I was provided a copy of The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors by the author Lotte in exchange for an honest review. So thank you to Lotte for providing me a copy so I could review it for you all.
Title: The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors
Author: L. J. Elliott
Publisher: Wallace Publishing
Audience: Young Adult
Release Date: 17th November 2020
Taken from Lotte’s Website
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.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when starting The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it. To begin with, I did think that it was going to follow some of the more predictable girl with powers she can’t control tropes, but I was proven wrong. After the first couple of chapters, the plot quickly changed direction into something I was not expecting, which meant that I was hooked from that moment on. The further into the story that I got, the more twists and turns that kept coming, making me even more gripped, so much so, I finished the last 50% in one sitting.
I think one of the reasons that I was so engaged in the story was due to the well thought out plot. Every part of the plot was easy to comprehend; this allowed me to be fully engaged, without having to think about what was going on. By making the plot so easy to follow it meant that the characters could be at the forefront of the story, something that I love from the books that I read.
Initially, I was not too fond of our main character Lexia, as I found her to be a bit immature for her age range. But the further into the story we went, the more that I grew to like her, especially as she matured and developed. Within the story, there are hints at two possible romantic relationships, but I was really impressed that L. J. Elliott didn’t make Lexia’s romantic relationships the main focus of the story. They were in the background, but they never impacted on the decisions that Lexia made, she always put herself and her feelings first, which is something I would like to see more of in young adult fantasy. That being said, I do have my favourite of her love interests, and I am excited to see where they go in the sequel.
While I did like the pacing in The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors, I felt that it went slightly too fast, as I do think there was a little bit of world building missing. I didn’t actually realise until the mid-point that it was set in the UK, and I only discovered because of a brief mention in a conversation between two characters. I would have preferred that this was addressed right at the beginning, as I feel that it enhances the reader’s experience when they can understand the much wider setting of a book. I would have also loved to have found out how the characters powers came about, but this is only the first book in a series, so there is still time for that yet.
Overall, I had a really great time reading The Damned Society: Smoke and Mirrors, and I can’t wait to see where the sequel is going to take the characters after the ending. It is definitely worth picking up if you are interested in quick paced young adult fantasy, that has lots of plot twists and turns.