Bold. Daring. Emotional. Gripping.
This was a beautiful story replete with love and loss,
hope and death, fight and surrender.
For some, it’s simply one of life’s certainties, nothing more. For others, it’s merely a fleeting thought, one often overshadowed by the reckless delusion that they have been blessed with the gift of immortality.
For Aubrey Miller, death is the definition of her very existence. Overcome with the guilt resulting from the loss of her beloved family, she alters her appearance from the once beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to that of one shrouded in complete darkness, enveloping herself in her own unbreakable fortress of solitude as a form of protection for others.
As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the boisterous former pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend from her past who never really let her go.
Over the years, as their connections intertwine and grow, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three…
But when death painfully reemerges, Aubrey is lost once again, burying herself deeper than ever before inside the familiar fortification of her fears.
Will the refuge of friendship, the solidarity of life-long bonds, and the power of unconditional love be enough to do the impossible?
Will they be enough to finally bring about…
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller?
“…my life was a dark, endless abyss of death. It followed me around like I was some sort of knock-off, subpar grim-reaper. The overwhelming guilt of the role I played in each death reigned over my life, and many of those days consisted of me just trying to keep my head above the grief that consumed me.”
This is a bolder, grittier L.B. Simmons and I loved it! The story isn’t a pretty one, in fact, it’s a story defined by death. Darkness. Surrender. It tells the story of a girl who at a young age experienced the kind of permanent heartache that shattered her, leaving her former self in pieces. She transformed herself. Became a shroud of pain. A facade that hid everything deep, that protected anyone she ever cared about and scared away anyone who dared to approach. Aubrey Miller believed she was death personified. So she killed Aubrey and became Raven.
“Aubrey caused death. Raven prevents it.”
When Raven arrives for her first day of college at Titan University. She ensures every element of her carefully crafted mask is in place. The black and blue hair. The white makeup to pale her complexion juxtaposed by the multiple piercings that covered her face. The cat eye contacts in place to incite disgust. Repulsion. She leaves the only person who loves her despite it all, Linda, her legal guardian. But when she walks into her dorm room, half of which is covered in all kinds of pink thanks to the beautiful, bubbly blonde that unexpectedly disregards her gothness, she has no idea that it was the beginning of another change. The beginning of light shining through the dark abyss that for so long had consumed her.
“…this is my story – my fight to emerge from underneath the shroud of death that I was fearfully hiding behind for so many years.”
Raven’s determination to hide from the world was not working. Her roommate, Quinn, is determined to get to know her. Her usual tactics of deflection were failing miserably and suddenly she found herself fighting the urge to smile for the first time in years. But it’s a knock on the door that would thrust back into her life the one person she’s never forgotten. Kaeleb McMadden. And it’s at the sight of him that everything she’s worked so hard to bury suddenly threatens to erupt chaotically.
“I think some people are just inexplicably bonded. Drawn by forces beyond their own comprehension, they have no choice but to gravitate toward one another. Destined by fate to keep crossing paths until they finally get it right.”
As Raven spends time with Quinn and Kaeleb, she slowly starts to come out of the fog, coming into herself, returning back to Aubrey. Aubrey has carried so much pain for so long that it feels so new to care, to live, to have hope beyond her shadowed reality. And before too long, she finds her feelings for Kaeleb intensifying, but does he know who she is? Would he remember? Regardless, Kaeleb is always there, supporting her and caring for her… pulling her out of her darkness.
“As l long as you continue to travel through life in this darkness you will never know how beautiful your light truly shines when you let yourself love and be loved.”
The trouble is that Raven/Aubrey’s progress is fragile. Years of loss and heartache aren’t easily pushed aside and and the sometimes cruel nature of life threatens to destroy everything she’s rebuilt. And as death once again comes knocking, the perfect storm unravels it all.
“Grief, anger, and fear solidify into the cold blackness forming within me, its inky tendrils growing and spreading, smothering everything alive within me until Aubrey Miller no longer exists. Only death dwells inside of me and I take comfort in it as it blankets my pain.
This story is all kinds of heartache and grief and I truly felt every moment. L.B. Simmons does a great job of creating characters that seem real and vulnerable, making it easy to care for them from the beginning. Although I was able to see some of the plot coming, the power of this book is experienced by the emotional journey this girl takes. There was humor, romance, sadness, sexiness, fear … it truly captured so many of my emotions, holding my attention from beginning to end. This is a standalone book that I assure you, you will read in one sitting.