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Becoming Darkness

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Like everyone else living in Haven, seventeen-year-old Sophie Harkness is an Immune--a carrier of the genetic mutation that protects her from the virus Hitler unleashed upon the world more than half a century ago. A virus that wiped out most of humanity and turned two-hundred million people into vamps. But after her best friend is brutally murdered and several attempts are made on her own life, Sophie becomes determined to find answers to what seems to be a conspiracy running generations deep. And when she questions the peace treaty that keeps her small community protected, Sophie begins to discover terrible truths about herself and what it means to be human in a world ruled by darkness.

Lindsay Brambles' debut young adult novel is a story of an alternate universe: Hitler won the war, our modern technologies never evolved, and the Nazis' terrifying reign still continues. This fast-paced novel will appeal to readers who guzzle up genre mashups and are looking for a fresh hybrid to sweep them away.

496 pages, ebook

First published October 1, 2015

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About the author

Lindsay Francis Brambles

1 book117 followers
Lindsay Brambles was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1959. In ‘68 his father, an electrical engineer, signed on for a job overseas. This led to a decade of living and traveling in countries such as Pakistan, Iran, and Tanzania.

After grade three, Lindsay’s formal education was largely through the Ontario Ministry of Education correspondence course. He has spent most of his post-academic life in a variety of unrelated jobs, ranging from construction to childcare, all while pursuing a vocation as an artist.

When not engaged in the literary arts, painting, or earning money in less creative pursuits, Lindsay enjoys anything fitness related (especially cycling), collecting Gold Key comics and motion picture soundtracks, tinkering with computers, and just about anything that will expand his awareness of the world around him. Passionate about science and technology, he is especially interested in astronomy, cosmology, and quantum mechanics.

For his novel "Becoming Darkness" Lindsay was represented by Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. He has written a sequel to "Becoming Darkness" and has completed a large part of a third, concluding novel. Presently he is preparing a YA contemporary and a YA science fiction thriller for submission.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 98 reviews
Profile Image for Caitlin.
50 reviews4 followers
August 30, 2015
Thoughts at about 60% through:

What the fuck. No, seriously. The idea of this book is interesting (a virus unleashed at the end of WWII turns some people into vampires, kills most everyone else, and drives the last remaining humans to an island chain in the middle of nowhere) but the execution is just lousy. Within the established rules of the universe, there are events that just make zero sense. Every new reveal makes me scream because of the missed opportunities. For example, in the very first chapter the main character and her best friend are complaining about the mandatory laws that dictate that everyone must be married and producing children by age 25 to keep the population up. The main character says something along the lines of "I was even more upset than [best friend] but for reasons I hadn't wanted to disclose." My first thought was that she was queer, which would have been an incredibly interesting angle to explore in this strange little society with its combinations of technologies and nostalgic holds on the forties. Instead, she's in love with a vampire, naturally. Not just any vampire, though. One that was engaged to her grandmother before he was "turned" and then also dated her mother. That's incredibly creepy and weird and really should be a red flag in a romantic relationship, but our noble MC has one argument and squicky feelings and then returns to "having the kinds of conversations that don't involve much talking" with her AU grandpa.

I've got plenty of other issues with this book (i'm over halfway through and there's been one passing mention of Judaism. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that was one of the things that was pretty fucking closely tied to Hitler and WWII.) but I'll be finishing it out.

Thoughts at the end:
How did it get worse. The plot got even more convoluted and nonsensical without tying up any of the previous convoluted and nonsensical threads and the missed opportunities abounded at every turn.

*I received a free ARC of this in exchange for an honest review.*
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sarah Marie.
1,795 reviews226 followers
August 28, 2017
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles

2.5 stars

Sophie Harkness is Immune. She’s in the small portion of the population who carry a genetic mutation that repels vampires from being able to feed off of her. Hitler won the war and won because he released a deadly virus that infected millions turning them into monsters. The Immunes were able to overthrow the quickly growing vampire population and were offered the opportunity to live on an island in solitude. Sophie’s life is becoming ripped up at the seams after her best friend is murdered. Everything she has known or believed is all just a lie to cover up the truth. The premise for Becoming Darkness is absolutely awesome. Immediately upon reading it I was quick to request a copy from Netgalley and was lucky enough to get approved. I love the idea of Hitler winning World War II because he released a genetic virus that creates vampires and only a small amount of the population are the remain as humans. It’s a scary thought and a brilliant concept for a novel, but this novel is too slow. I read this novel over the summer of 2015 in the span of late May to mid-July and I am sad to say that I blame my slow reading pace on the pacing and style of this novel. I love the concept of this story- it’s unique and promising. The suspense starts out strong and the novel had a lot of promise. The problem is Becoming Darkness teeters on being 500 pages of seemingly endless circles. These circles consist of murder, secret revealed, mother’s diary entry, vampire rendezvous, encounter with officer, and repeat only in different variations.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2.5

The main female character is Sophie. Obviously this is a vampire novel, so as a reader of the genre I was expecting an immediate love interest and insta-love. That wasn’t the case. Sophie had already fallen in love with a vampire prior to the start of the novel, but my problem is that Sophie doesn’t act like she loves Val in her views. Sophie has the tendency to talk down and demean Val for his vampiristic tendency, which really doesn’t make sense because if she’s such an understanding character with liberal views for the town of Haven, then she should be totally open to Val. Sophie is also not the brightest bulb the box. She’s the type of character who doesn’t understand what is happening around her, based off of context clues, until it’s blatantly shoved into her face. For someone so smart she doesn’t pick up on anything obvious, which really bogs down this book because it’s so obvious where all these clues lead to, but she has to continue to hunt for me because it makes no sense to her. I do have to say that, Sophie’s character seems hypocritical even to the end after all she experiences and it is incredibly aggravating.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 2

The main male character is Val. Val is a tricky character. As a physical being, I’m lukewarm towards him and don’t feel any real affection. I do really love Val’s back-story, but that is the only enjoyable thing I find about Val. He’s just not my type of character, because I feel like he’s wrapped up in a cocoon of stereotypes and instead of bursting out those tropes, he stays swaddled in there and never transforms. I do have to say that while where Brambles chooses to go with Val’s character absolutely infuriated me, but after stewing on it for a few months, I’m okay with it.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 2

The Villain- The thought of a totalitarian society where Hitler is in charge as a vampire is horrifying. As the story goes on it becomes obvious that there is no solid villain because the world is shot to shit so everyone sucks.

Villain Scale: 3.5

There are quite a lot of characters in this novel, but I’m not going to talk about that. One of my biggest qualms with this story is the

“We were nothing more than different sides of the same coin.”

Character Scale: 2

There are some really cool aspects of this novel. Within the novel a novel called No Haven in Darkness is basically the setting of our world, but our truth is fictional to this world. It’s a really interesting concept that enjoyed. Again, there are just way too many subplots that converge into one massive plot that just isn’t necessary. I definitely raged at the ending of this novel and it left me feeling completely baffled, but I think that was what was intended. So it in a way, worked out perfectly. This novel isn’t what I would hope it had been, but it’s definitely a novel I would recommend if you are interested in vampires told with a WWII twist.

Plotastic Scale: 3.25

Cover Thoughts: I love the tattoo in German on her lips and while this cover is a bit overused because of that simple little thing it feels really different. I like it.

Thank you, Netgalley & Switch Press for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for J.A. Ironside.
Author 57 books310 followers
June 5, 2015
This is just utterly bewitching. I've read good books and I've read a few excellent books in the last year. This just blew me away. Yes it does require a leap of faith. Vampire Nazis you ask? Is this a bad B movie? Fair questions but I invite you to lower your guard. This is a now set after history took a different branch. Hitler still lives and 40's mores and expectations still hold a strong influence despite it now being the '90s. Out of the ashes of WWII and the ready Gomorrah virus, rose the Immune. Those humans with a gene that makes them both immune to the Gomorrah virus (which either kills or transforms the sufferer into a vampire) and deadly toxic to vampires. Here in haven, last bastion of 'free' humans, all Immune, an uneasy truce exists between vamps and immunes. Here we find Sophie Harkness at the beginning of a mystery that twists and spirals down into the darkness; to the roots if WWII and the secret protected by the vamps. Sophie has secrets of her own but it may be time to come clean and step into the light because her life is in danger...

I fell for this book like a ton of bricks. The detail of everyday life in haven from the ration books to the pressure to marry and reproduce felt very authentic. After a brief moment of anxiety I realised that this was not yet another vampire romance. There are barriers here, real barriers to a future with the undead. And then there's the politics and the diabolical nazi experimentation. If someone threw together a recipe with all the ingredients I need in a book this would come pretty close. Gorgeous prose, excellent voice and a plot that drilled through the layers of darkness in the human soul to the eternal question, what is human? What is humane? Simply marvelous.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rosa.
205 reviews17 followers
March 5, 2016
Got my signed copy in the mail today! Perfect Christmas read :)

The synopsis made me want to eat this book as quickly as possible. I'm glad I took my time. I loved it! Would recommend to any one who likes paranormal ya type stories.
*I won this copy in a goodreads giveaway*
Profile Image for Priscila.
148 reviews10 followers
April 25, 2015

Thank you Switch Press for providing me this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Did you ever catch yourself thinking "What if?"?
This is the mother of all What ifs!

Haven is just what it sounds, a haven for the Immunes, the humans that remained human, after Hitler released a virus that either killed or transformed most of humanity during WWII.
We meet Sophie a seventeen year old Immune, with an interesting relationship with an unlikely person. After Sophie's best friend is murdered, she begins to uncover a conspiracy that goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.
Just when you think you might be getting an inkling as to where this story is going, the author pulls the rug up from under you, and leaves your head spinning!

Truth is stranger than fiction. Or is it?

What an incredible, edge of your seat, biting your nails, leave you dizzy, debut by Mr Brambles!

This is so much more than a vampire novel, it's an alternate history/reality, a romance, a conspiracy/mystery/thriller. It's utterly impossible to describe this book with just one word.

But if I had to, I'd go with unputdownable!
Yes, I'm aware that's not a word, just proving a point here people! lol

I honestly don't know what else to say without spoiling it. So I'll say only this: Don't even hesitate to pick this one up!

I would definitively recommend this one to, well, everyone!

Becoming Darkness is the first in The Haven trilogy and I seriously can't wait for the sequel!

Happy Reading!

Profile Image for Shelley.
5,127 reviews458 followers
October 8, 2015
**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Genre* Young Adult, Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.5-4

*My Thoughts*

Although not indicated by any source (Goodreads, Amazon, or the author's web page which is filled with awesomeness!), Becoming Darkness IS the first installment in author Lindsay Brambles' alternate universe series where Hitler actually won World War II. Hitler's scientists created a virus known as Gomorrah, and unwittingly unleashed it upon the entire world. The virus didn't entirely wipe out the population, but it did create 200 millions vampires while leaving only 2 million humans or Immune's living on the archipelago of Haven in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

*Full Review Posted @ Gizmos Reviews 10/08/2015*


Published: October 1st 2015 by Switch Press
Profile Image for Sarah (Head Stuck In A Book).
596 reviews146 followers
October 30, 2015
The synopsis of Becoming Darkness ticked off all of the boxes when it comes to what I enjoy reading, I thoroughly adore the paranormal genre, with vampires being my favourite supernatural beings of choice, add to that the historical element and the horrifying yet intriguing notion of a world where Hitler was never defeated and instead rules the whole world, the twist is what sets this book apart from so many others, the virus Gomorrah was released and turned most of the worlds population that were non-immune into vampires, with the sole remaining humans residing in Haven in America, the only dwelling of the humans immune to the disease, and that's where we meet our heroine Sophie who unbeknownst to her will find herself a part of the conspiracy surrounding Haven and the Third Reich that will change her life forever in ways she could never have imagined.

There's so much to love with this story, when I first got my hands on a copy I was a little surprised by the long length of the book, I of course had reservations that maybe with so many pages that this book would be slow and would subsequently drag a bit, but I was so wrong, I wasn't bored even once which I was so happy about, Lindsay knows how to write a story which is captivating, tense, heartbreaking and full of mystery and intrigue, from the concept through to the execution which was pretty much flawless, I am beyond anxious to read the next book, and while I know it's beyond impossible I wish that a certain character who sadly died during the Eva Braun airship crash would somehow miraculously appear, I was none too happy with the early exit, especially as this series is going to be a trilogy, but that was my only real complaint, everything else about this book was fantastic.
Profile Image for A Reader's Heaven.
1,591 reviews26 followers
May 13, 2015
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Like everyone else living in Haven, seventeen-year-old Sophie Harkness is an Immune--a carrier of the genetic mutation that protects her from the virus Hitler unleashed upon the world more than half a century ago. A virus that wiped out most of humanity and turned two-hundred million people into vamps. But after her best friend is brutally murdered and several attempts are made on her own life, Sophie becomes determined to find answers to what seems to be a conspiracy running generations deep. And when she questions the peace treaty that keeps her small community protected, Sophie begins to discover terrible truths about herself and what it means to be human in a world ruled by darkness. Lindsay Brambles' debut young adult novel is a story of an alternate universe: Hitler won the war, our modern technologies never evolved, and the Nazis' terrifying reign still continues. This fast-paced novel will appeal to readers who guzzle up genre mashups and are looking for a fresh hybrid to sweep them away.

This book started with so much promise - deadly viruses, vampires, conspiracies. Sounded great.

Then it started to devolve into a typical YA romance novel, just wrapped up in a bunch of (at times) confusing flashbacks and vampires.

I am sure this will appeal to a great number of people who enjoy this genre, but it just didn't work for me - which is a shame, as the author is quite a competent writer.

Profile Image for Carrie (The Butterfly Reader).
1,016 reviews91 followers
March 18, 2017
I really liked this book. But I can’t really say too much about it, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. So here are a few times things I really liked about this book. Sophie is a very strong female lead. She’s determined, sassy at times, very relatable and real. There are tons of vampires and Hitler is still alive and the Nazi’s rule the planet earth. Everyone has secrets and nothing at all is what it seems. There are so many twists and turns that you will never be bored. It pulled me in from the very beginning. This book has something for everyone seriously. It's one of the best books I've read all year.
Profile Image for Tyler.
143 reviews36 followers
November 29, 2015
**I received this ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Guys, I'm done. This was awful. I tried, I really did. DNF.

This was a huge disappointment for me. When I saw the cover, I was immediately like "I want to read that." Upon reading the synopsis, it escalated to "I need to read that." Nazi vampires? Huge guilty pleasure of mine. Seriously, anything in that genre is guaranteed to be read. Add in an alternate universe and a gorgeous cover and I was well near salivating. I had to read this book. I just knew it would be amazing, I mean, it was everything I wanted.

Alas, it wasn't. Like I said, hugely disappointed.


I hated the writing. From the first few pages, I was thrown off by it. It was very... odd. Hard to describe. Vague. Stiff. The dialogue was terrible and it was really cheesy, especially between Val and Sophie. Sophie saying "My vampire" was enough to make me swear and put down my e-reader. I got major gross Twilight vibes from this. Oh, and It only got worse in the squick factor. Of course. I'll talk about that later.

Some scenes were nicely written I'll admit, like when Sophie saw Val before she got on the train. It was a nice scene and I pictured it well, with Val standing there, hat covering his face and collar propped up. You can get the feeling that everyone knows that he's a vampire. I thought that was pretty cool. I wish the entire book was written more like that.


Non-existent. Seriously, the virus and the Nazis/Hitler story was mentioned maybe a few times before getting shoved out of the way so that we could read about Val and Sophie. As far as I read, most of it was Sophie thinking about Val every single moment. Like, her friend fucking dies and she's still thinking about good ol' Val. Val might have had something to do with her friend's death, but I didn't get far enough to figure out because I just did not care. I did not care for their relationship, which - and here I go ladies and gentlemen - was just gross. Not even in the forbidden relationship way that makes it intense or passionate, no it was just plain gross, (and boring).

Val hits on Sophie when she's fourteen. Yep, you read that, fourteen. He's old, like pre-WWDeuce old. I was really weirded out by that, but I kept going. Later, we figure out that he's been in a relationship with Sophie's MOTHER AND HER GRANDMOTHER, and is now with her. I could only laugh. Are you serious? How is that okay? Haha, and Sophie doesn't even care, she's just like "kiss me". Bruh.

Val's backstory was kind of interesting, but totally predictable. Wasn't enough to keep me invested.

I really liked that it was supposed to be dark and noir and 1940's-ish with scary vampires and Nazis, but it was like a backdrop. It was just there to provide a background for the gross romance, the plot did not matter. I should have known though, this was YA. I had hopes, but maybe I shouldn't have. I always seem disappointed when I read YA. Maybe I've outgrown it, who knows.



Annoying typical YA heroine who is speshul and lives on her own and who is soooo mature. Oh and special. And different. Seriously, I wanted to punch her several times, especially when her friend died. I felt more for her friend than she did. Sophie was constantly flashing back for us and telling us her story of how she met Val and their secret relationship. (The forbidden factor was really half-assed here, too. I never felt like they were going to get in trouble at all.) She was nothing more than a speshul snowflake, as usual.


Valentine was cool at first (aside from the hitting on fourteen year old girls). The scene where he was talking to Sophie's dad gave him an air of mystery and darkness. I thought it was cool. Scary vampires, awesome.

Later on though, he was like every other YA vampire love interest. Supposed to be old, but sounds like he's sixteen. Gross. Boring. The mysterious, dark, vampire feel I got from him evaporated. What a drag, man.

Everybody else:

Non-existent. Either dead, out of the picture, or there to pose danger to The Forbidden Relationship™.


Major let-down. I thought for sure I would love this, it had all of my desired ingredients. The idea was tantalizing, but ended up being a joke. I might read this later, I don't know, Maybe it's just not for me right now. *shrug*

For now though? I'm just sad.


Two stars, one for the idea, the other for the cover.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jeanna.
313 reviews26 followers
October 7, 2015
After Hitler unleashes a virus which leaves victims as vampires, the only survivors are the Immunes. Decades later, after the war has ended, Hitler still reigns with his Nazi Vampires. Sophie, an Immune, lives in the small town of Haven, content with her best friend and vamp boyfriend. Until her best friend is mysteriously murdered, that is. The murder unravels everything Sophie knew about her world, opening her to new truths that she wished she never saw. Val, her boyfriend, has always said, “Some truths are better left unsaid.” And he would be right.

Lindsay Francis Brambles is a genius, piecing this together with layers upon layers of story and generations which collide and connect. Hitler and Nazi Vampires: the base story—if not introduced properly—would flop miserably because people do not want just another vampire story. Well, my friends, this is not your ordinary vampire story. The backstory works magnificently and Sophie, the protagonist, is not a helpless lady but a strong female character who gives Katniss Everdeen a run for her money. Becoming Darkness is a work of genius!

Sophie has to be the most unluckiest girl in the entire world. This poor girl has been through so much and endured it to the very end. Without giving too much away: Brambles is the type of author who kills characters. Don’t get too attached to any one character because they may not be there in the morning. Killing characters off is both advantageous and disadvantageous. It makes the flow of the novel extremely fast with non-stop action which doesn’t let you catch your breath. However, it also doesn’t let you mourn these characters that you may have spent pages with. Why is life so unfair?

Despite the deaths (because you know what you’re getting into reading a vampire book), the use of German on the cover and how the designer was able to incorporate the whole phrase on the front—it gives me chills just thinking about it. “Nun bin ich ewige becoming darkness.” Those exact words, “For now I am eternal, becoming darkness” can work as the theme of the whole novel. Brambles weaves this phrase into almost every aspect of his writing, showing that even between generations, people have some of the same thoughts.

This book is meant to have five stars. The vampires Brambles created are brilliant; there is so much about them that I love. Plus, if there was a Brambles’ Apocalypse, fueled by Hitler and his Vampire Nazis, I would be alive (I’d like to think that but the virus may have gotten to me) because New York (New Yorkers unite!) still stands. The writing, the action, the characters, the story: all five stars. But it’s about this vampire boyfriend of Sophie’s. He is very cryptic and mysterious—he wouldn’t be if he told Sophie anything about anything. Despite several scenes with Valentine and Sophie, the communication between them grates on my nerves because if he had only told her what she wanted to know… well, then there would be no book to write, I suppose. Reading about those two, fighting out their problems or not fighting out their problems (because there still are many problems yet to solve): like no. What kind of relationship do they have? It’s enormously complicated and unbalanced. I wanted to like Val but how can you like someone who doesn’t trust you with any significant information?

Overall, Becoming Darkness is certainly a book to put on your bucket list. This is the perfect time to read it: October. Despite the strange it’s complicated status Sophie has with her boyfriend, this book is superb. Lindsay Brambles is a true genius, creating a layered dystopian with vampires, Nazis, and non-stop action. It will be sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page.
Profile Image for Amanda Marie.
289 reviews29 followers
April 23, 2016
When I first heard about this book, I thought it sounded awesome. An alternate history had Hitler won the Second World War, basically an airborne vampire pathogen, and only a small portion of the world still human. It sounded too interesting to pass up.

Haven is the name of the small archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that is the last refuge of humanity. It is the only part of the planet not under the control of Hitler and his Nazis. At least officially Haven is a sovereign nation though the contents of the peace accords are kept secret. Maybe the Nazis are really still in control? We aren’t sure at the beginning of the novel.

Sophie is a resident of Haven. She is an Immune, possessing a genetic trait that renders her immune to the airborne vampire pathogen, Gomorrah. Thanks to this genetic trait, Immunes also possess blood that is immediately deadly to vampires.

Sophie, a seventeen year old high school senior, has spent her entire life learning about the vampire and the Second World War from the Immune perspective. She and all the residents of Haven are brought up to believe that vampires are only monsters. They need to be destroyed for humanity to thrive. All vampires are evil Nazis intent on the destruction of humanity.

Sophie isn’t buying all that propaganda. She has a different perspective thanks to her friendly relationship with Val, a vampire diplomat from the Nazi Embassy in Haven. She first met him through her father and his work as head of security for the President of Haven. Sophie has a different view on these vampires.

Life takes some twisting turns for Sophie and she ends up on a path she never expected. Suddenly she is looking into past crimes and then she becomes the target of attempted murder. Nowhere is safe if she keeps digging for answers. Val advises her to drop it but Sophie might be in too far to give up.

This story has such an intriguing concept that I was drawn into it. I kept wanting to know what would happen next even though I was calling most of the plot twists. The mere thought that Hitler could have won the war and become immortal is chilling. I know that is not a world I would want to live in even though it is a nifty starting point for a story.

Sophie is a really well-written character. Throughout the story we can see her growth as she puzzles over the information she uncovers and learns more about herself. She is a strong character whose strength and determination is needed to see her through to the end. She is also a bit idealistic, wanting to believe the best about her country even as she uncovers long-buried secrets. My only complaint about her is that she seems much older than seventeen.

Val is a complex character made more complex in that we learn about him as Sophie does. So much about him falls into the realm of the unknown. Sophie trusts him and, as we see him through her eyes, we are inclined to trust him as well. It is evident that his feelings for Sophie are real.

This novel read as a thriller and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next. The way the ending left me, I am longing for a sequel. More of this well-imagined world would be amazing.

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration. This in no way affects my opinion of the title nor the content of this review.

This review first appeared at Orandi et Legendi.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
924 reviews40 followers
October 3, 2015
Becoming Darkness is one of those books where you think, it's about time someone came up with this idea. Vampires have already been used in pretty much every aspect I can think of. But Nazi Vampires??? Uh, yes, please. All the "what if" moments people think of and this somehow hasn't been one. I think it was as great idea and an even greater book. The book is told in the 1990's, I believe, and Hitler is still alive. It is a very large book but it was a fairly quick read and definitely worth the time. So if you like the "what if's" of WWII then you should give this book a try.

Sophie is an Immune. It pretty much means that the deadly virus Hitler used, Gomorrah, doesn't do jack to her. But being Immune means she is one of the humans left to live in a world full of vampires and Nazi's and so many other horrible things. Even being faced with the brutal murder of her best friend, the need to reproduce and limited rations, Sophie is still a very lively and fun character. She has a lot of spirit and she is someone you can relate to.

There is supposed to be a peace treaty with the horrible things of the world and Sophie's little village, Haven. But something seems off to her and there seems to be some sort of conspiracy hidden under everything. Never accept anything at face value. I thought it was great the Sophie started to question all of this. I am sure others have, but its been so long since Hitler unleashed Gomorrah that more than Sophie should have been questioning things. I have read enough Dystopian type books to know that if enough people band together then they can achieve anything.

I found it very interesting that Gomorrah was deadly to humans, turning most of them into vampires, but the humans who were immune then became deadly to the vampires. It's like the thing that makes something can also destroy it in the right light.

None of our technology exists. Well, at least no iPhones, gaming computers, mp3 players and such(duh, its the 1990's). I kind of wonder what our world would actually be like right now without those things. I feel like the technology we have now has ruined us. We no longer communicate with each other in a normal way. We hide behind screens all day.

The writing style of the book and the overall story flowed very well. The book was executed brilliantly and the imagery was great! I could picture a lot of the situations and places, like Haven, very clearly. And I think what made it even better was the fact that, minus the vampires, this could have been an alternate future. If you are someone who believes in the idea of parallel universes then the world portrayed in this book would probably be one of the outcomes.

In the end, what more do you need to know? Vampires, Hitler, deadly virus, Nazi's taking over the planet, death, suffering, etc. What's not to love? This book definitely got me thinking about a lot of things. Go check out this book if you want something that will actually make you THINK and wonder. There is so much more I want to say about this book but...spoilers. So go find out for yourself! I cannot wait to see where the author takes this series in the next book.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for ajfogy.
111 reviews20 followers
November 5, 2015
I know what you are thinking, because I too, was thinking the same thing. This is yet another vampire book. However, this is not your typical vampire book. It is part epic adventure and part murder mystery, with a splash of forbidden obsession and a romance that never should have happened in the first place.

Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles was not at all what I was expecting. I have read many vampire novels, and this one was perhaps the most unique and the most exhilarating one I have ever read. Sophie Harkness is not a flawless protagonist and did not have the ideal childhood, surrounded by loving and doting parents and being spoiled every second. On the contrary, Sophie is a teenage girl who in many ways, tries to act older than she really is, but deep down, the young, broken girl is revealed piece by piece. Her mother died giving birth to her, and her father is suffering from a mental illness. The only person she really has as a constant in her life is her best friend, Camille, but she soon suffers an awful fate. There are others in Sophie’s life as well, but none have quite as much of an impact as Camille did. Grace, Sophie’s grandmother checks in on her granddaughter regularly and encourages her to take residence with her, but Sophie refuses. There is one other who is a part of Sophie’s life, but he is forbidden to her, and his past could very well be the end of her own future.

The vampires in this novel are worse than any you could possibly imagine. Yes, there happen to be some who are not so bad, but the majority have cast their lot with the Nazi regime, in favor of surviving and being part of an evil and corrupt system.

Lindsay Francis Brambles is a superb writer. I really took my time with this novel because I was wrapped up in the plot line and enjoying every minute of it. Several times, I found myself rereading chapters because I was in shock, and simply could not believe how this story was constantly transgressing. I really, really hope that the second and third books to this series are published soon, and that this novel is as successful as the author hoped it would be. I fell in love with the murder mystery even though I had originally picked up the book because it is a vampire novel, above all else. Do not ignore this book because you are tired of reading about vampires and believe in your heart that the age of literary vampires have come and gone. Pick up this book because it is a mystery about a young girl who is somehow at the center of everything, and has to discover for herself the evidence and unravel thread by thread the connections, even if she dies trying. Yes, some of the vampire elements are similar to other vampire books. Get over it. Ghost and werewolf stories follow similar patterns as well... Embrace this book for its unique qualities.
Profile Image for Alysa H..
1,347 reviews62 followers
January 21, 2020
I tried, I really tried, but this book is one of the worst I've encountered in some time. The writing itself is not particularly bad, though there's a bit of a pseudo-noir style to it that feels forced by the 1940s-inspired story-world but doesn't make for very realistic characters or dialogue and is, I suspect, one of the reasons that the main character comes off at best as inconsistent and at worst even more pathologically erratic than your typical hormone-addled teenager.

The world-building is nonsensical, dubious and, frankly, irresponsible. The world is overrun by vampire overlords, okay, but it's almost incidental that they are Nazis and that the Axis powers were victorious in WWII. It's as if the ONLY thing the Nazis did was unleash the vampire plague, and the rest of their real-life atrocities never happened. Seriously: I'm stopping a good number of pages in, and there's still been zero mention of Jews. Did the author forget about the Holocaust, or is he just expecting that most people know all about it and therefore come to the book armed with foreknowledge of Nazism and therefore he didn't have to do any of the work required to demonstrate the evil of his evil characters? And also, if the remaining humans are all living on an archipelago in the Pacific, why do they all seem to be white Americans? What?

This is a genre mash-up, and in addition to YA vampire dystopia, there's mystery and thriller and all that, but it all really takes a backseat to a romance that's really impressively heavy on squicky creep factor. The vampire love interest necessitates the usual "age gap" issues, but he also dated the girl's mother and grandmother. What? Did the author not read any YA books, but do some half-baked market research into "what today's teens like" and come up with Twilight, and then intentionally ratchet up the ick?

I had actually been looking forward to this book, because the "What if Hitler won WWII, with vampires!?" premise sounded like it could be really great. Unfortunately, it could also go the other way entirely -- and it sure did. DNF.

** I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley **
Profile Image for Dawnie.
1,202 reviews124 followers
December 7, 2015
*I got a free copy in exchange for a honest review through NetGalley thanks to the publishers!*

This book completely surprised me!
I was not sure if this was something that i would like or not when i saw it on here, but i thought why not try and see if i can get a copy maybe i will really like this book, since honestly that i how i found most of my favorite books.
And this book fits into that as well.
I gone into this book not really knowing what to expect from a book that is set in a world where hitler one world war II because he had Nazi vampires. That just... i had no idea what to expect.
And the first third of the book did feel a little slow to me. With the world "building" or explaining what is happening and how the world works. As well as explaining the relationships and all that. .
But once i've gotten into the story... i was sucked in. Pun intended!

The main character was a very surprising one to me, because she was much more lively and fun then i would have expected in such a book. And while, yes she did some stupid things that i would wanted to shake her and just get an explanation why the heck every YA book needs that stupid girl in the book, for the most part Sophie- the main girl- really was a pretty good character because she strived to survive in a very though environment and tried to not be put down by all the difficulties the world she lives in pushes in her way.

I really enjoyed the writing, it was easy to read and overall felt very flow and was just very easy to read.
It was just very well done!

This is a very different book, a different spin on the whole dystopian world thing as well as a different view into what would have happened if hitler would have one, and on top of that a completely different kind of vampire story.

If any of that sounds interesting to you? Go check this book out!
Profile Image for Kelly.
254 reviews34 followers
May 7, 2015
During World War II a virus was unleashed upon the world. A virus that killed most of humanity and turned 200 million people into vampires, including Hitler himself. Some people are Immune to the virus, and they have found their haven (literally) in Haven. Sophie Harkness is one of the few Immunes. And as if living in a world ruled by Nazi vampires isn’t bad enough, a murderer is on the loose in Haven. Sophie’s best friend is brutally murdered and several attempts are made on her own life. She is determined to find answers to what seems to be a conspiracy running generations deep.


So, obviously I loved this book, a lot. But I can’t really say too much about it, because I don’t want to spoil anything. So here are just a couple of things I really enjoyed about Becoming Darkness: Sophie Harkness is a strong female lead. She’s determined, sassy at times, very relatable and real. So yay for Sophie! There are also loads of vampires (and they don’t sparkle); Hitler is still alive and the Nazi’s rule the world (which I thought was a very intriguing idea); everyone has secrets and nothing is what it seems. Ha! But what I loved most of all was the complexity and depth of this story. The conspiracy that Sophie uncovers will blow your mind.

Vampires, conspiracies, murders, corruption, romance, AU, mystery, secrets, dirty politics, a rebellion… this book has it all! Becoming Darkness is everything it promises to be and more. This is definitely one of my new all-time favourite books and I can’t wait to read the next one (and for this one to be released so I can get a physical copy)!

I received this book for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dan.
2,099 reviews43 followers
May 8, 2016
I was so excited to read this when I first saw it as a goodreads giveaway. I didn't realize at the time that this was a YA book. Also, if the author had gone with the plot that was an introduction to the world this book takes place in then it would have been much more enjoyable. I would totally have gotten into this book if it were an alternate history where vampires existed and that was how the Nazis won the war....that would be a very interesting book. If you are looking for horror vampires you will be greatly disappointed as this is just a mystery. Instead, we got this typical YA with a crumby romance between an "immune" and a vamp with a mystery that just seemed to grow out of control until the very end where almost all of it was revealed. My greatest complaint with this book is if it is meant for the 12-14 age group then why did the author often use vocabulary that was beyond that reading age??? Another problem I had with this book was the unoriginality, as it was extremely obvious that the author had borrowed ideas from other books, such as the Strain, and Twilight, Man in the High Castle, and a few other popular books. Average read....not bad but not great either.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
979 reviews88 followers
July 4, 2016
OMG this was so different then anything I've ever read before. what can I say then this,it has everything you would want in a this type of book: at first all I know going in to it was that it was a book that had to do with Hitler ,and vampires,him winning the war, and then founding out there was so much more,like murder,an unsolved cold case,family secrets and lies,and every time I thought I had something figured out there were more twists and turns, more dark secrets that kept popping up,and I more I read the more I found out ,like how the vampires came to be in the first place.if you want to know more you have to read it for yourself.
15 reviews1 follower
November 6, 2015
I came into this book with a couple of apprehensions- anything involving Hitler as a trope makes me nervous, and I'm more a werewolf fan than vampire. But I'm a sucker for anything paranormal, and my reservations were summarily dismissed by the end of chapter one. From there on out, I enjoyed the atmospheric piece immensely.

Lindsay Francis Brambles' writing is evocative, interesting, and her protagonist brings a lot to the table. But this pales in comparison to the excellent world-building, tight plot. I was a little heartbroken when I realized this was a series- but then again, a series means we get more!

Can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Kerryn (RatherBeReading).
1,486 reviews94 followers
October 14, 2018
[Disclaimer: e-ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

2.5 stars

This book had a lot of potential but, for me, it just didn't live up to it.

I think the book could easily have been a lot shorter, it felt overly long while reading it. I think the story would have been better served by focusing more on the murder mystery aspect of the plot.

I also found the romance in the story to be super sketchy.

I thought the premise was really interesting but the story didn't quite work for me.
Profile Image for Gemma F..
598 reviews80 followers
July 25, 2016
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley. However, I was unable to finish reading it as my phone broke. Nearly a year later, I decided to purchase a hardcover of this book and boy when it arrived, I immediately started devouring it!

This story is unique although the plot was a little slow at times, it never failed to intrigue me. I feel that this story would've been slightly better if there was less romance and more action which picked up toward the end of the book.
Profile Image for Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts).
656 reviews230 followers
October 31, 2018
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Never have I ever read a book in which Hitler won World War II and succeeded in taking over the world.

Until now. I admit I'm a little fond of this one because of the whole alternative history thing going on right there, but I'm a little disturbed here, Lindsay Francis Brambles. You're as bad as Agatha Christie and came very close to killing everyone. Although technically, you did kill most of the characters that I grew fond of. Not cool. I don't think I can ever forgive you for this transgression of Trigger Happy Book. (More like Explosion Happy Book.)

But in the very long run, I only liked Becoming Darkness for a few things.

Sadistic as it may be, I did like how Brambles made Hitler won the second world war and unleashed a virus that made a lot of people turn into vampires – all of that is told within the first few pages. Although the origins of Gemorrah (le virus) is revealed throughout the story and integrated in the plot, I still don't understand how the creators came up with that name in the first place. Does it mean something in German, or is it something they thought sounded sinister and cool and decided to go with it? In my humble opinion, it does not sound cool or sinister. It sounds like a Mary Poppins word.

I also really liked how Brambles didn't go completely off course from history – there are some references to the war, there might be another significant historical figure who makes a cameo appearance (under a different name, but don't quote me), etc. Basically, there's not much that's thrown in completely off kilter aside from maybe the virus – I still feel fishy about that.

Sophie Harkness does not take BS when there are boys hitting on her in the stupidest, cheesiest ways. Namely: "We're meant for one another because you're a girl, I'm a guy, and we have the parts to create phenomenal offspring." Sorry for the disturbing image, but that was very much implied by the character. Unfortunately for her, she sort of believes in love at first sight when she first met Val back when she was fourteen.

Sophie is also not a judgmental character – she's very open-minded and believes vampires aren't exactly sinister blood sucking creatures. Every other Immune, those who can't get Gemorrah, are so judgmental and narrow-minded, it just peeves me greatly. It IS understandable, though, considering the year Brambles sets the book in.

Unfortunately, I didn't really like the whole flashbacks. For awhile in the beginning, it's a little confusing and I had to backtrack to make sure it was a flashback and not actually set in the present day. There's a "sort-of" warning and then we're in flashback mode that feels like it's set in the present but is really Sophie telling a story. On the bright side, all those flashbacks (and the journal entries written by Sophie's mom) all play a relevant role in the overall plot.

I also didn't really like Valentine. Though I eventually warmed up to him over the course of the book, something about him was really disturbing. He's not an annoying "stalker type" of character, but it IS a little weird he still tried to keep his connections to Sophie's family from grandma to mom to Sophie in the hopes of falling in love again. But considering the fact he's doesn't throw out stupidly cheesy lines at Sophie, I like him a little.

Have I mentioned I'm sick and tired of seeing the name Valentine over and over again in literature? We just can't get any more original than St. Valentine, can we?

I would totally summarize Becoming Darkness in a few words if only I didn't end up giving major spoilers. But in a nutshell, the book quite literally tells me all of us should be downright grateful the Third Reich didn't succeed. It also told me I'm royally screwed if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but I think I've established that in sixth grade with the whole Ramen Noodle Stove catastrophe.

This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts
Profile Image for Caitlin.
50 reviews7 followers
October 29, 2015
* I received a review copy via Net galley and Switch press in return for a honest review.

The moment I heard the premise of this novel i knew it was going t be something special. Vampire Nazis!? What!? Yes Please! This was the book i never knew I wanted. I mean come on, it mixes my two favorite genres. In this novel, the allies never won the war, instead a virus was released that either killed someone or turned them into a vampire, or vamp as the book calls them. Not only did it turn Hitler into a vamp, but it changed history completely and the Nazis never lost the war. Now those few who are immune to the virus live in a tense truce with the vamps on their own island named Haven. here is where we meet our heroine Sophie who after a tragedy begins to dig to deep into secrets, leading her on a path she never expected and can never come back from.

Now tell me, how can that not make you want to go out and grab this book right now? First, to start off my review I want to be superficial and talk about the look. The cover is beautiful and really pops up at you. it was the 1st thing that grabbed my attention and I think Switch Press did a wonderful job on it. Second, and more important in my mind, was the design of the eBook. Most of the time, eBooks are simple and don’t have any special fonts and designs, even if the print book does. But this one used fonts very well and it worked well with the story. It also included the cover and back cover, which were great added touches and really made it stand out.

For the actual story, I have to admit I had very high expectations and read it around Halloween because I was hoping that it would be scary. While didn’t find it scary exactly, it was heart pounding in the way of a fast paced thriller. Even though it did have a few slow moments for me, for the most part this is very action filled. There were many parts when I just couldn’t put it down no matter how inconvenient (there were many hours that I should have I spent doing productive thing but instead read this). There is a lot of information thrown at you, so I warn you to take your time reading this so you can put the pieces together later. Also, if you’re looking forward to a vampire Hitler then you will be disappointed. He’s more of a small background player in this book, but the ending left room for a second book so hopefully he will show up in the next one (fingers crossed!). Over all, this was a great book jam packed with action, mystery, and vamps. I loved all of the characters, although I felt like the main ‘bad guy’ could have been more developed. I finished feeling like I didn’t really know much about them. But, our main characters Sophie and Val were crafted perfectly and I felt a connection to them for the whole book. They’re are many more amazing characters, so many in fact that I can’t talk about them all so they will be a surprise for you when you pick up a copy.
Profile Image for Rachel.
1,589 reviews51 followers
May 7, 2016
I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

First, I have to admit that this seemed rather daunting when I first started reading it because was so long but the story certainly held up the entire way.

Bravo to the author for a Philip K. Dick kind of sci fi story where the Nazis won World War II, but they won it by releasing a virus called Gommorah that either killed, turned people into vampires or for the last few, they are naturally immune. Now the Immunes have been all segregated to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean named Haven where a treating was put in place in 1948 at the end of the war. I do appreciate that so many things are NOT technologically advanced, which would have some truth to it considering that WWII helped to drastically launch the new inventive/new industrial age forward where technology became more and more superior as time continued.

This novel follows Sophie as strange things seem to be following her and bad luck is occurring left and right, the novel goes back and forth in the beginning with flashbacks to Sophie's childhood when her father was called to a mysterious murder investigation and she met her first Vampire, Val. In Haven there are very few vamps except those authorized in the Embassy for the Nazi empire. Sophie again meets Val many years later and their acquaintanceship turns to friendship and turns to more. But as their relationship blossoms with Val the truth of Sophie's mother's past, her history and her uniqueness begin to come to light...as do people trying to stop her.

This novel is something entirely new and very well written and I have to say I appreciate most that the ending is more real than a lot of novels. So many novels now tell you the truth and then yeah, the protagonist saves the day! Although sometimes good to read, very much not realistic. Whereas this novel, with all the answers that Sophie now has and the horrible discoveries that she has made she realizes that there is actually nothing that she can do. The ending of the novel makes sense and it could be left as a stand alone (although I do have some questions....) or I could see the author continuing the novel. Either way, a new and original vampire novel that was quite enjoyable.
Profile Image for Macy Klingerman.
255 reviews4 followers
October 19, 2015
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

I have a confession about this book.. I committed a sin, and totally thought I wouldn't like this one before I read it. I mean, Nazi vampires? Seriously? Needless to say, that came back to bite me in the ass, and I ended up loving it. Like, sobbing and flailing into the wee hours of the morning kind of love. My soul was entirely destroyed, and I REALLY need the next book in the series immediately.

Becoming Darkness is an alternate history novel that explores what would have happened if Hitler won World War II by releasing a virus that had one of two effects: death or vampirism. Our main character Sophie lives on an island called Haven, which is full of the small group of people who are Immunes and unable to catch this virus. Through a dramatic series of events, Sophie is thrust into a conspiracy that's even bigger than she ever could have imagined. Nobody is safe, and I seriously mean nobody. The author is *not* afraid to kill off characters.

The main element that I want to address is the romance. I'll be honest, it's an ick ship. Like, there is no logical reason for me shipping the main couple as hard as I did, for a few different *spoilery* reasons. Just trust me, it's an extremely problematic ick ship. It reminds me of The Wrath and the Dawn because you *know* that this couple really shouldn't be together, but you just can't stop rooting for them. BUT I JUST COULDN'T STOP LOVING THEM TOGETHER. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED TO ME.

Becoming Darkness has something for everyone, in my opinion. Not only is there romance, but there's action. Crazy, insane, high speed action. There are parts of this book that read like a crime novel, or even a James Bond type spy story. On top of that, we have vampires, for those of you who love paranormal elements like myself.

Although I totally misjudged it in the beginning, I ended up loving Becoming Darkness. Five out of five stars.

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