ARC Review: The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors by L.J. Elliott

Title: The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors

Author: L.J. Elliott

Page Length: 172

Publication Date: Nov. 17, 2020

Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Synopsis: Lexia Luccen is a seventeen-year-old girl with a fiery power that is slowly destroying the last fragments of her sanity. Having lost her abusive father, Lexia is left scarred from the way he treated her and by the grief of his death. When she accidentally uses her ability to create a devastating explosion that takes many lives, she is moved from her life of solitude into the hectic youth facility that is Lucida.

Lucida is no ordinary youth facility. It is a secretly run technological agency for supernatural wayward youth, set up to teach them how to control their abilities after they have caused disturbances in society. These youths think that once they have been reformed, they will be freed. However, the truth is a very different story.

Lies, love, and more death await Lexia at Lucida, and she soon realizes that this facility is not quite what it seems. Now she knows she must make a choice: does she finally give up to the darkness that slowly consumes her—like her father did—or does she follow the firestorm that runs through her veins and for once in her life, battle for something?

Time is running out. Lexia needs to make her decision fast, before Lucida makes it for her. 

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My Review:

When she accidentally triggers her power and causes the death of several people, Lexia is admitted to Lucida, a facility for people to learn to control their powers. However, all is not as it seems, and Lexia determines to find out what is really going on behind the scenes in this mysterious treatment facility.

One of the strengths of the story is the well-developed characters. Lexia, for example, is a dynamic and layered protagonist who grows quite a bit throughout the story. She is a young woman confronted with inexplicable and uncontrollable obstacles, including abuse, bullying, and trying to control her powers. As the story progresses, she shows incredible maturation. She takes control of her life and refuses to wallow in the confusion and self-pity that consumed her. She has a purpose, and her determination to figure out the mysteries of Lucida gives her focus.

Other characters, like Lexia’s love interest and his brother, as well as other teens in Lucida, are unique and intriguing with unusual powers. They have different backstories but are all at Lucida with the same goal – controlling their powers. The powers, though uncontrolled, were amazing, and I’m curious to see how they will use them in future stories.

The intrigue behind Lucida is another interesting aspect of the story. As Lexia receives treatment, she notices some strange occurrences. She starts to see through the façade presented to the occupants of Lucida. This part of the story is filled with surprising twists, and I was curious to find out what the doctor’s motives were.

This is an interesting and unique young adult novel that will appeal to readers who like well-layered characters with cool abilities. Thanks so much to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The intrigue. What’s really going on at Lucida? Where are the teens taken when they leave?
  • The character development. Lexia, in particular, is so well-developed.


I think readers who like YA fiction with action, a little bit of romance, and cool super-human powers will enjoy this book.

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