Sydney London , the main character of Swept into the Darkness (Chronicles of the Celestial) by Lataeya Lane, is no ordinary twenty-four year old. Sure, on the surface, she seems fairly regular at first. She’s an assistant kindergarten teacher lives a fairly routine life, or so it seems. Underneath it all, though Sydney is far more complex than even she could imagine. Ever since she was a child she has had unique abilities. She sees things that no one else can see. After an accident that claims the life of her father and seemingly drives her mother insane, not to mention knocking Sydney out cold for four months, her abilities seem to go into overdrive, leaving Sydney confused and frightened before she finally reaches acceptance.
At the beginning of Swept into the Darkness, Sydney really doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary. She goes about her normal morning routine and heads off to a day of wrangling kindergartners to earn her paycheck. Through Sydney’s narration, though, we learn that her routine is anything but her normal day-to-day world. See, Sydney used to be quite the adventurer, traveling the world with her best friend, Christine, and engaging in harrowing activities like bungee jumping and skydiving. After one such adventure, Sydney’s father picked her up from the airport, and in the amount of time it takes for a semi to smash a car, her entire world changed.
After the death of her father and the institutionalizing of her mother, Sydney changes her life completely. It’s like she’s afraid to live, afraid to step outside her safety zone again. Although she really doesn’t need the money, it’s like Sydney finds comfort in the simple task of going to work each day in a safe, controlled environment. When Christine tries to get Sydney to step outside that comfort zone and get back to living a little with a trip to the Poconos, Sydney reluctantly agrees.
Once I saw that the duo was heading to my home area, I was even more hooked. For those wondering where the Poconos are, we’re in Northeast PA, about 90 minutes from New York City and 2 hours from Philly. Author Lataeya Lane is from New Jersey, so I imagine she has pretty intimate knowledge of the Poconos, since half of New Jersey ends up here every weekend! She writes like she knows it, complete with the buckets of snow that we used to get (and seem to be getting again this winter).
Anyway, I digress. Sydney and Christine end up at a cabin in what’s left of the woods in the Poconos for a fun-filled weekend of hiking and exploring. Unfortunately, on the first night there, Sydney manages to break her arm and sprain her ankle. Not a great start to the weekend! After the accident, Sydney starts to realize that her strange abilities are far stronger than she ever knew. When Christine is killed, Sydney must learn everything she can about her powers to bring her back.
I love a good paranormal story, and Lane definitely created a whole new world with its own angel mythos. Sydney not only learns that she’s in the middle of a war between good and evil, but that the guy she thinks she’s falling for isn’t really the guy for her. She goes on a major journey of self-discovery, and that part of the story is quite engaging. There were some downsides to the writing style. I feel like Lane could have fleshed out the conversations and background a bit more, and eliminated or cut back on the non-essential parts (like long descriptions of meals and what not). Overall, though, it was an entertaining read and I look forward to seeing what happens next.
Don’t forget to enter the Swept into the Darkness giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!