Review of Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher

Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

Darkest Hour is the 3rd instalment of the Battle Ground series and in a turn from the previous 2 books, gives us the point of view of both Bex and Ketty in the same book. I do really enjoy multiple POV books and the alternating chapters are a real favourite which meant I enjoyed this immensely. Time has moved on a little and whilst Bex and her fellow recruits have made their way to the North East of England, Ketty and Bracken have managed to secure themselves a London posting. This helps to drive Ketty’s story forward as she not only has the resources and intel that such a placement provides but also ready access to the prisoners who are closest to Bex. This is in stark comparison to Bex who is surviving on very little and in almost complete seclusion. It feels almost unfair that this is the turn of events.

Despite the differing ends of the spectrum that the two find themselves at, there are actually a huge amount of similarities. Both are clearly being used. Ketty and her eagerness and utter blind spot where it comes to Bex, is allowing herself to slip and miss the nuances of the situation around her, I can’t help but think that despite her small victories that she is walking blindly into a bad situation for her and Bracken. For Bex, she is constantly at someone else’s whim, she has become the face of the revolution and her image is no longer her own, I have to say that this is a time where I couldn’t help but draw a comparison between her and Katniss Everdeen as the Mockingjay, the bigger picture is being consumed by her hatred of being seen as nothing more than a pretty face. What is clear is that both are pawns in much larger game.

The expansion out of Camp Bishop was also much needed but this is far from a travel show, Bex finds herself in an impossible situation and the bleakness of her pilgrimage to safety was very reminiscent of her initial march where we find her in book 1. I liked that we got to see the impacts in different areas and how society has almost just accepted this new way of life with a frightening apathy. It’s also a very emotional story too, more so for the revolutionary side of things, there are some deeply sad moments for Bex and I did struggle a little with how she reacted and at times she felt a little cold. I guess she’s become a product of her surroundings though. There are parts of this story which will definitely surprise the reader though and my jaw hit the floor at one point where I just couldn’t believe what I was reading.  There are definitely some tough moments to come and the almost flippant discussions around ways of making people talk, show a frightening desensitisation of the kind that can only be born from people who are totally blinkered that their way is the only way. I think that the next book is going to tread very close to the fringes of YA, but this is certainly a series to that I can’t wait to find out what happens next.



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