Dishonorably discharged, former Navy SEAL Shane Laughlin is down to his last ten bucks when he finally finds work as a test subject at the Obermeyer Institute, a little-known and believed-to-be-fringe scientific research facility. When he enters the OI compound, he is plunged into a strange world where seemingly mild-mannered scientists–including women half his size–can kick his highly skilled ass.
Shane soon discovers that there are certain individuals who possess the unique ability to access untapped regions of the brain with extraordinary results–including telekinesis, super strength, and reversal of the aging process. Known as “Greater-Thans”, this rare breed is recruited by OI, where they are rigorously trained using ancient techniques to cultivate their powers and wield them responsibly.
But in depths of America’s second Great Depression, where the divide between the haves and have-nots has grown even wider, those who are rich–and reckless–enough have a quick, seductive alternative: Destiny, a highly addictive designer drug that can make anyone a Greater-Than, with the power of eternal youth. The sinister cartel known as The Organization has begun mass-producing Destiny, and the demand is growing. But few realize the drug’s true danger, and fewer still know the dirty secret of Destiny’s crucial ingredient.
Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie knows the ugly truth. And as one of the Obermeyer Institute’s crack team of operatives, she’s determined to end the scourge of Destiny. But her kick-ass attitude gets knocked for a loop when she discovers one of the new test subjects is the same smoldering stranger who rocked her world in a one-night stand. And although Shane quickly discovers he isn’t a Greater-Than like Mac, as an ex-Seal, he’s got talents of his own. But Mac’s got powerful reasons to keep her distance from Shane–and reasons to want him close. She’s used to risking her life, but now she faces risking her heart in the ultimate war on drugs.
Have you ever read a book where you just weren’t sure what to think about it once you were done? That’s how I felt with this one. There were bits that I liked and bits that… I really didn’t. And, dammit, I wanted to like this book!
Born to Darkness is the first book by Suzanne Brockmann that I’ve read. I was quite keen on the premise of the book, but I felt that it fell a little short. Let me start with the book’s format. Born to Darkness didn’t focus on one main couple, but on three. This was good because the “main” couple bugged the hell out of me. More on that later. Next is the whole universe that Brockmann had set up. This is an America of the future (don’t know how far into the future because I don’t believe that the year was ever mentioned), and it is a very, very bleak future indeed. Money is tight, people in general are so apathetic it’s scary, and rich yahoos take drugs that make both superhuman and crazy. There are also people with incredible powers, who come by their superhuman-ness naturally. Some of these people work for the Obermeyer Institute in an effort to not only train those who’ve just discovered their powers, but to get Destiny off the street. The Obermeyer Institute is a safe place for those born with extra super special powers, a place where tests are carried out and a place where Greater-Thans, without somewhere to live, can stay. Sounds good, right?
But there were bits that just felt a bit iffy for me. The bad guys were sort of… obvious bad guys. Because all bad guys are hideously disfigured, because how else will you know how to avoid them? And the three main couples, who I’ll talk about more in just a sec, seemed to just fall in love in the space of less than a week. Upon reflection, all the couples bugged me in some way and let me tell you why. Mac and Shane were Born of Darkness’s main focus. Mac has issues, and fair enough. She’s got this huge wall around her and she very rarely lets anyone too close. And because of her unusual… talents, she doesn’t believe that anyone will want her of their own free will. Shane and Mac had a thing, which Mac believes was as a result of her talent. Shane, after having the situation explained to him, doesn’t much care. He wants Mac. He believes that there’s a connection, despite the fact that Mac treats him like a yo-yo with her “go away, no come back!” routine. Very irritating. The next couple is Elliot and Stephen. I honestly felt that they declared the “I-love-yous” far too quickly. And I thought that Brockmann could have gone deeper with their relationship. Their issues and stuff seemed to be glossed over. The last couple were Dr Joseph Back and Anna Taylor. Theirs was the relationship I was most invested in and, by the end of the book, it was left up in the air.
There was also a little short story at the end of the book, Shane’s Last Stand. I’ll be honest, it didn’t do anything for me. It basically covered the how and why of Shane’s dishonourable discharge. It’s only about five chapters long, so it’s a really short read.
So, in all, this is not a book that’s going to make it onto my top ten list. Born of Darkness definitely had it’s good bits, but I just felt that something was missing. I’ll probably read the next book in the series (if one ever comes out; it’s a 2012 release and I haven’t seen any mention of a sequel) if only to see what the hell’s going to happen with Anna and Bach.