Rating: 5 out of 5
NOTE ADDED: Now it’s looking like there WILL be a third book in this series, so I’m upping my rating to a 5/5. I’m fine with waiting to see what’s going on–I just didn’t want things to end so abruptly.
Okay, straight up, the only reason Premee Mohamed’s A Broken Darkness (2) (Beneath the Rising) didn’t get a perfect score is that it felt like it just cut off abruptly rather than ending naturally. If there were going to be a follow-on I’d still consider it to be perfect, but as it is I feel like the book ended too early and suddenly.
NOTE: There is no way to review this book without including spoilers for Beneath the Rising, the first book in this duology. If you haven’t read that book first, go read it. I don’t think book two stands alone without it, but then in a two-book series that isn’t a big deal.
From my review of book one: “The book immediately establishes itself as being in an alternate timeline from ours by mentioning the day two planes almost crashed into the World Trade Towers. Most of the changes we see are due to Johnny. Her solar panels adorn roofs around the world, she has a drug that treats dementia, and she cured HIV.” At the end of book one, there was a horrific event in which invaders from another dimension killed hundreds of millions of people. And it was Johnny’s fault, even though she and Nick also stopped the world from ending. Now it’s a little while later. Since Nick found out that Johnny had his life manipulated such that he would be her always-loyal always-present faithful companion, his love for Johnny has turned to hate. He even joined up with the secret society that doesn’t trust her (the feeling’s mutual), the Society, and he’s starting to learn magic. Nick’s mentor sends him to a gala event at one of Johnny’s companies, and it’s attacked by horrific monsters who shouldn’t be there–when Nick and Johnny saved the world, they shut all the doors from the other dimension into their own. Sofia, the daughter of Nick’s mentor, also gets caught up in events as Johnny and Nick form an unlikely temporary alliance to try once more to save their world.
There’s a fairly large amount of navel-gazing on Nick’s part, as he’s being put in a spot where he has to constantly question and examine his feelings for Johnny. If you got attached to the characters in book one, then I think you won’t be put off by this, because it’s certainly interesting.
Johnny and Nick get sucked into some fascinating extra-world dimensions and places in which things are absolutely crazy. Not to mention crazy dangerous. There’s still excellent banter between Johnny and Nick because they’ve known each other for years and can practically read each other’s minds, but it’s barbed now. There’s a lot of time pressure on this one too, because the entire world seems to be mutating and changing, from the people down to the tiniest of plants and creatures.
This book is fantastic–character growth, character interaction, scary creatures, blood and gore (but not too much), physical mutations (some body horror), and a wild exploration of a few alternate dimensions!
“Did the grownups fix everything?”