Title: The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors
Author: L.J. Elliott
Release Date: November 17, 2020
Publisher: Wallace Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: Borrow It (3 Stars)
Disclaimer: Mild spoilers.
*I want to thank Lotté for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. You can check out her website here!
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. (Goodreads)
Lotté Elliott is an author from North-Eastern England who began as an avid reader before picking up a pen one day and started using her imagination as a tool to create a new universe just like her favourite fictional ones. Through literature, she saw a whole new world open up, and ever since she put pen to page, she has not stopped diving into the deepest parts of the mind and pulled out words that could inspire through poetry or start an adventure with a new character.
When she isn’t writing novels, poetry, or screenplays with her sister Francesca, Lotté loves nothing more than to find inspiration for life through art films, music, exploring museums, and language learning. She loves to explore the deepest meaning behind things and gain new perspectives of the world in which we inhabit.
This book spoke to my inner 16 year old who was obsessed with anything to do with teenagers with supernatural powers. It was an intriguing read with a unique twist on gifted teenagers and a fast-paced plot.
I enjoyed how this book didn’t fall prey to a lot of Young Adult tropes that I thought it would. It starts with a kind of classic idea of a teenager with dead parents, doing something to get them shipped off somewhere, in this case a facility for supernatural youth. This gave me certain expectations for where this book was going to go, but Elliott does a great job of subverting expectations as the book goes on.
I enjoyed the plot for its unpredictability. Just when I thought the book was going in one direction or simply ending, it took a 180 degree turn in another direction. That thing you thought was happening, yeah it wasn’t. It kept me guessing and also made this a quick read. There was a lot of well-planned action that kept me on the tip of my toes for most of the latter part of the book. It also had a lot of intrigue. What is Lucida really? What is Dr. Lincoln up to? Who can we trust? It definitely kept me guessing.
I did struggle with the first person narrative. It got very repetitive and felt like a lot of telling rather than showing me how Lexia was feeling or reacting to the world around her. I felt like Lexia’s thoughts kept repeating themselves from earlier in the book and would go on for multiple pages. It slowed down what was otherwise a well-paced book. The dialogue was also sometimes a bit choppy and didn’t feel like it flowed naturally. It often felt a bit robotic and didn’t fit the flow of the way teenagers would talk. Also, they spent a lot of time just talking about what was going on in the facility. I would have liked to have seen more conversations as them just being teenagers.
Additionally, the characters could have used a bit more development. I enjoyed that they all had backstories and motives, but I felt that their characteristics and mannerisms could have been fleshed out more. Especially given that there was a lot of characters in this story. I also wish the romance had been given more time. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two of them, but it didn’t feel like much more than a general attraction between the two.
Overall, I think this a good book for fans of supernatural young adult books. It’s action packed, has unique twist and turns, teenage angst and rebellion, and fun supernatural abilities.