Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.
This week it’s yet another audiobook–Darkness Brutal by Rachel A Marks, a young adult, paranormal urban fantasy, narrated by Will Damron. It was released in July 2015 by Brilliance Audio.
Seventeen year old Aidan O’Linn has the ability to see the spiritual world, the ghosts, demons and angels which inhabit it. Since the night his young sister, Ava, was marked by a demon, his sole purpose has been to protect her from being claimed by the darkness. The demons want her and nothing will stop them. With their mother dead and Ava in foster care, Aidan is trying to stay under the radar, living on the street and keeping his strange abilities secret. He sometimes works for eccentric and wealthy club owner, Eric, who collects artefacts. Aidan can translate the ancient inscriptions and tell if the objects are genuine by their energy.
Demon activity is beginning to escalate as Ava’s 12th birthday approaches. Since that first time when she was three, the demon has tried to claim Ava every subsequent three years and Aidan is despairing of the situation. He is given the number of someone who helps troubled young people who also have extraordinary gifts. Sid, the mysterious mentor, has several other teenagers living under his protection. Together they comprise LA Paranormal, a reality show fighting demons and ghosts. Keeping the extent of his abilities, and particularly Ava’s, secret from Sid and the rest of his house mates, he joins the group.
Mom made me say it over and over: Keep it hidden, keep it safe. If anyone truly knew everything, it would freak them out in a large way. It freaks the shit out of me too, so I get it. I have no clue how I know this stuff, I just do. Like how I know the orders of angels and demons, or can tell on sight if an apparition is a ghost or a time slip, or if someone’s a virgin, or if they’ve ever killed anyone.
The story is told from Aidan’s point of view, in the present and during the flashbacks to his childhood. I liked Aidan and the way he was portrayed as a more mature teen, not driven by raging hormones. Probably due to life he lead up to this point. He has the best of intentions, with regard to caring for his sister and the two troubled girls in the group, but his and others’ reluctance to share their pasts and secrets while wanting everyone else to be honest, is sometimes a little irritating. Aidan develops well though, and finds out more about himself, his family and his powers as the story progresses.
The supporting characters are interesting and hopefully will be fleshed out more as the series continues. The integrating witchcraft, biblical and demonology themes works well alongside great storytelling and plot. It has all the ingredients for a successful young adult urban fantasy and one that will also appeal to a wider age range, if paranormal and/or urban fantasy is your thing. Good pacing with plenty of tension and intrigue and the ending leaves enough ambiguities for book two. Excellent narration by Will Damron, the tone and characterisation just right. I especially loved Aidan’s ‘voice’.
Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.