Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Story Synopsis:

Since the beginning of mankind, civilizations have fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs...and now us. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening: An ancient evil has been unleashed, and it's turning everyday people into hunters, killers, and crazies. This is the world Mason, Aries, Clementine, and Michael are living in--or rather, trying to survive. Each is fleeing unspeakable horror, from murderous chaos to brutal natural disasters, and each is traveling the same road in a world gone mad. Amid the throes of the apocalypse and clinging to love and meaning wherever it can be found, these four teens are on a journey into the heart of darkness--and to find each other and a place of safety. (

My Review:

In the last few years, zombies have taken over pop culture like a bunch of, well, zombies. I love a good zombie romp, but they have gotten somewhat played out. Now along comes Jeyn Roberts’ apocalyptic novel, Dark Inside, breathing new life (or afterlife?) into the zombie genre. It turns out this book isn’t about zombies at all, at least, not in the classic you-bite-me-now-I-eat-braaaaaiiiinnnnnsssssss sort of way. Instead, Roberts alters the zombie mythos, using it to explore the not-quite-hidden malevolent side of human instinct and personality. The result is something far scarier than your standard zombie gore-fest. For that reason alone, you should read Dark Inside. As an added bonus, her writing is superb.

My only real problem with this book was that there were too many point-of-view characters – five. This works fine if you’re writing a 900+-page long book with densely packed prose (I’m thinking Game of Thrones here), but less well with a 300-page book with a YA typeset (bigger font and margins). The result is that none of the POV characters feels fully developed – there just isn’t enough space to develop in. I occasionally found myself confusing the two guys, they felt so similar. That said, with fewer POV characters, Roberts might have been unable to fully tell her story. So rather than cut characters, I would have liked a longer book, so each person could be more deeply explored. As long as I’m talking about characters, I have to point out a little personal bonus: Aries’ entire arc happens in a city where I lived for seven years. Fantastic. I’ve never read a book that had such a familiar setting. It added a whole extra level of awesome.

This book left me wanting more, and I love it when books do that. I wanted to know the characters better. I wanted to know what happened to the world. I wanted to understand what made people behave with such brutality. I wanted to sleep, because I read this book in a single, snack-filled night. Like most apocalyptic books, this one leaves more questions than it answers, and that’s okay. These questions, coupled with the fantastic writing, make it well worth the read.

Rating: 4 stars

Rated by: Blair

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