Never before has a book made me want to set my local library on fire, but, dear reader, I give you There Is No Light In Darkness. That 4+ average rating drew me into a Twilight situation: loads of tweens love it, despite the overall lack of sense being made. I ranted about this and its bogus high rating until my friend interrupted me to say, "You are so livid."
Firstly, the main thrust of the synopsis holds only the barest relation to the actual content of the book. Upon reading the description, we are led to believe this girl is is actively searching out answers concerning the mysterious murder and disappearance of her mother and father, respectively.
It starts out promisingly enough, with the reader being taken through the scene of Blake's recurring nightmare, in which she wakes in a dark house to find her mother dead in a pool of her own blood, and strangers carrying her father away, who then take her and a boy she knows (who is there for no reason other than it furthers a future angle, and if one of you has another explanation then please tell me) to be raised in separate foster homes.
In the present day, Blake Brennan is blonde and pretty while interning at a law firm. She has one friend from law school that she supposedly keeps close because her godfather happens to be Blake's own lawyer that she has never met, and who is in control of the estate that her beloved first foster mother left her upon dying during Blake's teen years. She manages to meet and recognize this lawyer very easily, very early on. She has a boyfriend she doesn't really care about, seeing as how some hot guy from her past that she's in a weird non-relationship with keeps showing up to sleep in her bed and call her baby every thirty seconds, causing me to want to vomit upon the pages of the book as I read the word for the umpteenth time in a row only so far in.
In a letter left by her foster mother, Blake discovers that her birth name is Catherine Blake Brennan, and that she is not to use said name unless she wants very bad people to find her. Wait. WHAT? YOU'RE SAYING PEOPLE MAY HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR A CATHERINE BLAKE BRENNAN FOR TWO DECADES, AND THE FACT THAT SHE HAS GONE BY BLAKE BRENNAN HAS KEPT HER SAFE FOR TWENTY YEARS? YOU'RE SAYING IF A CRIMINAL MASTERMIND GOOGLES ANY COMBINATION OF THE WORDS 'CATHERINE' AND 'BLAKE' AND 'BRENNAN' AND FINDS ONLY A BLAKE BRENNAN THEY WILL SAY, "NOT HER. KEEP SEARCHING"?
The plot holes are big enough for a great white whale to jump through, but forget all that noise, because we have to talk about Cole, aka the actual reason for this book's existence. Y'all knew by the first few chapters in that this thing wasn't actually about discovering the past or the truth or murder or mystery, right? It's about boning the love of your life while he calls you baby on repeat, baby. Cole and Blake aren't officially a couple, but he's on her pretty hardcore as if he owns her. It turns out they grew up together in her second foster home, and Cole is one fifth of the family that Blake has gathered around her and seeks to protect.
As Blake's memories start to be filled in by helpful evidence that falls right into her lap, more of the mystery surrounding her parents comes to light, but not by much because, remember now, this isn't about a woman's journey toward the light, it's a sex romance with flimsy plot to hold it up. Don't get me wrong, I truly love a romance, but I hate false advertising.
Three quarters through, Blake gives us an epilogue. She lists all the ways things have changed since the epic nonevents that took up the bulk of the book, such as who lives with whom now, what relationships are going where, and all of their happy rosy plans for the future. Then comes an ominous meeting with a handsome scary stranger, a surprise murder, another premature epilogue, and a cliffhanger thrown in at the end because it just wasn't sloppy enough.
To put it in a nutshell: The relationship swallows the book whole, and what could have been a thrilling mystery about a strong intelligent heroine turned into a soap opera about a sad sack who needs saving. It's bogged down by a metric fuckton of filler, like detailed descriptions of how Blake gets dressed for dinner in a chapter that does nothing to further the plot whatsoever, right down to the anti-frizz serum she puts in her hair. It also suffers from insufficient editing, from the confusing mixing of tenses in a single sentence to plural words made possessive, and the fact that no one involved took a second to google whether Bob Marley actually sang Don't Worry Be Happy before letting it go to the printers. I had high hopes based on that killer synopsis. Whoever writes all those should be proud of their Don Draper-level sugarcoating skills.