Book Review: The Child Left in the Dark, J.M. Briscoe

Book Review: The Child Left in the Dark, Take Her Back Book 2, J.M. Briscoe

The Child Left in the Dark, J.M. Briscoe

Science Fiction: The Child Left in the Dark, Take Her Back Book 2, J.M. Briscoe

Blog Tour November 11, 2022


We hear a lot today about the concept of “consent.” Obviously it comes up prominently in areas of sexual ethics, particularly in this “Me Too” era. It also has relevance in medical procedures. Our local university is prohibited from involving anyone in a study without their prior consent and I assume that is common practice. 


There are a lot of people being used in The Child Left in the Dark without their consent. Bella is constantly used by Dr. Lychen with only forced and unwilling consent. Medical experimentation and genetic manipulation is done to numerous subjects without their consent. Animal/human hybrids are created without the consent of the humans (or the animals, presumably). Powerful people exert their power and assume that their ability to do something overrides any issues of consent.


What about parents making decisions for their children without their consent? Most children come to a time when they resent being told what to do, what to wear, where to be, how to act–things that we parents tell them constantly. Bella’s daughter Ariana is in her very early teens. She resents her mother’s control, living in hiding for so many years, unwilling to let Ariana go out with friends or interact on social media.


As Ariana learns things that her mother kept secret, her resentment grows. Even more, when she learns that the adults in her life, especially her mother, lied about critical aspects of her life and her abilities, that resentment sparks an outright rebellion. None of us like to be left in the dark. Combine that with teenage hormones and some extraordinary abilities and the results are unpredictable.


J.M. Briscoe has definitely mastered the flawed protagonist. Bella, Ariana, indeed all of the characters are hurt, damaged, and quite willing to hurt others as well. And as their resentments fester and their knowledge increases and their power grows, the dangers they pose to themselves and to others increase exponentially.


This series raises so many fascinating questions about family, about consent, about eugenics, about gene modification, about the ethics of secrecy. Sometimes the characters’ motivations are hidden not only from others but from themselves. They question why they do or did certain things, and although they want to believe it was always done for the right reasons, they do not always trust their own judgments. It is a complex plot, but the true complexity is untangling the relationships, the reasons, and the lies. This is not a book I am likely to forget anytime soon.


Our thanks to Grace Pilkington for our copy of The Child Left in the Dark, provided for our honest review as part of this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.


The Child Left in the Dark, J.M. Briscoe

Book Review: The Child Left in the Dark, Take Her Back Book 2, J.M. Briscoe

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