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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer Armentrout

Characters:  see summary for Obsidian (Lux #1)
Characters introduced in this book: Blake- Katy's new friend from school
     This book starts out with Katy getting sick and being hospitalized.  Daemon tells her that when Luxen heal humans it can leave a trace and that is what caused her to get sick.  She and Daemon are connected now and can sense whether one or the other is in danger or present in a room.
     Weird things start happening to Katy, such as items moving in her house, glass shattering, etc, and she realizes it's her that's doing everything and knows it's from Daemon's trace.
      To try to ignore the attraction to Daemon, Katy goes on a date with a football player named Simon, but when he gets "handsy" she leaves.  He is pissed so he starts telling everyone at school that they went all the way and he dumped her afterwards.
     A new boy named Blake moves to town and he and Katy become friends. Katy agrees to go to a party with him as her date and we also find out that since Dee and Adam have been selected by the colony to marry that they have started dating and they really like each other. Katy's mom also starts dating a man named Will, and Katy tells her that although she misses her dad (he died of cancer) she is happy for her mom.
     At the party, Blake tells her he can't stay long because of a family thing, so he leaves and Daemon starts talking to Katy, but Ash interrupts and tells Daemon they should "go upstairs and finish what they started".  Katy is upset and goes outside for some fresh air, but Simon is there and tells her she needs to call off Daemon, because although Katy didn't know it, Daemon beat the crap out of him for what he had been saying.
    When Simon comes towards her, Katy's powers flare in response and she shatters all the windows in the house near them.  Daemon tells her that since Blake was drunk that he will think it was just his imagination once he sobers. They find out a few days later that Simon has disappeared.
     Katy goes on a dinner date with Blake and Daemon shows up and tells her she's needed at home.  Knowing it's an alien emergency she leaves and all the Luxen are gathered at Daemon and Dee's house. Matthew called the meeting because the Department of Defense has been seen hanging out around their town, so he warns Katy that she needs to be careful to act like she doesn't know about the Luxen or the DOD will kill her like they did Dawson and Bethany.
     The DOD show up a few days later while Katy is with Daemon in a field, and one of the agent's tells Daemon to come with him while the woman agent tells Daemon that she will take Katy home.  On the way there, the woman introduces herself as Nancy Husher and the man in the car as Brian Vaughn, a "close friend to Daemon's family". They start asking Katy questions about how close she is to Daemon and his family but Katy acts like she doesn't know anything and they drop her off at her house.  Daemon shows up a while later and tells her they interrogated him too but didn't get any information.
     Katy goes to lunch with Blake and plans to tell him that they need to just be friends because of the feelings she has for Daemon.  When her obsidian necklace begins to warm she knows an Arum is nearby.  Surprisingly, Blake attacks the Arum and kills it and Katy finds out he was mutated like her by his best friend Chris who was a Luxen.
     Blake starts training Katy to control her abilities, but Daemon doesn't trust Blake and asks her to stop.  He and Katy argue and she says she won't stop because she wants to be able to protect herself if more Arum show up (they can sense her now too since she has Daemon's trace/mutation thing), but Daemon says he doesn't want her to end up like Dawson and Beth.
     Katy goes to pick up her mail at the post office one day after school and sees a black Expedition parked near it.  She senses it's a DOD vehicle and when the door opens she sees Brian Vaughn inside along with a girl and recognizes her as Bethany from a picture she's seen.
     After telling Daemon what she saw, they decide to go to Vaughn's house to see if they can find any clues, but the don't tell Dee for now so that she doesn't get her hopes up that Dawson is alive.
     When they get to the house they see Vaughn go inside with Nancy and an Arum shows up and Vaughn allows the Arum inside.  Daemon and Katy go to find Matthew to find out why the DOD would be working with Arum. (I'm going to put the exact conversation from the book here because it can explain it way better than I can):

“Why would they have Dawson? They told us he was dead. Obviously Bethany isn’t, but that doesn’t mean he’s alive. So get that out of your head, Daemon.”
Anger flashed in Daemon’s deep green eyes. “If it was one of your siblings, would you ’get it out of your head’?”
“All my siblings are dead.” Matthew stalked across the room, stopping in front of us. “You guys are all I have left, and I will not stand by and humor false hope that will get you killed or worse!”
Daemon sat down beside me, taking a deep breath. “You’re family to us, too. And Dawson also considered you family, Matthew.”
Pain flashed in Matthew’s ultra-bright eyes, and he looked away. “I know. I know.” He moved over to his recliner and sat down heavily, shaking his head. “Honestly, it would be best if he weren’t alive, and you know that. I can’t even imagine…”
“But if he is, we need to do something about it.” Daemon paused. “And if he’s truly dead, then…”
Then what kind of closure would that be? They’d already believed he was dead, and finding out that it wasn’t the Arum would rip open old wounds and dump salt on them.
“You don’t understand, Daemon. The DOD would have no interest in Bethany unless…unless Dawson healed her.”
Blake had been saying this all along. The confirmation relieved me.
“What are you saying, Matthew?” Daemon asked, keeping up with the cluelessness.
Matthew rubbed his brow, wincing. “The elders…they don’t talk about why we’re not allowed to heal humans, and they have good reason. It’s forbidden, not only because of the risk of exposure on our end, but because of what it does to a human. They know. So do I.”
“What?” Daemon glanced at me. “Do you know what happens?”
He nodded. “It alters the human, splicing his or her DNA with ours. There has to be a true want for it to work, though. The human takes on our abilities, but it doesn’t always stick. Sometimes it fades. Sometimes the human dies from it or the change backfires. But if successful, it forms a connection between the two.”
As Matthew went on, Daemon grew more agitated, and rightfully so. “The connection between a human and a Luxen after a massive healing is unbreakable at a cellular level. It marries the two together. One cannot survive if the other perishes.”

And this passage should help explain more about what Matthew knows of the DOD:

“What about the Arum thing?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” Matthew refilled his glass. “I can’t even fathom a reason why the DOD would be working with them—what they could even gain. The Arum absorb our powers, but never healing—nothing of that magnitude. They have a different heat signature than we do, so with the right tools, the DOD would know they weren’t dealing with us, but to walk up to an Arum or a Luxen on the street, there would be no way to tell us apart.”
“Wait.” I tucked my hair back, glancing at a silent Daemon. “What if the DOD captured an Arum, believing it to be a Luxen, and you guys were studied, too, right? Forced to assimilate into the human world? I don’t know what assimilation entails, but I’m sure it was some kind of observation, so wouldn’t they have noticed eventually, especially with the heat-signature thing?”
Matthew got up, went to a cabinet in the far corner. Opening it, he pulled out a square bottle and poured himself a glass. “When we were being assimilated, they never saw our abilities. So, if we work off the theory that they’ve known for some time, they studied our abilities on Luxen who could never tell us that the DOD is aware what we can do.”
Nausea rose sharply. “You’re saying that those Luxen would be…”
“Dead,” he said, turning around and taking a drink. “I’m not sure how much Daemon has told you, but there were Luxen who didn’t assimilate. They were put down…like feral animals. No stretch of the imagination to believe that they used some Luxen to study their abilities, to learn about us, and then got rid of them.”
Or sent them back as spies—ones who could keep an eye on the others, report back to the DOD with any suspicious activity. Seemed paranoid, but this was the government we were talking about.
“But that doesn’t explain why the Arum would work with the DOD.”
“It doesn’t.” Matthew moved to the fireplace. He propped his elbow on the mantel, swirling the ruby liquid with his other hand. “I am afraid to theorize over what that could mean.”

     Katy is training with Blake a few days later and is in his truck with him.  He stops on the side of the road and tells her there's an Arum nearby and to go fight it.  She freaks out but manages to kill it and Blake congratulates her.  She is pissed that he almost let her die by putting her up against an enemy without warning and tells him to leave her alone for now, but he tells her he's sorry the next day and she was never in any danger because he would have protected her.  They make up and he tells her he won't be able to help her train for a while because he's going out of town to his family's house for the holidays.
     Daemon comes over and ends up falling asleep in Katy's bed with her and her mom and Will find them like that the next morning.  Katy's mom is really mad even though Katy tries to explain nothing happened.  Katy then confronts her mom about Will stating the he must have slept over too, and she didn't realize how serious things had gotten between them. Katy is uneasy about Will because she found out that he was Bethany's uncle and thinks it's weird that he now is dating her mom.
      Daemon and Katy go snoop around the DOD warehouse and the guards catch Katy but Daemon kills them to save her.  He tells her he didn't find anything in the warehouse but a bunch of gemstones that he doesn't know what it is, but that when he touched one it hurt.  Katy tells him she heard them talking about cages and how they mentioned getting paid a lot to capture another one "like her", and Daemon and Katy come to the conclusion that it means for some reason the DOD have been capturing Luxen and mutated humans.
     Dee comes over that evening to invite Katy to Ash's New Year's party and tells her she'll come pick her up the day of. She also tells Katy she misses spending time with her so she HAS to come.  Katy feels guilty for keeping everything from Dee; her training, the facts about the DOD and Bethany, and the reason she's been spending so much time with Daemon (well, part of the reason anyway), so she agrees to go to the party.
     The next day Katy sees an article about the missing guards and a reward for information about their whereabouts so she knows the DOD doesn't know that they were at the warehouse.  She Google's Will's name since she still doesn't trust him and finds out that he had cancer at one point.  She wonders if her mom knows since that is what her dad died from and she doesn't want her mom to go through that again.  She then searches Blake's name and discovers a picture of Vaughn with Blake. She immediately goes to Vaughn's house and finds Bethany there but she's gone bonkers and Katy has to leave since Vaughn has come back home before she gets a chance to help Bethany escape.
    Blake shows up at Katy's house the next day, back from his "family's" house, and asks her to go to eat with him. Katy agrees, since she doesn't want to reveal that she knows he's working with Vaughn, his uncle, but when she gets in the car she sees Simon's watch with blood on it and thinks Blake killed him so she tries to run back to her house but he captures her.
     She reveals to him that she knows who his uncle is and he finally tells her the truth, that he's worked for the DOD since he was small when his friend Chris mutated him, and that he has been used as an implant in towns where there are suspected to be other mutated kids to get to know them and see if they are salvageable, meaning he is to become their friend and find out if they have abilities the government could use. If they don't, and only have a trace left on them but know about the Luxen they are captured and killed or held hostage for the rest of their lives so that they can't reveal any information about the aliens to society and can be experimented on to see how the Luxen abilities work (this is what happened to Bethany).
     Dee and Adam show up to take Katy to the party and when she doesn't answer the door they sneak in and see that Blake is holding Katy hostage to try to find out which Luxen it was that healed her so he can turn her and that Luxen over to the DOD.  They attack him, not knowing he's a mutated human, and Adam is killed. 
     Vaughn shows up with two Arum and tells Katy to come with him.  Katy fights them and Daemon shows up to help. They manage to kill Vaughn, but Blake tries to escape. They catch him and Katy wants to kill him for killing Adam but Daemon lets him go. Blake tries to tell them he only did this to try to keep Chris safe since the DOD has him.  Katy figures the reason Daemon's letting Blake go is because Nancy will kill Chris once she finds out Blake failed and Blake will die anyways.
     Dee is very angry with Katy once she finds out the whole story, partly because Katy never told her that Dawson may be alive and partly because Katy never told her about Blake, so she and Adam had no idea what they were getting into when they came to save Katy and Adam died because of it.
     When Katy goes back to school she is called to the office and Will is there.  He tells her that her mom has been in an accident and she needs to come with him.  Turns out he was lying though, and takes her back to the warehouse and locks her in a cage and chains her with onyx (the gems/rocks that Daemon had seen before). It is pure torture and she screams until she can't even talk anymore.
     Will comes in and tells her that Vaughn was working for him the whole time, and he had paid Vaughn off to betray Nancy Husher and bring Katy to him along with the Luxen who mutated her, who they have realized by now was Daemon. He also tells her he is the one who turned Bethany and Dawson in to the DOD.  He has been trying to find out how the humans are mutated because he wants to be mutated too, to make sure his cancer never comes back.  He says most of the humans die or go crazy, but she has had such a good response to Daemon's mutation that he knows Daemon can do it.
     Daemon arrives and agrees to do it if he'll let Katy go.  Will says okay, but states that he's not stupid and he knows Daemon will try to come after him once he lets Katy go, so he tells him that Daemon has two choices: come after him, or go to the address he has on a slip of paper and retrieve his brother.  He tells Daemon he has paid a lot of money so that Dawson could "escape" from DOD headquarters, and then says Dawson was useless anyways, because the DOD has been getting Dawson to try to mutate other humans and the humans always die. Turns out, the whole reason the DOD and Daedalus (the division of the DOD experimenting on the Luxen and humans is called) have been kidnapping these people is to try to turn mutated humans into weapons for war, although some people have been test subjects willingly because they get paid.
    Of course, Daemon and Katy choose to go after Dawson but he isn't at the address Will gives them. Daemon tells Katy on the way back home that he doesn't think the mutation to Will is going to stick because of what Matthew told them, that the Luxen has to really WANT to do it instead of being forced to. He says they will just have to wait and see.
     When they return home, this happens:

I slipped out of the seat, wincing as coldness bit deep into my flesh. Daemon took a step forward as the front door started to swing shut but stopped. A tall and thin form filled the doorway, swaying like a reed. As the form drifted forward, Daemon stumbled.
Oh God, Daemon never stumbled.
The why sunk in slowly, and I blinked—too scared to believe what I was seeing. It all seemed surreal. Like maybe I’d fallen asleep on the way back, and I was dreaming something too perfect.
Because under the glow of the porch light was a boy with dark wavy hair curling around broad cheekbones, lips that were wide and expressive, and eyes that were dull but still such a striking shade of green. An exact replica of Daemon stood on the porch. Gaunt and pale, but it was like seeing Daemon in two spots.
“Dawson,” Daemon croaked out.
Then he broke into a dead run, feet pounding over frozen ground and up the steps. Wetness gathered in my eyes, spilling down my cheeks as Daemon threw his arms out, his broader body blocking his brother’s.
Somehow, someway, Dawson was home.
Daemon pulled his brother to him, but Dawson… He was just standing there, arms limp against his sides, his face as beautiful as his brother’s but painfully empty.
“Dawson…?” Uncertainty carried in Daemon’s voice as he pulled back, twisting my insides into raw, nervous little knots that traveled up my throat, getting stuck and stealing my breath.
As the two brothers stared at each other, with the wind blowing loose flakes of snow on the ground, sending them swirling into the night sky, I remembered what Daemon had said earlier. He had been right. In that moment, everything did change…for the better and for the worse.

End of book 2.


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