REVIEW: The Child Left in the Dark by J.M. Briscoe

Title: The Child Left in the Dark by J.M. Briscoe
Published by: Bad Press Ink
Publication date: 5th November 2022
Genre: Science Fiction
Amazon UK


It has been six months since Bella and her daughter Ariana were driven into a desperate flight across the country, and the explosive events at the Futura Laboratory changed their lives forever. Bella made an impulsive decision in the autumn, one that she must live with, even if the consequences are monstrous. Ariana is all that matters to Bella and she will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. But as events unfold Bella wonders – does Ariana pose the greatest danger to herself? Does Ariana need protecting from herself?

Ariana, meanwhile, cannot escape the nightmares filled with the terrifying creatures she saw at the laboratory. Struggling with the reality of a life out of the shadows, Ariana feels more alone than ever. Except for the voices, of course. The whispers of a creeping darkness growing within her. Everyone tells her she is normal. Everyone is lying.

My review:

The Child Left in the Dark is another thrilling and thought-provoking read. It’s the perfect follow-up to The Girl with the Green Eyes and it had me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Similar to the first book, the story is split between two timelines. We have the present day chapters that take place six months after the first book and then we have chapters set in the past, which focus on what happened to Bella when she fled the ARC. I really enjoyed these chapters as you get to learn more about Bella’s family before she was sent to live with the Blake’s and how she was able to stay hidden with her daughter, Ariana, for so many years.

Another aspect of the story I really enjoyed was Bella’s development. The thing about Bella is that she hides her emotions and pushes people away but it’s not always clear what her reasons are. In the first book she comes across as cruel and emotionless but the more you get to know her the more you care about her. Having a glimpse into her life when she was on the run added another layer to her character and humanised her more. It’s clear that everything she’s doing is to protect her daughter and prevent her from being used in the same way Bella was. While I didn’t find the pacing in this story as fast as it was in the first book, I still had a feeling of dread as I was reading it, especially with Bella’s chapters.

While I enjoyed Bella’s chapters, the most interesting part of the story for me was Ariana. It’s clear that she’s struggling to cope with everything that’s happened and feels angry at her mother for keeping so many secrets from her. I don’t want to spoil too much about her story but I think she’ll play an important role in the next book as learns more about herself and her parents. The ending was particularly jaw-dropping! I couldn’t believe what happened and I’m dying to find out what will happen next with Bella and Ariana. 

I thought the events of the first book were really dark and disturbing but it really goes up a level in this book with human/animal experimentation. It was shocking to read and even more so picturing it in my head. It’s a very thought-provoking read and I was questioning how they were able to get away with these horrible experiments. I’m interested to see how the story will develop in the next book.

This has been a very compelling series so far. You’re pulled in right from the start and even when you’ve finished the book, you’re still thinking about it days later. J.M. Briscoe is certainly an author to watch for!

A huge thank you to Grace Pilkington Publicity and Bad Press Ink for sending me a copy of this book for review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour!


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