back home and so we need Mac to show what's happening with Gunnison, what's been planned and what's been going on and what happened to the pilots! I loved getting to know Mac more, although I do find it chilling reading about Gunnison's camp as it where, and how Mac fits in there with his mask and his lies. Incredibly chilling. But his POV is so well done, I just love how Weatherly creates distinctive personalities and narratives for the characters so you can tell who it is narrating before a character name is mentioned, and each POV draws you in and adds to the story, enhancing it and keeping you in the loop so you know what's going on.

I missed the pilot's this book! I'm not going to lie, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing them in book three and I'm so stoked for that! Amity is still my favourite, and she goes through so much this book and it was great to get to see Amity struggle with herself and overcome everything throughout the course of the book, and it was all so believable and realistic. If you where in Amity's position you would feel the same. You would react the same. She changes a lot over the course of the book and I'm interested to see what she's going to be like in book three after that ending. Our poor brave and courageous Amity takes quite the beating down in this book, but it was inspiring to see her push past it, and I suspect we might see some of her struggling with what she went through. I just got Amity as a character! My wish was granted and we find out what happened to Ingo and best of all we get loads of Ingo! I really liked him in book one, so I loved getting so much of him in this book and getting to know him better and his past and I'm excited to see him again in book three! I kinda ship him and Amity, I'm not going to lie, but I did like how they bonded over the course of the book.

Like I said, I liked Mac, and I liked Sephy, and I liked Amity's little brother when I didn't want to smack him one. I mean I get why he's all hero worshipping Collie, but at the same time Amity is his sister and she went through so much. My guess was correct about Kay, she did not redeem herself at all and I can't say I was susprised. From what I can remember of her specific motivations from Broken Sky she was just trying to save her own skin and I got that, but in this book she's gone way past that, especially at the end. I think she might actually be worse than Gunnison. She's on such a power trip and she's just....she could have done so much but she made people's lives a misery instead.

Gunnison is as crazy as ever. He's completely insane...but thanks to Mac's POV we get to see a different side to him and it's terrifying. He's completely crazy...but he genuinely believes in everything he says, everything about the Discordants and the star charts and everything and I think that's so incredibly terrifying because he thinks he's doing what he has to, he thinks he's right and he's doing the right thing for everyone else.

Now Collie. Oh Collie. I was so damn suspicious of him in the first book and he lulled me in to a false sense of security and then BAM. This book I went in disliking him from the start. From the last book I knew who he really was and what he'd been doing, and thanks to the prologue I knew what he'd done. Or at least had some vague guesses about what went down. So I disliked him from the start. As the book went on, I wasn't sure. He seemed to not care. He loves Amity but he didn't try to save her or stop her being taken, he didn't try to find out what happened to her, he didn't go to her trial and he didn't try and rescue her. Now before he threw in his lot with Mac and the Resistance he had no need to maintain his image and position at Gunnison's offices so when Mac needled him some and you could see he "cared" it wasn't enough for me to forgive him for whatever he'd done to Amity, not seeing where Amity was. Then he had his little temper tantrum and then he's all woe is me and everything and I'm like're not the character I thought you where. I understand being scared, but he really bugged me with how he was acting while professing to love Amity. Then you find out what he did and it's like wow okay. It's hard, because on the one hand you get why he's scared and everything but on the other, you just want to smack him one. Like I said, I kinda started shipping Amity and Ingo, and in Broken Sky I loved Amity and Collie together. Now I'm not sure what's going to happen and I'll roll with whatever because I like both ships, but after this book I'm kinda leaning towards Ingo because he never left her behind.

The thing with the characters is that they're realistic and believable and that makes them really come to life and because of how realistic they can understand their motivations and why they do something whether good or bad. Especially in this situation. You might not like it, but you get it, so with characters like Collie it's hard to decide how you feel about them after they do something. I'm hoping book three will reignite my love for him and Amity! I'm also hoping it'll give us more of Vera and Harlan! I just love the characters and how Weatherly brings them to life for you! I missed the pilots, but this book was more politically focused and we got a different set of characters, and I'm looking forward to both being combined in book three and getting to see some more dogfights!

Now on to the world of the book! It continues to be original, well thought out and well created, as well as having a rich history and politics to it. I'm still not sure what to describe this book as, Mac's parts felt so much like a WW2 spy thriller, while most of it is very dystopian and some parts seemingly historical but with a twist that fits the book and I love this blend of things. It's just so easy to jump in to the world of the book, and when I started reading Darkness Follows it was like I'd never left. Genuinely. I have such a clear image in my head of this world and the characters, who are so brilliantly created, including the secondary ones! I've said it before, and I'll say it again.....this book trilogy should be a movie. It's so damn cinematically written it leaps off the page and as you read it starts to play out on a little screen in your brain. I have this mental image of the world with like a grey/sepia tone to it, with a film noir feel!

Most of all I love how Weatherly has thrown in some very real WW2 elements. I'm going to sound like such an old person here but I don't know about schools/teenagers in this day and age, but when I was at school (it really wasn't as long ago as I'm making it sound I swear!) we learned aaaalllll about WW2. Now the Dunkirk hashtag that I stumbled across last week made me wonder if teenagers are currently learning about WW2 and if so how much. This is a YA book and the people who read it are going to pick up on things and seeing these characters go through things, experiencing these things with them, gives a valuable insight in to the past and what it must have been like. I think it makes people more compassionate and gives a level of understanding that wouldn't normally be there, call me weird but there you go. Weatherly does a fantastic job of giving you enough truth in this book to make you think, to make you feel and to put yourself in the place not only of the characters, but of the people of the past.

Harmony 5 is quite clearly a concentration camp. Not exactly the same, obviously, but there are enough echoes of the truth and the past that it really hits you hard when you come across something and you can see the history in it. It hit me hard in Broken Sky and it hit me hard here. You feel exactly as the people of the time must have felt. It's emotional. Harmony 5 is a "correction camp", and I knew going in that it was a twist on a concentration camp, and as I read more and more about it, I got more and more emotional. Like I said, this is an alternate WW2 so it's not exactly the same but there's enough reality there to pack a punch as you see Amity go through the camp and the camp life. Gunnison being projected talking all the time, trying to brainwash and indoctrinate. How the "campers" where spoken to and treated by the Guns who are pretty much the secret police, especially the ones with the shadow cars. How they get to Harmony 5, what happened when they arrived. So much of it was reminiscent of a concentration camp and it really hit me hard.

I got to go on a school trip to Berlin back when I was doing history, we saw plenty of the usual sights. The Berlin Wall, museums, other landmarks, a prison. But we also went to visit Sachsenhausen and that experience has and will stay with me for my entire life. It was horrifying. Chilling. I can't begin to describe to you what it was like walking around that place, imaging what it must have been like, seeing what went on there. There are no words. Weatherly evokes in writing what I can't put in to words, you feel what it must have been like, you get the sense of horror and despair and doing what you have to, to survive. I really do applaud Weatherly for these books because while it may just be a YA book to some people, I view this trilogy with its strong echoes of the past as a way to educate teens, to make them empathise with history, if that makes sense?

There are plenty of other incredibly strong echoes of WW2, to quote my review of Broken Sky..... "A leader who decides to persecute people for something they have no control over. You have said persecuted people having to wear a letter on their clothes to mark what they are. Correction camps. The group called the Guns who where pretty much the Secret Police. Behaviour exactly like what I imagine it was like in WW2 Germany. A mindset of do what you can to survive even if you have to betray people." but this echo, Harmony 5, really gave the book an emotional punch.

Darkness Follows is a brilliant sequel, the world pulls you right back in, and you easily slip back in to it. I read this in one sitting, it's so hard to put down and I know the wait for the final book is going to be hard after the twists and the ending, and with everything I'm guessing we'll see in the next book. Darkness Follows is dark, and mind blowing. It makes you feel, feel what the characters feel, feel on behalf of the characters. Weatherly's writing is just brilliant. Like I've said before, compelling, intriguing, and vivid. She paints a picture with her words, and builds a world so rich and evocative that you get lost in it. She creates an atmosphere perfectly to fit with the scenes and the narrative, and she has you on the edge of your seat. These books are a truly phenomenal read, and you're missing out if you haven't read them yet! 


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