Posted by: Trisha Leigh | September 12, 2011

Sit Up, Take Note

Like most writers, I read A LOT. Not as much as I’d like to, and not enough to go through all the books I acquire one way or another but still. It’s a lot.

I went to the Simon & Schuster panel at ComicCon, where I heard about a book called Dark Inside. They announced they would be giving away ARC’s the next morning, and the premise intrigued me enough to brave the exhibition hall the next day and grab myself a copy. I’ve been busy – reading other ARC’s, books I’ve bought, writing a first draft, revising another, etc. and just got to it this last Friday night.

I picked it up around 9pm, and put it down around 2. I made it to p.215, and couldn’t read any further because I was already too frightened to go to the bathroom or turn out my light. I finished it the next day, and I had, HAD to share my non-spoilery thoughts with you.

There are so many good books out there. Books that make me laugh, that make me think, that scare me, and many that I recommend to friends. It is a rare thing, in my mind, to uncover a GREAT book. A novel that makes me sit up and take note. For me, Dark Inside (by Jeyn Roberts) is one of those rare finds. It’s been a long, long time – probably since I first read the Hunger Games books, that I would have run out to buy the next book had there been one. I sat around wanting to read more, hours later finding my mind back inside that world, with those characters, that fascinated and horrified me.

Here is the copy from the back cover of the ARC:

An ancient evil has been unleashed, and it is turning friends into murderous strangers. For those who survive the brutal earthquakes and the first wave of the killing, the world is a different, deadlier place. Society has fallen apart. No one can be trusted. For four teens struggling to stay alive in a world determined to kill them, it means all they have is one another – if they can trust one another – and the hope that their future holds something greater than mere survival.

Goodreads describes it as 28 Days Later meets The Road, and it is a novel about the apocalypse, but one unlike any other that has passed through my hands this past year. This one isn’t due to something supernatural, something paranormal, or anything too hard to believe. It’s caused when those dark recesses of humanity, the ones we suppress and beat back, rise up and take over.

As a historian, this concept fascinates me. The author alludes to this being the driving force behind the fall of every great civilization, and there’s something to that. Most great cultures have shown marked disintegration of their collective morality during the centuries leading up to their undoing.

I won’t tell you anything more specific, because this is a beautiful, philosophical, thought-provoking story. Peeling away the layers will be more satisfying when you jam them under your own fingernails. I will say this: the characters are REAL. They’re flawed, they do bad things, and they struggle with not giving into the darkness themselves. There are four POV characters, all of whom I felt connected to (some more than others, of course) but any of their deaths would have devastated me. There is a fifth POV, a character known as Nothing, who is slipping back and forth between the darkness trying to claim his soul and the tattered remains of his humanity, and that character tells us so much in his broken, anonymous words.

I am going to buy this book when it comes out November 1, 2011. I’m going to read it cover to cover again, and sit and think about it for more hours. I can’t wait for more people to read this novel so I can engage in the discussion it should easily raise among readers, and writers, and humans.

For me, this is the kind of story, characterization, and execution I hope one day to be skilled enough to create.

Preorder Dark Inside here or here. You can come and find me if you’re disappointed.

What I’m watching right this moment: Enchanted. Click here for my favorite part!!!

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Responses

  1. Wow! DARK INSIDE sounds fantastic!

    Isn’t it great to stumble across a book that just reaches out and grabs you and doesn’t let go? Such a rush.

    • Yes. And it’s so unexpected. You can never predict which one it will be!

  2. Sadly I get stuck in a funk where I don’t really want to read anything that is just good. Everything just sounds bleh. Sadly there are so few that give me that special something that makes me want to read them to the exclusion of all else.

    Making it even hard is the fact that I pretty much need something Sci-fi/Fantasy to even get interested at all. 😦 I do make some exceptions. Books like THE HANDMAID’S TALE have that special something that is *other* but not quite into the realm of fantasy and it sounds like this does too.

    I think I may have to check this out.

    • It’s always a surprise to me, which ones blow me away. It’s happened a couple of times this past year, all in different genre’s. I just enjoy the ride 🙂


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