After Darkness II is the thrilling new sequel to the YA dystopian After Darkness, written by J. F. Johns.
Thank you to the author J. F. Johns for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After Darkness is set in a dystopian world with 7 distinct Capitals. Over 100 years ago, the government started experimenting on humans to create cyborgs. Cyborgs were then introduced into society, living alongside humans. But then the cyborgs (and some humans) rebelled in what’s known as the Dark Era. They lost and were exiled to No Man’s Land, a desolate wasteland outside of the seven Capitals. 20 years on in the present day, cyborgs have been reintroduced to society. Humans and cyborgs are forbidden from communicating in any way, without permission from the government.
After Darkness II follows on directly after the events of After Darkness — read my review for After Darkness if you’re not familiar with the series to avoid spoilers! It follows Terra Underwood, a 17-year-old human girl who is in love with Kalem, a cyborg.
I was so excited to get back into the amazing world that J F Johns has created! The first book in the series was one of my favourite books of 2020. I am a big fan of dystopian fiction, and J F Johns gives the genre a unique twist by adding cyborgs into the mix!
After Darkness II starts where the first book ended — Terra has been kidnapped and is being tortured by Petra. As an act of revenge, all of her memories of Kalem have been stolen by Petra’s brother, Viktor. When she is finally rescued, she doesn’t recognise Kalem at all. This is absolutely heartbreaking for him — as well as his family. Terra and Kalem’s relationship was so well-written in the first book and I thought they were such a cute couple. I enjoyed reading about how Terra’s memory loss changes their relationship, and whether they can restore their romance — and whether Terra’s memories can be returned to her.
Kalem’s family feature much more in this book than in the first, and I really enjoyed learning more about them all! My favourite is Eric, who is determined to find Scarlet following her transformation at the end of the first book and bring her home. I also enjoyed seeing more of the twins, Ten and Rife, who are spooky and weird in their own way. We also get to meet a new X-Prototype, Tristan, who adds a whole new dynamic to the story! I really love the chemistry and banter around Kalem’s family — I picture them all so vividly when I read any of the scenes with them.
Petra is an even more menacing and dangerous villain in this book. She is incredibly clever, and delights in torturing humans throughout the book. Her brother Viktor is equally terrifying. Being able to alter people’s minds and control people is a really scary power to have, and I think Viktor is even more unnerving because he doesn’t speak. Petra is such a terrifying enemy and seems to outwit our heroes at every turn. She is very much a ‘love to hate’ character for me! We learn more about her past in After Darkness II, which was great — making her much more relatable and giving her actions more context.
I really enjoyed this second book in the series — it is a fantastic follow up to After Darkness. It has all the elements of a great book — including lots of tension, some romance and tender moments, as well as lots of danger! I was left wondering how Kalem and his family could possibly get out of this next dilemma and what would happen to the world now. It’s been playing on my mind ever since I finished the book so I am really excited to see that J F Johns has a third installment planned for September 2021!
The blurb for After Darkness II
It’s the year 2160.
The Nation is divided between humans and cyborgs.
If you want to survive, follow these simple rules.
RULE #.1 Don’t go out after curfew.
RULE #.2 Don’t speak out against your government.
RULE #.3 Don’t fall in love with a cyborg.
RULE #.4 If you break these rules, you’ll be punished.
WELCOME TO THE NATION.
About the author, J. F. Johns
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.