Saturday, 18 February 2012

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

An earthquake caused the end of the world; it triggered a change in people. Bloodthirsty crazy human ‘baggers’ possessed by a violent rage with black veins in their eyes perhaps wasn’t the way everyone expected it to happen, but they are certainly more efficient than global warming because in a matter of days civilisation has broken down and only a few survivors remain, clinging to life, or what’s left of it anyway; they include Mason, Michael, Clementine and Aries, whose stories of survival are the focus of Dark Inside.

This had such an excellent premise but I feel it was ever so slightly let down in its execution, particularly the lack of plot – the four were clearly trying to survive and, in one case, find loved ones, but there wasn’t much else, unlike the similar Enemy books which always feel well structured. Whilst reading, I felt it was a slight mistake on Roberts’ part to have four narrators as, although I did like the varied action, stories and a sense of the scale of destruction, I found it difficult to connect to any of them, none of them had a distinctive voice and I struggled to remember who was who, and what had happened to whom. I also found it annoying that you didn’t find out more about what caused people to become ‘baggers’ or whom Nothing, whose mysterious and confusing point of view we are also treated to, actually is, although it’s somewhat obvious; I have a hatred of purposefully unexplained stuff which can be easily explained in the first book – although I do appreciate you can’t reveal everything in the first book of a series – as I always get the impression it’s just to make you pick up the sequel.

Despite this, I was seriously gripped by Dark Inside and its fast pace throughout, staying up long into the night to find out what fates awaited our protagonists and only very reluctantly putting the book down – it’s incredibly easy to get lost into.

The horror was very well done and of course you should probably steer clear if you don’t like that kind of stuff, although it doesn’t exactly dominate the book as much as you may expect; if you are a fan, you should definitely check out Dark Inside as it is a very good book. I love the cover too – I feel a bit stupid that it took me a while to work out that our leads are portrayed in the crack, but I think it makes a wonderful effect when you finally do realise. White is such an underused colour as well, so it really helps the book to stand out, along with the contrasting black and striking red – it’s a cover that, to me at least, screams ‘look at me!’ and I love it.

If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic horror, a gripping fast pace or just a good overall novel, you should be sure to check out Dark Inside. It’s not perfect and it has a lot of room for improvement, but you won’t regret picking it up.

[SYNOPSIS: Four teenagers on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found. 

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…. Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even worse is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, hooking on to weakness, turning the unwary into hunters, killers, crazies. 

Mason: His mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground. Everyone he knows is killed. 
Aries: A school bus, an aftershock and a crash. Pulled out of the wreckage by a mysterious stranger, she’s about to discover a world changed forever. 
Clementine: An emergency meeting at the town hall that descends into murderous chaos. Outside the rest of their community encircle with weapons. How can those you trust turn into savage strangers? 
Michael: A brutal road rage incident. When the police arrive on the scene they gun down the guilty and turn on the by-standing crowd. Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad?


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