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REVIEW: How To See In The Dark – Lilith Frost

How To See In The Dark - Lilith Frost

Genre: Sci-Fi, Paranormal

Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

In this explosive sequel to Lilith Frost’s groundbreaking debut novel Trials on the Hard Way Home, Bryan, now James, must undertake a harrowing journey into his past amidst the treacherous landscape of an apocalyptic America.

James must do whatever it takes to continue protecting a lifetime of secrets—secrets that first led him to his new life and have since made him the target of nefarious plots. In the harsh realities of home, supernatural dangers lurk around every corner, and nothing is quite what it seems in the dark. James must contend with the horrors of his youth and his decision to abandon a brighter future with the men he loved, all while struggling to survive against human treachery and creatures of the night.

Reconnected with family and a lost love he never thought he would see again, the past and present collide in this thrilling and heart-wrenching mystery that breathes fresh life into the science fiction, LGBTQ+, and fantasy genres.

How to See in the Dark is an exciting and poignant story in which one man must face the traumas of his youth, navigate the challenges of unconventional love, and trust in the loyalty of friends in a world where everyone has a secret to protect.

The Review

Well, Ms. Frost likes ‘em weird. And she likes to end the stories abruptly, which is a cliffhanger by any definition of the word. It should have annoyed me more, but instead all this one did is to make me yearn to read what happens next.

This is the second in what is clearly a series of at least three books. They are not really M/M at all, but they are about non-straight relationships. Lilith Frost’s writing is quiet, matter-of-fact, and (aside from her aggressive disregard for tenses) almost stream-of-consciousness in the way it moves from one character’s point-of-view to another without hesitation or preamble.

For all that, it’s not confusing to read this fairly long narrative, which picks up where the first book (Trials on the Hard Way Home) left off. Bryan, now using his (possibly) real name, James, has returned to his home in the post-apocalyptic northwest United States, where he sort of rejoins the community he left to study and explore the world some years before. Having abandoned the two men he truly loved in order to save them, James resigns himself to rebuilding his former life back where he started. What he cannot avoid, however, is the fact that he is irrevocably changed by his education and travels; and is also accompanied by his new best friend, Corinthia, who is a (were)wolf.

James proclaims, rather wonderfully, that there is no such thing as magic, only nature that we don’t yet understand. So, technically, this tale is neither paranormal nor romantic, since the strange beings and creatures that abound in what used to be something like Oregon territory, are all simply things that James understands, and hence not magical. Right in the middle of the book is a long flashback, in which James explains to Corinthia the truth of his past.

Then, at the end, is a weird and (at least for slow-minded me) unexpected twist that delighted me. I will say no more, because it leads up to the ending-which-is-a-cliffhanger.

The development of Corinthia’s character is lovely to experience, as is the introduction of Orin, who is not quite what he seems to be either. Corinthia is plucky and wise, a cross between James Bond and Gidget. Oh, and then there’s Indira, about whom I can say nothing but that she explains a whole lot. She’s an amazing character, handled with economy and sharp insight.

Despite her relentless linearity and apparent lack of literary flourishes, Frost creates a surprisingly vivid world, far removed from the kind of Mad Max mayhem Hollywood has created to represent post-apocalyptic America. Frost gives us a world that has been destroyed, but where nature still dominates and thrives, somewhat expanded beyond what any of her readers might know from their own experience. It is a place that is fertile and filled with potential. She also has made characters who feel profoundly human, even when they’re not.

I really hope Frost is close to finishing book three!

The Reviewer

Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.

Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.

By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City. 

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