So last year, I read and enjoyed all of the Lux series in one fevered week. Armentrout's writing is easy to read and fluffy, and while she often relies on tropes that aren't my favourite, they were a fun read while I was recovering from the flu. I have to say that one of the most memorable characters from the series was Luc-- aka our main love interest in The Darkest Star-- and I was really excited to see a book that dealt with the ramifications of the Luxen invasion and a changing world.
The premise is that four years after the Luxen have invaded, there's trouble stirring up in a small town. Evie, our main character, goes to a club where she knows aliens are known to hang out and runs into Luc in the midst of a raid. We find out that the government has been creating alien-tracking technology and has a registry of known Luxen dwelling amongst the humans (which very quickly sets the scene for the struggles that are going to happen in the rest of this series-- FYI it's never a good thing when any groups are rounded up and catalogued.) Luc is running some sort of Underground Railroad stop for Luxen who are desperate and seems to be the same sort of all-powerful teen mafia boss that he was in the Lux series.
Things I Loved:
-- The imaginings of the aftermath of the Luxen invasion were really interesting and are of critical importance in any kind of fiction in today's political climate. These parallels are always interesting to me and the fact that Armentrout set all this up was a major plus for me.
-- Luc is still funny and badass in that "I'm sorta socially awkward but everyone just kinda goes along with it" way.
Things I Liked:
-- The predictable romance between Evie and Luc was cute. I don't think I have much more to add than that.
-- Seeing all of the small references to the Lux series was pretty cool.
Things That I Disliked:
-- Evie's characterization seemed all over the place to me. She was fiesty and then she was meek. She felt oh-so-betrayed and then she was fine with everything on the next page. I felt like I had whiplash from darting between the versions of Evie we were supposed to know. One of the minor irksome things was that Evie's alleged passion for photography didn't play out in her character aside from small scenes of her wanting to take a photo. There was nothing artistic about the way she viewed the world unless her narrative voice was for sure saying "oh wow this would make a good photo! Rule of thirds!" which spoke to me of "I sorta googled photography to figure out what a photographer would be like rather than immersing myself in the mindset."
-- Plot twists were fairly predictable-- and were FOR SURE predictable if you've read other works by Armentrout.
-- Pacing was off. Too many things happened at one time and too many revelations were piled on top of each other in the grand reveals.
-- You could probably make a drinking game out of Luc saying that he was going to reveal something and then NOT REVEALING ANYTHING and get very, very drunk very, very fast. To my point above, if some of his "stories" had been told earlier on, even in part, it would have helped with the pacing of the plot and keeping me from banging my head against my headboard wondering how many times in a row they could meet up and she would not learn anything at all.
Overall, would I recommend this book? If you're a fan of the Lux world, then you're a fan and you would probably enjoy this book. I'm not a diehard Lux fan-- much more of a casual one-- so this book was really good for a quick, not-super-invested read. I'll probably pick up the next one and see how some of these things continue to develop, but it won't be an instant buy or need to read this immediately. The Darkest Star was, for me, a read of convenience and a need for a popcorn book-- which is just fine.