Deluded Review – Into the Light
About the Book Into the Light
- Written by Aleatha Romig
- 354 pages
- Published June 14th 2016
From Goodreads: Sara Adams awakes blind, unable to remember the most basic details of her life, but her darkness seems a blessing when she discovers the terrors of The Light.
When her best friend disappears, Stella investigates—despite warnings from her police detective boyfriend—following a twisted trail that leads her through the city’s most dangerous and forsaken precincts. There she uncovers something more sinister than she could have imagined: a shadowy organization known as The Light, led by the enigmatic Father Gabriel.
As Sara struggles to understand her place in the strange world she’s awakened to, Stella risks all to discover the truth. But enlightenment always comes with a price…
I originally applied to read Into the Light through NetGalley, and was delighted when I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review. The plot seemed so very intriguing – anything involving mysterious cults typically peaks my interest.
The book starts out with a bang – literally. In the prologue, we are treated to a chaotic and muddled third-person scene in which a female protagonist is struggling after some sort of accident. We have no idea who she is or what has happened, which is a tactic that immediately helps to pull the reader into the story. She imagines she is being attacked by a dragon breathing flame as something explodes around her and then experiences extreme pain as she is beaten… fade to black. A really intriguing opening that helped to set the tone of the rest of the novel.
The actual story shifts into first person as the woman, named Sara, heals into a hospital. Her injuries have left her temporarily blind, unable to talk for several days, and unable to remember any details about her life. She isn’t even sure her name is Sara. However, she is aided by a man named Jacob who calls himself her husband. Although she has no memory of him, she finds his guidance comforting.
Slowly, she learns that she is part of a society known as The Light, which is basically some creepy cult put together by this guy named Father Gabriel. In this cult, women are subservient to men and must complete their every will without question. In the cult’s philosophy, even asking a simple question like “What are you doing?” is punishable by abuse. Though Sara doesn’t seem to think she would willingly join such as cult, she goes along with the rouse until she can remember more. Just this premise alone is something that the book is highly successful at; it’s such a unique take on the whole cult theme.
Meanwhile, back in dodgy Detroit, a woman called Stella is investigating the appearance of her best friend, Mindy. Of course, Stella has this cool investigative journalist job where she basically gets to do whatever she wants all day. Like most of the books I’ve read that feature an investigator or private detector, she actually isn’t that good at investigating. It takes her until the end of the novel to make any real progress in an investigation that probably could have been solved with a few good Google searches.
I do appreciate the depth and poise with which the central mystery was created; however, I do think that for someone who was top of their class in school and who has such determination, the mystery could have been solved sooner (and without such drastic consequences). But hey, that’s just a small complaint – the overall pacing of the reveal was much better and less transparent than so many other mystery thrillers out there.
Anyway, back to Sara – she continues to adjust to her life, and the reader is slowly introduced to more details about this twisted society along with Sara. As Sara keeps making mistakes, she is eventually spanked with a belt by her husband Jacob. For me, this was really one of the most campy parts of the novel. It was at this point that it started resembling a cheesy romance novel about BDSM. After looking into it, I did discover that the author has written several romance series in the past, so I’m sure that’s just a reflection of her previous work.
Eventually, however, Sara is permitted to leave the hospital. Even though she is being tortured by her husband Jacob, she still finds herself in love with him, and they eventually consummate that love, which is both really creepy yet somehow totally intriguing because he is basically playing on her Stockholm syndrome. Everyone is – even the others who have been kidnapped in the same fashion before her. They’re all completely and utterly dedicated to serving The Light, even if that means kidnapping random people off the street and convincing them they belong to their cult. It’s an element you don’t often see in stories because they are often afraid to cross the creepy line.
Meanwhile, Stella creeps closer and closer to solving the mystery. Eventually, she does crack the case, but not before tragedy strikes in a somewhat expected way (Seriously woman, did you really fall for that phone call? How in the world would that guy have gotten your name and number?). Sara too, begins to crack the mystery, and we see that discovery through the eyes of Jacob.
Without revealing the twist ending, the story ends on a climax that will ultimately need to be resolved in the next book, Away from the Light. I will say, the twist was a bit shocking (the way the novel is set up purposefully tries to fool you), but I did figure it out before it was revealed.
Overall, I really enjoyed Into the Light. I thought the plot was intriguing and invoked a unique concept that kept me wanting to read on to the end. Suspense was prevalent in the right moments without being overdone, and tension slowly built throughout the entire story until it culminated in a satisfying yet teasing ending. I also enjoyed the various points of view as it helped to tell the story as a whole from many different viewpoints. I look forward to reading the second part of this series when it comes out so I can finally find out what happens to Stella and Sara!