Review and Blog Tour: After Darkness by J.F. Johns

I’m thrilled to share the first of an exciting new dystopian duology by J.F. Johns, called After Darkness! Read on for an exclusive excerpt, book details, and a chance to win a print copy of Eternal Darkness, the first book in her exciting dystopian series of the same name.

Synopsis:

Year 2160

RULE #.1 Humans AND Cyborgs are prohibited from communicating in any shape or
form with each other.

RULE #.2 Curfew is from 12 p.m until 7.30 a.m
Applicable to ALL citizens, humans AND cyborgs.

RULE #.3 All propaganda against the government, written or verbal is a crime.

RULE #.4 All the above laws if broken are punishable by death.

WELCOME TO THE NATION

Are you ready?

Release Date: April 14, 2020


My Review:

Terra has always hated the laws that constrict her world. Cyborgs and humans are forbidden to associate, monitoring chips are implanted in all citizens at birth, and strict curfews and menacing Watchmen keep tight control on the citizens. Segregation and racism are rampant (humans vs. cyborgs) and perpetuate the fear and violence that permeates Terra’s society.

Terra fights in the pits as a way to control her rage and fight the system. While fighting one day, she is shocked to see the mysterious cyborg who has haunted her nightmares. She determines to find out more about him and her nightmares even though she knows that associating with the handsome cyborg is against all of the rules.

Kalem knows he shouldn’t get involved with Terra, but there is something about her that captivates him. When Scarlet, the leader of Kalem’s hodge-podge group of cyborgs asks him to keep watch over Terra, Kalem knows he is lost. But why does Scarlet want to protect Terra? How does this human connect to the cyborgs?

This is an interesting spin on the stereotypical young adult dystopian romance. I enjoyed reading about the history of this society, the origination and exile of the cyborgs, and how different types of cyborgs came to be. I also liked how the author integrated so many of the typical characteristics of a dystopia into the story while making it seem fresh and original. These include:

  • The disenfranchised protagonist who feels trapped in an oppressive society and fights to effect change,
  • The government that has too much power, too much control, monitors citizens fiercely, harshly punishes, and severely restricts freedoms,
  • A large number of citizens who live in a dehumanized state,
  • The use of propaganda to control the people and keep them submissive.

These dystopian characteristics invoke sympathy and outrage in the reader from a very early point in the story because the mistreatment and oppression are so unfair and so severe. One can easily understand why Terra chooses to fight the system. Though her actions aren’t always savory, her motivations are.

Terra is strong, stubborn, and willing to fight for what is right, especially when it affects people she loves. She and Kalem are very similar, in that they share these qualities and more. They are both feel lost as if something is missing in their lives though they can’t quite place what it is. They are reluctant to trust, they both have complicated familial relationships, and they both want more out of life than the harsh realities that they face. Together, they are better equipped to succeed than apart.

The growing relationship between Kalem and Terra is fabulous. They have a strong connection and some awesome chemistry! Check out some of Kalem’s thoughts about Terra. They’re swoon-worthy:

“He cupped her face with his robotic hands, forgetting that his hands were made of metal while hers were made of human skin. He forgot that every inch of her was human whereas his wasn’t. In that exact moment it was just him and her. A boy and a girl. Kalem and Terra.”

I also enjoyed the other relationships in the story. Terra has an almost non-existent relationship with her family, especially since her mother’s death. Kalen, however, has interesting family dynamics. Scarlet and Eric stand out as a couple with a deep and true relationship. Camille, Kalem’s mom, is a strong and secure woman who loves Kalem unconditionally (and worries about him a ton!), and Kalem’s extended family is filled with a unique and helpful cast of characters. A warm and loving group, Kalen’s family severely contrasts Terra’s cold and distant relatives.

I found it interesting that the characters who were treated as less-than-human were more real, loving, and loyal than the humans. There are some strong messages her about judgment, love, and loyalty that I think readers will love.

This is an action-packed story with unusual and well-developed characters. There are many and varied fight scenes, amazing and dangerous journeys, and an array of obstacles that stand in the way. The characters are dynamic and interesting – definitely ones that you want to learn more about, from the unusual and scary twin Ten and Rife to the evil cyborg Petra to Terra’s human friends, all of the characters add to the depth and development of the story.

This is the second book in the series but can easily be read as a standalone. Thanks so much to R&R Book Tours for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The well-developed dystopian elements.
  • The love story, of course!
  • The history of the society, how the government gained power, how humans and cyborgs influenced these changes, and how the past wrongs perpetuate the hideousness of the present.
  • The action! There are some awesome fight and flight scenes in this story!

Exclusive Excerpt:

‘My name is Terra Underwood, by the way.’

‘Didn’t ask.’

‘I know, thought you should know anyway.’

She heard him sigh.

‘I’m Kalem.’ A few seconds passed and then, ‘Kalem Akuma.’

‘Akuma? Seriously?’

‘It means demon.’

She couldn’t help but think it was rather fitting.

‘Well, Underwood means ‘wood that is under.’ What exactly it’s under we’ll never know.’

‘Is that meant to be a joke?’

‘Everything I say is meant as a joke.’

She could almost hear him smile, and that brought her own lips to twist upwards. She closed her eyes, feeling suddenly at ease and comfortable.

‘Good night, wood that is under.’

Terra’s smile deepened.

‘Good night, demon.’


About the Author:

J.F.Johns is 27 years old and was born and raised in Spain. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at ARU in Cambridge, UK.

She won the Indie Book Awards 2017 for best book written by an author under the age of 25, and was a finalist for best book cover with her novel Eternal Darkness. She’s an animal lover, and spends her free time playing with her adopted dog and rescued cat, drinking too much coffee and posting book photos on her Instagram. She believes in the art of dramatic sighing and eye rolling. She works as a ninja, but has been told several times that she’s not very good at her job.


Giveaway:

For a chance to win a paperback copy of Eternal Darkness by J.F. Johns, click the image below!


3 thoughts on “Review and Blog Tour: After Darkness by J.F. Johns

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