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Friday, December 9, 2011

Darkness Within by Sara Fitzgerald

Darkness Within by Sara Fitzgerald
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Length: Short Story (99 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Samantha Van Skyhawk's, life is in terrible danger—and her unlife may just be beginning. Samantha’s dad is a vampire and soon, she too will change. She flees with her mom and brother to Shadow Falls to find the spell to kill the vampire blood flowing through her veins. When Samantha encounters Brent, a human with the most bewitching smile, things get complicated. She doesn’t have time for a romance, not with the daunting task of defeating a vampire who has been around for centuries. Then Samantha meets Drake, a totally hot vampire, who claims she belongs with him and the darkness within her completely agrees. She must fight her incredible urge to be with Drake and the yearning within her soul to become what she fears most. Will she save herself and those she loves or will she embrace the night forever?

Will Samantha’s blood betray her?

Darkness Within starts off at a fast pace and doesn’t let up until the very end. Samantha is in a race against time. She must kill the vampire blood in her veins before her seventeenth birthday or it will take over and she’ll truly be a member of the undead. I found the concept of “killing” the vampire blood in a person with a spell interesting, and not something I remember coming across in other vampire stories.

I liked Samantha. She has a lot of information dumped on her in a very short amount of time. Not only does she learn that vampires, werewolves, and witches exist, but that she is also part vampire and witch. She completely freaks out at first, which I think is the normal reaction any sane person would have. However, she eventually accepts the truth of her situation and commits herself to figuring out a way to save herself and protect her family. Her devotion to her family is certainly admirable.

As if dealing with her paranormal heritage weren’t enough, Samantha has two boys vying for her affection. Brent is the classic good guy. He’s always willing to lend a hand and he demonstrates incredible patience and understanding when it comes to Samantha’s situation. On the other hand, Drake is the bad boy tempting Samantha to the dark side. While I truly believe that Samantha’s initial attraction to both boys is genuine, her relationship with both progressed too fast. She meets both boys soon after she arrives in town and immediately falls in love with both. I found this a little hard to swallow because it didn’t seem like Samantha had spent enough time with either boy to really get to know them. Consequently, I felt that Brent and Drake’s characters could have been developed a bit further. Brent is the good guy and Drake is the bad guy. Beyond that, I know very little about either. There were moments when I thought more would be revealed, but then the pace picked up again and I was left wanting more depth.

The biggest issue that I have with the story is that there were too many unanswered questions by the time the story ended. I had questions about Samantha's father and his situation and why it took so long for her to figure things out about him. Why did Samantha’s mom want her daughter to live a “normal” life, but chose to tell her son about his heritage as a witch? These and other questions filled my mind as I read, and I kept hoping they would be answered. However, when Darkness Within ended, I found myself wishing there had been more detail and background information to round the story out.

Despite this issue, I thought Darkness Within was a good read. The plot was interesting and unique, and Samantha is certainly a sweetheart. Since the story is short and fast paced, it is possible to enjoy it in a single sitting. Anyone looking for a quick, entertaining paranormal YA romance should consider Darkness Within.