Author: Emma L. Adams
Genre: New Adult (Urban, Fantasy)
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date Published: October 10, 2013
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Summary (from Goodreads)
Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.
Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Darkness Watching is the first book in the Darkworld series, a story about a girl who is haunted by spirits and demons who are after something that's important to her. She feels eyes staring back at her, communicating with her at times.
Being a freshman, Ash is determined to start anew with her new independent life at Blackstone but the demons continue to haunt her. She encounters people who have a similarity to her which leads to the revelation of the existence of the Darkworld to her. I love how she maintains the realism in the story by not violently and completely discounting the paranormal aspect of her life, especially since the truth is literally staring her in the eyes. She remains level-headed throughout the whole ordeal which for me makes her a really good story heroine. There were a lot of twists and bumps in the story, but not too much that it would've felt suffocating. I'm not sure if the university life portrayed in the book is consistent with reality, but the point is that it worked for the story and helped it progress.
The story began a little sluggishly for me, although afterwards i was rewarded with really good world-building. The story dipped a little bit on the romance, although not completely, which is something that I really liked. Not everything has to have romance for a story to be this engaging.
The Venantium got me a little confused in some parts but I think the world-building that was necessary for the story to move was done really well and I'm actually glad that most of the Venantium is kept vague. It would've been too much too early if that part of the plot wasn't kept behind a veil of smoke.
To finish off, the story was very engaging and the mid-fantasy aspect of it was done really well. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to the next instalment of the series.
About The Author (Official Website | Twitter | Goodreads Author Page)
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal novels for young adults.
She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).
Now a reluctant graduate, Emma can usually be found in front of her writing desk. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes urban fantasy/supernatural novels for older teens and adults. She is currently working on several projects, including the planned 5-book upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series. The first novel, Darkness Watching, was published in 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.