Double review

‘Darkness Trilogy’ – L. M. Justus

L. M. Justus

L. M. Justus

About the author:

Lisa Justus’ path to becoming an author took a circuitous route through the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, followed by jobs in quality assurance and technical writing at a high-tech company. With a keen interest in creative fiction, she wrote her first fantasy novel as part of NaNoWriMo as well as an early chapter book for her kids when they were younger. Welcome to the Darkness and Darkness Reigns are the first two books of the Darkness Trilogy, a young adult paranormal fantasy.

These days Lisa is busy writing her next novel, reading, finishing her basement, doing volunteer work, and trying to stay in shape by running somewhat regularly. She, her husband, and their three children live in Ottawa, Ontario.

Author links:

Facebook / Twitter / Web / Goodreads

‘Welcome to the Darkness’ (Book One)


Welcome to the Darkness

Welcome to the Darkness

A typical teenager, seventeen-year-old Reed Hennessy doesn’t realize how lucky he is to lead a normal life until he loses everything, including his humanity. The attacker who slaughters his family and destroys their home turns out to be a vampire, a creature Reed had considered a myth.

Now a vampire himself, but with the unique ability to walk in sunlight, Reed struggles in the dark underworld he didn’t even know existed. His only two allies in his fight to stay alive are his reluctant mentor, Nathaniel, a vampire with over two hundred years’ worth of emotional baggage, and Sarah, a rookie cop with a secret ability of her own. 

Together, Reed and his companions face a harrowing, cross-country journey before stumbling into a plot which could mean the end of everything for humans and vampires alike.



This is an enjoyable, solid read and I found it very easy to get in to. What let the book down for me was the fact the story did not always “hang” together and I found some of the plot developments just a little bit unconvincing.

Undoubtedly, the plot of ‘Welcome to the Darkness’ moves rapidly which is a definite bonus with so many vampire stories available to read. Justus certainly puts a unique spin on vampires with features such as their saliva healing puncture wounds, going into a “death sleep” after feeding and Reed’s different abilities. This really kept me interested and I liked the originality that this gave. It didn’t take me long to get hooked into the story and I was surprised at how quickly I raced through it.

On the other hand, some parts of the plot are less convincing. The nativity of Sarah, Reed and the vampire hunters in taking down the vampire King was quite frustrating and I couldn’t quite believe how blinded they were to the obvious! I think this went hand in hand with character development: whilst Justus gives readers lots of information about the principle vampire characters, we are lacking such depth with Sarah and the other humans. Sarah is a cop who readily gives up her life to go with Reed without second thoughts and we barely hear anything about her missing her old way of life or what the consequences could be when she returned.

One other thing that bugged me about this read was how there were jumps in time but this wasn’t reflected in the formatting. I agree this might have been because I was reading a review copy so hope this is taken on board. The lack of indication that significant time had passed just added to my feelings that the story became a little far fetched.

However, that being said, I did enjoy reading ‘Welcome to the Darkness’ and found Nathaniel’s character quite amusing, particularly with some of the out-modes words he uses. The distance he keeps from others gradually changes over the story and I liked how he grew to feel protective over Reed.

This is a pretty good read and I look forward to reading the next in the series. I wonder whether ‘Welcome to the Darkness’ is more of a prequel, laying the foundations for the next novel. The blurb looks promising for the next book so I look forward to making the comparisons.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

‘Darkness Reigns’ – Book Two


Darkness Reigns

Darkness Reigns

New York City is a wasteland. More than eight million people are dead or worse…infected.

After their failed attempt to stop the spread of a virus that turns people into zombie-like, human-vampire hybrids, Reed Hennessy and his ragtag crew are scrambling to stay alive. To make matters worse, the human authorities are close to proving the existence of vampires and blaming them for the disaster in New York.

Their storm of trouble is already spinning out of control when an old enemy reappears to issue a challenge–an ultimatum that will mean certain death for at least one member of Reed’s group. With their mountain of problems growing exponentially and a host of enemies closing in, they flee for their lives, desperate for a miracle. Will they survive and avoid the world’s scrutiny, or will darkness prevail?


Continuing straight where ‘Welcome to the Darkness’ concludes, this follow-on novel follows in the same vein. This time the action moves away from New York to Montreal as the gang attempt to leave behind the devastation caused by the vampire King of New York.

I certainly found this book better than the first but still felt that there was more plot and character development needed. Once again I found myself distrusting the motives of key characters, such as the King of Montreal and hoped there was more betrayal than what was eventually offered. I think my imagination added to my enjoyment of this story because I hungered for that extra depth and I found it a shame that Justus couldn’t quite deliver on this score.

The novel’s blurb reminded me of zombie films like ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Resident Evil’ but there was minimal focus on what has happened to the citizens of New York. I was hoping this would be more pivotal to the plot but with the virus killing off the humans-turned-zombies in a matter of days, the author neatly puts this out of focus, instead moving forwards with Reed and Nathaniel’s quest of escaping from the Queen of San Jose’s threats.

There were some unexpected twists and turns in this story and I enjoyed following Sarah’s character, particularly in the last third of the book. As Reed gets used to being a vampire, it is clear that he still desires to be human again and this is what sets readers up for the final book in the trilogy.

This book was given another three stars because there was still opportunity for plot development. As this wasn’t quite there throughout the story, it became a very quick read to get through. I guess this makes it more ideal for the teenage/young adult readership and can imagine they would enjoy it more. But, from an adult perspective, I think this was an average read and good for a lazy afternoon.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Buy links:

Amazon / B&N



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