After years of bypassing young adult literature in favor of those novels falling far into the adult category, I am catching up on some truly amazing books that I totally missed out on. The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout definitely falls into the category of high quality young adult reading. The first story, Shadows, was released in February of 2012 and the fifth and final book, Opposition, was released in August of 2014. Basically the author churned out these fabulous volumes in around two and a half years. The titles range from 400 to 500 pages, with the exception of Shadows, which is around novella length with 165 pages.
Shadows is listed as the prequel to Obsidian, and it can totally stand-alone but I ended up reading it after Obsidian and it did not hurt the story at all (or my understanding of what was happening). In this tale we are introduced to Bethany Williams and Dawson Black. Dawson is one third of the awesome Black family triplet set, and Bethany is in town with her family to help care for an ailing uncle. For the Lux series this is the snowball that starts the avalanche which powers the series through so many epic events. If you have ever had high school crushes and can appreciate the sweet and powerful emotions that come with those feelings, then this book will strike a chord. Social pressure, pressure from the community and even family all work against Dawson and Bethany until something terrible trumps all those threats. Will they survive?
Obsidian (listed as book 1) introduces us to the modern world that the author created to house the humans and two other worldly species living under the thumb of the Department of Defense (DoD) and their own Council of Elders. Katy Swartz has just moved with her mother from Florida to small town West Virginia after losing her father to cancer. Daemon and Dee Black would be the perfect friends and neighbors, if Daemon’s good looks matched his attitude…but Katy calls it like she sees it and labels him douchebag right out the gate. Dee, however, turns out to be an amazing friend…and part of a group of altogether amazing people: aliens! The author keeps the action moving and the emotions high as the struggles of surviving the social labyrinth of high school combine with just plain surviving. You can find a longer review for this volume here.
In the third volume (book 2) titled Onyx, Katy and Daemon have accepted that they have a connection, but a threat that was on the backburner has moved to the forefront, overshadowing the young anti-couple (being a high school couple is hard, y’all). Katy sees something that she was not supposed to see, and when she tells Daemon, shit gets real quick. Onyx pretty much gutted me emotionally. The series was great up to this point. I was an invested thirty-two year old reader powering through this completed series, and this volume completely shattered me. I mean one minute I was throwing sleep and other necessities to the wind while my eyeballs ate up the pages, and the next minute I was saying,” Wait…what, what, WHAT?!” Picture me screaming for Edmond Dantes to slaughter Fernand in a public and grotesque manner…it’s that serious. Check, please.
The Opal (book 3) volume brings a whole new level of hurting to the home team. If you were just as traumatized and righteously furious as I was with Onyx, then get ready to have your emotions supercharged again. As the relationship between Daemon and Katy evolve, everyone else seems to be sucked into the shit storm that is cooking between this small alien group and the DoD. Tragic loss strikes the group, and the struggle is definitely real. Rather than feeding the infighting and remaining at odds, the team has to come together to help one of their own…but this could be the end for everyone.
Origin (book 4) is a rough read. Just to clarify – it is superbly written, but it is painful to share the horrible experiences that the characters are put through. Katy and Daemon are pretty much in the same boat that Dawson and Bethany sailed off on in the first volume of this series. I think you kind of hit the point where you are pretty sure the Daedalus group is the Devil, and I would agree with anyone who came to this conclusion. Despite the grand betrayal that Katy and Daemon were caught up in, he is ready to put it all on the line to share the burden with Katy. I admire the growth that the couple experiences together, and just when you think things might start looking up, shit hits the fan again. Alien invasion adds a special layer of hell to the survival scheme. Can Daemon trust an unknown – can he even trust the known? Will he be able to get Katy to safety, or will they die fighting?
In the final volume of this series (book 5), Opposition, things start out looking pretty bleak. The probability of survival is dropping with each news cast and each large metropolitan city that drops under Luxen control. The Black triplets are in the wind, and Katy is stuck with a sick Bethany and two Origins. An attempt to get help for Bethany spirals into a shit storm and Katy is taken once again by the enemy. Who will triumph in this battle turned war, and will there even be anything left for those who claim victory? Unexpected allies and unexpected enemies make this series finish one you cannot put down. I loved this entire series, and I am both sad that I missed the first release and glad that I was able to burn through all the books in one massive binge (when real life…achem, work…did not intervene).
I would recommend this series to fans of paranormal romance that enjoy an awesome story and do not require the heavy hanky panky. There are one or two package deals available right now (I think?) where you can grab two of these volumes in one purchase. While young readers can definitely appreciate the story, there is physical interaction between the characters, so I would set the maturity bar at around early-to-mid teens and up. Now I find myself in the same boat that I told my friend Susan about…I feel like I have feathered my book nest with book babies and now they have all left the nest and I have empty nest syndrome. Where will I go for my next book babies?! Oh, oh wait…I just realized that the author has put out an Arum side of the Obsession story. Hello, precious…
Season’s greetings to everyone!