Tuesday, January 29

Darkness Rising by Lis Wiehl

Darkness is moving around East Salem. After the events in Waking Hours the darkness is getting worse. After discovering the person behind a gruesome murder, Dani and Tommy wade deeper in the supernatural world. No longer is it a fringe element, with angels and demons making their appearance. Working together, they realize that a nearby school, St. Adrian’s, has a deeper role to play in the mystery than they first thought. But what is that role? Where does the school stand?

After the fairly conventional whodunit tale found in the first book, Darkness Rising takes a sudden turn. I opened the book expecting another murder mystery but got something else entirely. For one, the supernatural element was much stronger. Its low profile in the first book was one of my biggest complaints about the story, and I was excited to see more of the supernatural work its way into the story. Unfortunately, part way through I was wishing otherwise.

The world that Wiehl creates seems incomplete and rather boring. Early in the story a character allows a demon to possess him, which causes him to become a bit different, including changing the sorts of food he likes and the type of jokes he tells. The possession doesn’t seem realistic in the slightest, though that isn’t to say that the story needed to be a spin off of The Exorcist. But if Satan and demons are supposed to be deceivers then this one was a lousy deceiver. What part of demonic possession would cause food tastes to change? What part of it would cause the demon to not realize the sorts of jokes this guy would tell? It sounded like the evil plan had been a long time in the making, surely supernatural creatures wouldn’t make such clumsy mistakes.

While I thought the Dani and Tommy were fairly boring in the first novel they were at least likeable. Their characters are much closer in this book, and they were even less interesting. Tommy has this weird obsession with gadgets, which coincidentally helps them find clues, though they mainly come up when there is a clue to be found. They felt like a cheap way to move the plot forward and for the most part felt out of place.

However, the most disappointing part of the story was the ending. Or rather, the lack of it. It felt like the trend that is happening in movies, where one story gets split into two. In the final pages, I thought the story was building to a climatic event, but by the final paragraphs it fizzle, leaving only a large opening for the sequel. I don’t mind cliffhangers, and some of the best serve to increase the tension in the story. But for there to be a cliffhanger, there first as to be the top of a cliff. At most, the end of Darkness Rising felt like a small hill, and left me unsatisfied.

The story lost any momentum the first book created and I feel that I’m at a standstill in the story. I have no desire to pick up the third book to see if it gets going again.

1/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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