Publisher: Shelby Anonymous
Date of publication: January 4, 2019
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Dystopia
Within the Darkness—book 2
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.”
— Aldous Huxley
Aubrey has done it. She has teleported herself to “the hidden domain” and have managed to bring along her dream boy, Nathan, and nemesis/ex-besty Adelaide. But how could this be? They were all just at a party. No one knew getting into the backyard shed and saying the “magic words” would work. And the three are absolutely stunned. But the world Aubrey thought would be a wonderful paradise is actually a nightmare. As beautiful and enchanting as it is, Wisteria is like jumping down the rabbit hole with the Devil waiting on the sidelines.
The people are different in this world. They are monsters, and not just physically. The Moss Wall is supposed to serve as a protection, separating the demons from the non-demons, but that doesn’t mean Aubrey and her friends are safe. Non-demon Aristocrats are nasty and cruel, indulging in their favorite daily past-time: the torture of the red maidens.
And as for the handsome demon boy who wants Aubrey’s soul? “You’ll never escape,” warned fairies swooping down on her.
But Aubrey, Nathan, and Adelaide won’t go down without a fight. They simply must make it to the safe house and find their way out of the realm. Thankfully The Underground Annual is on its way. It is the biggest party, an explosive rave that happens once a year. And now it is their only window of opportunity. But will their plan succeed?
I rarely do this but I am going to start this review off with a warning. Within the Darkness is a graphic book. I am not shocked by things that I read. Not at all. But even I had to do take a step back at the casual, extreme violence that was showcased in the book.
I will include a trigger warning with this book because it needs it. The triggers are rape, drug use, physical abuse, mental illness, cutting and talk of suicide. If you are triggered by any of these, then skip reading this review and the book.
Within the Darkness starts off with right after the events of Something. Audrey, Nathan, and Adelaide have been transported to Wisteria. Very soon after arriving in Wisteria, they find out that the magical land they were sent too has a dark side. Sexual assault, drug use, murder, and violence are the norm in Wisteria. Monsters roam the street and the forests. Audrey, Nathan, Adelaide, and Morgan are soon pushed right into the thick of it. They are captured by a sadistic Auntie and her sidekicks. Forced to endure and do things that they would never do, they vow to escape and go to a safe house. They find their chance when they realize that there is a rave that is held only once a year. They hope to escape in the crush of people. Can they do it? Can they survive until then?
I thought that the plot of Within the Darkness was well written. The urgency that Audrey, Nathan, and Adelaide felt was palpable. Their terror at being in a world where graphic violence was the norm was palpable. If I had seen some of the things they did, I would have freaked out at the beginning.
I will admit that the amount of violence showcased in the book was a bit off-putting at first. But, as I got deeper into the book, I came to realize that the violence was part of Wisteria. Audrey came to realize that towards the end of the book. It’s hard to explain without giving away major spoilers. All I will say is that I had an “Aha” moment the minute Audrey realized it too.
Audrey: I wasn’t a fan of Audrey in the first book. So, I went into reading Within the Darkness with a little bit of prejudice against her. She took Nathan and Adelaide into Wisteria against their will. Which was kind of a dick thing to do. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I liked her but I did start to understand her. She was struggling with an untreated mental illness. It caused her to do things that she regretted after the fact. She did try to make things right. She tried to get them to the safe house. But she also got them into some pretty hairy situations.
I thought Audrey’s struggle with her mental illness was spot on. I also thought that her coping mechanisms (the cutting, sex, and drugs) were spot on also.
Nathan: I felt bad for him in this book. He was dragged into a world that was alien by his stalker. Plus, he had his girlfriend to protect. I didn’t blame him for how he felt about Audrey. Heck, I would have felt the same way. I did admire how he didn’t allow the violence of Wisteria to influence him. I was the only person at Ambrose’s parties that didn’t drink or do drugs (that I can recall). He also loved Adelaide.
Adelaide: I didn’t have any feelings towards Adelaide during the first half of the book. I did sympathize with her. I also understood her anger at Audrey. Who wouldn’t have been angry? She didn’t evoke any sort of strong reactions from me. I did start to like her after what happened to her at Auntie’s. I am not going to go into what happened but it made her a stronger person.
Morgan: She was the only one out of the foursome that I didn’t like. She was a junkie looking for a fix. She would do whatever it took to get her drugs. Even if that meant selling out the people she was traveling with. She was the only person in the group that wasn’t disgusted by the violence in Wisteria. It actually turned her on. I was hoping that she was eaten by something or killed. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
My Thoughts on the Book
I did enjoy reading Within the Darkness. The author did a fantastic job with world building. I liked how she incorporated Japanese/Asian themes in the book. It made for an interesting background for what was happening in that realm.
There were parts of the book that made me wince while reading it. The treatment of the red-maidens was a huge part of that. A close second was how the Main World girls were treated. The casual violence towards those women was cringeworthy. I winced while reading those parts of the book.
The end of Within the Darkness was a cliffhanger. I wasn’t surprised by what happened. I was surprised that it happened with such ease. The author did not wrap up storylines. So I am expecting most of them to be carried on into book 3.
I would give Within the Darkness an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is explicit violence. This is not a book for anyone under the age of 21.
I would reread Within the Darkness. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would make sure to tell them about the triggers.
I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Within the Darkness.
All opinions stated in this review of Within the Darkness are mine.
Have you read Within the Darkness?
Let me know!!