Darkness Watching (Darkworld #1) by Emma L. Adams
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 10, 2013
Amazon ♥ B & N
Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.
Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...
So much for being the amazing Oxford candidate.
No dark spaces waited for us around the assembly hall this time. Mr Darton stood barring the door to make sure no one sneaked in to get a look at the exam papers. I raced through quotations in my head, praying to the gods of exams that the right question would come up. Avoiding a panic attack would be nice, too.
Breathe. I didn't want a repeat of the interview. The word fiasco came to mind when I thought of the day after the demons came, when I'd sat before the stereotypically grey-bearded distinguished professor of literature and, intelligently, said, "I like, um, reading."
Thirty minutes of nonsensical rambling later, I'd left the interview room and walked right through a dark space that looked as though it had been torn out of the universe. A patch of air, densely black yet somehow transparent, so I could see through to the other side, where people walked along the corridor, talking, completely oblivious to the darkness.
Only I could see it.
And before I could even gather my thoughts, a pair of violet eyes stated at me from the blackness.
I cracked. I screamed my head off and ran.
"I think you made quite an impression," said Mum, after I'd calmed down. "Not everyone runs screaming out of their interview."
"Ha-freaking-ha," I said sourly. Hardly the impression I'd hoped for―Ashlyn the lunatic as opposed to Ashlyn the knowledgeable literary critic.
The next day, my parents frog-marched me to the doctor's for anxiety medication.
Like medication would make a difference. No prescribed medicine could cure fear of the dark. Or demons.
The fear never really went away, for all that I treated the demons like a minor annoyance. I'd chosen that over giving into insanity and locking myself away. Slowly, I'd adjusted to their staring eyes, like people who went on those reality TV shows must adjust to cameras being there all the time.
A reality TV show is a pretty good comparison. The demons watched me like a fascinating performance, just for them. Everywhere: at school, in the street, at the shops. Dark shapes would appear and I'd be greeted by cold violet eyes and a chill that went bone-deep. But they'd never tried to harm me.
Hell, I didn't even know if they could. They just watched me curiously, as if my seeing them astonished them as much as it did me. After a while, I grew sick of it and stared back. I was bravest in my room, where they couldn't get to me. Sometimes, when I was alone in the house, I felt that prickling sensation along my spine and just knew that when I looked up, I'd see one, outside my window.
But they never came inside, oddly enough; it contradicted their other behaviour because they had no physical substance, if the OED experiment proved anything. I assumed they could materialise anywhere at all. They appeared inside the school building all the time. Strange that they left my house alone, but not something to complain about. The idea of creepy eyes watching me in the shower―well, I'd almost rather have one of those nightmares.
Sometimes, like today, I spoke to them, like a five-year-old conversing with imaginary friends. Albeit vicious ones who refused to let me be. Insulting them brought no satisfaction; it was like swearing at my laptop when it stalled, like hurling insults at the wind.
The clock's ticking brought me back to the present. Shit, how do I have only five minutes left? I pushed my hand to its limits, pen racing down the page, but the stubborn hand of the clock ticked on relentlessly. I wished it would stop.
The clock's hand stopped.
I glanced from side to side. Did I do that? Impossible.
The old school's clock broke down, that was all. People couldn't do things like that.
I looked around frantically, searching for any sign of a demon. Any shadow could be a dark space, right?
Don't be an idiot―finish your answer!
I scribbled the end to my final paragraph, splattering ink everywhere.
A minute later, Mr Darton said to our deputy head, Mrs Cathers, "I make it half past the hour. Do you?"
The two exchanged whispers. I heard the clock mentioned. I can't have done that. There's only so much weird I can see in one day.
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).
Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.