Title: Within the Darkness (Wisteria Book 2): A Dark Fantasy Dystopian With Demons and Monsters - Mature Content
Author: Shelby Lamb
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Dystopian/Horror
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad."
-- Aldous Huxley
Aubrey has done it. She has teleported herself to "the hidden domain" and have managed to bring along her dream boy, Nathan, and nemesis/ex-besty Adelaide. But how could this be? They were all just at a party. No one knew getting into the backyard shed and saying the "magic words" would work. And the three are absolutely stunned. But the world Aubrey thought would be a wonderful paradise is actually a nightmare. As beautiful and enchanting as it is, Wisteria is like jumping down the rabbit hole with the Devil waiting on the sidelines.
The people are different in this world. They are monsters, and not just physically. The Moss Wall is supposed to serve as a protection, separating the demons from the non-demons, but that doesn't mean Aubrey and her friends are safe. Non-demon Aristocrats are nasty and cruel, indulging in their favorite daily past-time: the torture of the red maidens.
And as for the handsome demon boy who wants Aubrey's soul? "You'll never escape," warned fairies swooping down on her.
But Aubrey, Nathan, and Adelaide won't go down without a fight. They simply must make it to the safe house and find their way out of the realm. Thankfully The Underground Annual is on its way. It is the biggest party, an explosive rave that happens once a year. And now it is their only window of opportunity. But will their plan succeed?
Some might think Aubrey Golding's character is too whiney and immature and that this book is too mature for coming of age. But I got to stay true. Not all 18-year-olds are into straight-laced stuff. Some have problems deeper than what is going on around them (read: mental health issues). More importantly, if you really look into the book you will see that Aubrey is suffering from what is known as borderline personality disorder.
BPD is a severe mental illness and Aubrey wasn't created to glamorize this disorder. It is a very painful existence. In a lot of ways, Aubrey is me. Parts of this book reads almost like an addiction memoir of a very psychologically disturbed young lady. I wrote Aubrey for anyone else out there who goes through the same battles.
I agree Aubrey's delicate character and self-mutilation habits can be triggering, as they are another layer to the horror and psychological roller coaster ride of this book. But in the end, if your heart makes it through the suspense and graphic violence, you will see how Aubrey gets through. I hope it will help anyone who is suffering from BPD. Having borderline personality disorder is no walk in the park. In the end, I wasn't writing for everyone. I wrote this suspenseful dark fantasy series for other girls and boys like me. I tried to find books out there with other characters like Aubrey, a fictional version of Elizabeth Wurtzel and Susanna Kaysen from Girl, Interrupted. But I couldn't.
They all felt cookie cutter (to me) and like I couldn't relate. So warning, if you get offended by "dramatic" or "sensitive" girls seen as "weak" and not people actually suffering from an emotional disorder and STRONG to still be alive, then I'm sorry this book series (Wisteria) isn't for you.
*Warning: There are depictions of rape and torture in this book*
Wisteria 3 is coming around October 2019!
Warning: Scenes of sex violence (rape), torture and cannibalism could be the sort that might be disturbing and offensive to many readers.
This book is something else. In some way, you are following Aubrey as she is trying to get back to her home but in some ways not. This book illustrates monsters in varying ways but the greatest monster a person must face is often just their own mind. The worst and most horrific monsters anyone can barely stomach come from their own mind attacking them.
A reader can easily witness every evil act that is in this book. But not every reader will actually see that the demons and monsters are just a reflection of a troubled soul's mind acting against itself.
One can also see the alliterative aspect to the kidnapping of the women in this book and how it relates to human trafficking. Horrible things occur to women but they are not much of an exaggeration to the horrible things that happen to girls and women who are taken against their will every single day by the monsters who take part in human trafficking.
This book is more the horrors of a person's mind, written in a way to show just how badly their mind is going off the rails to them.
Hopefully, after reading Within the Darkness, someone realizes it isn't too late to ask for help and get help when you are taking yourself apart either with words or sharp edges.
There was, to this reader, a bit of an info dump very late in the book which made it hard to understand the rest of the book.
My Rating: 4 stars
Buy it Now:
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Within-Darkness-Wisteria-Book-Dystopian-ebook/dp/B07MLKFKZ8
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/Within-Darkness-Wisteria-Book-Dystopian-ebook/dp/B07MLKFKZ8
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Within-Darkness-Wisteria-Book-Dystopian-ebook/dp/B07MLKFKZ8
Shelby Lamb (A.K.A Shelby Anonymous) is an author/non-judgemental Hindu-Christian/demon slayer who loves exploring the weird and unsettling. She writes fiction from her own personal life experiences, the depths of her imagination, and the inspiration around her. Something (Wisteria 1) is her debut work. Since struggling with depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder, a bit of her knowledge of these dark emotions and feelings are crafted into each of her stories. She is proud of her writing. They may not be for everyone but she is thoughtful and careful in her narrations, as she grew up on literary fiction and still wants to give her books a flavor of that even if they are in select genres. In a way, she writes for a narrower audience, hoping to heal other sufferers of trauma. She doesn't believe in sugar-coating because real issues are to be delved into even in fiction as to be able to relate is to heal in her humble opinion. Aubrey in particular in Something, book one of the Wisteria series is for her a very intimate character. As Aubrey has borderline personality herself. But as Aubrey grows to heal from her tragic inner turmoil and psychological trauma she hopes it can inspire other suffers from mental illnesses to see the light through the darkness, learn healthy coping skills, and become their best selves. Even though she is devoted for the time being into completing the Wisteria series, she wants to later delve into clean suspense Christian fiction. For the time being she works on darker material to hopefully open doors for other victims of trauma into following along her works into seeing that life isn't so hard when you have God and the Universe rooting for you.
She lives in a magical Canadian town. Doesn't own cats right now but wishes to adopt several one day soon! <3 You can find her on Instagram @shelbyanonymous and catch up about all her books on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thewisteriaseries
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Reviewed by: Mr. N