Out of Darkness is the first book in The Creation of Jack series by indie author E.B. Dawson (check out her blog!) I have to admit: I stayed up way later than I meant to when reading this book. That’s pretty high praise, right there!
I’ve read a lot of books, and after awhile, you start seeing patterns in the types of characters. You’ve got your YA dystopian heroine, your black-haired sassy bad boy, your farm boy hero… But I can’t think of any other characters like Logan, Out of Darkness‘s heroine.
You can read the synopsis (and buy the book!) on Amazon.
Before getting into just what made her so unique, here’s my overall thoughts.
This book reminded me of Ender’s Game. A lot. Even down to the conversations opening the chapters. The similarity isn’t a bad thing- I love Ender’s Game, and didn’t go into this book expecting a super unique premise. Instead, the setting felt comfortably familiar while the characters surprised and delighted me.
I hate to talk about grammar/formatting, because that’s irrelevant to the quality of a story, but there are some paragraph break issues that made the conversations hard to follow. That doesn’t affect the story itself, but it affected the way I read it.
One thing I liked about this book was its non-linear story. It starts with a prologue that takes place about halfway through the book, which normally would be gimmicky but works well here- mostly because I was intrigued by the setting and excited to see how Logan got there. The first chapter brings the reader to the beginning, but then time jumps forward again. The rest of the book skips back and forth.
This is never confusing, mostly because of Logan’s name change to Jack. And even though I could follow the story just fine, it had a chaotic feeling that matches Logan’s state of mind. It’s very fitting.
As great as this is, however, I felt like some of the story was missing. We only see a little of Jack’s training, and the name change- which was so important for her, psychologically- seemed rushed. I also could have seen more relationship development. There are some great friendships, but the scenes that built those up are skipped over in favor of the culmination of the relationships. Much of the potential story is summed up with ‘he was the only decent person’ or ‘she trained for x amount of time.’ And I get that, since the reader knows where she ends up, it may be redundant to show every step along the way, but I know I could have read more.
That being said, Out of Darkness is super enjoyable overall. And like I mentioned earlier, Logan/Jack rocks.
She’s a very unique character. Most characters with a ‘tragic past’ deal with it by being hard and angry. Logan is far beyond that. She’s a mess, emotionally and mentally (and often physically). She suffers from major PTSD, but less in an ‘I’m angry all the time’ way and more in a ‘I can’t pay attention to anything but potential attacks’ way.
I don’t know near enough about PTSD to say if her struggles are an accurate depiction. However, her lack of focus and combat instincts seem true to her situation.
Even better, Out of Darkness doesn’t leave her messy. By the end, she has a few friends and is willing to move beyond what hurt her. Although she’s far from ‘whole,’ she takes the first steps in that direction.
I really liked the two different sides to her, Logan and Jack, and how Jack helped Logan through her ‘training.’ I also loved how, even after she chose to let her Logan side ‘take over’ again, nothing is magically fixed. She’s better, but not fully healed yet.
Out of Darkness brings its heroine to her knees, but it also shows her beginning to stand again. Both depictions are so important- some people are broken, and I think fiction should reflect that. But it’s also possible to heal, and that hope should be emphasized. Out of Darkness is an exhilarating depiction of that hope.
What are some other great, broken characters?