Hey, hey, hey! It’s me Michelle!
It’s officially #dystopianfeb which (if you know me at all) is a highlight to my reading year. The awesome Lenore of Presenting Lenore (and fabulous author of Level 2 — don’t you love the title! — publishing from Simon & Schuster) has graciously invited me to gab with her about four books this month. We’re reading, we’re discussing, we’re posting about it. Just like we did for #dystopianaugust. Every Thursday this month you’ll see something new! To kick it off we’re chatting about Dark Inside. You can read the first half of our discussion at Presenting Lenore.
Title: Dark Inside [indie bound] [amazon]
Author: Jeyn Roberts [website] [twitter] [facebook]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: eBook (ARC)
Parental Advisory: violence, drugs, language, death
Teachable Moments: survival, good vs. evil
Element of surprise
There were some surprising points in the book (which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t read it) which pleased me. Not everyone was who they said they were and that made for moments of interesting behavior and turns in the story and characters that influenced further progression of the story.
This element of surprise was probably my favorite part of the book – because I had the feeling that anything could happen. Some of it surely has to do with the fact that no one really knew what the evil virus was and how it affected people. Most seemed to be almost zombie-like in their pursuit of destruction, but others were quite clever. It did make me wonder what the ultimate goal of the evil influence was, because it didn’t seem to be killing each and every person on Earth (for that, I would have expected a more systematic destruction of stores and food sources – as it was, it seemed too easy for those on the run to survive).
And see, that’s one of my problems (not the element of surprise that is) with this story. There wasn’t a whole lot of consistency. Maybe there is a purpose for the randomness that will be explained further down the line but without some cohesiveness and clarity in this story who really wants to find out later, you know? Even so, I liked some of the unpredictability (in small doses) it mixed things up and made the story feel more suspenseful. This was a good thing.
Yay for suspense!
Point of view
Initially I was excited for the multiple points of view. I was looking forward to seeing the variety that experiencing the catastrophe from different angles was going to bring. Unfortunately it was far too disjointed. Moreover, it took way to long for all of the different stories to finally converge and get to a somewhat meaningful point.
When you do multiple points of view, you need to make them all equally compelling and distinct. Here we have four main points of view, Michael, Mason, Clementine and Aries. At first, I was really drawn into their stories because they all start with a bang – the world changing inciting incident. Clementine’s first chapter was probably my favorite, just because the idea of half the town going crazy and burning the other half alive is so creeptastic. Now this may be a little unfair of me, because we’re discussing a book I read several months ago, but honestly the narratives all blend together in my head and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which character experienced what. To me that says the characters weren’t distinct or memorable enough.
I agree Clementine was my favorite because it had a more unexpected and probably (zombies aside) most realistic feel to it. Her running away, needing to survive, etc. that was all something that could happen to anyone. Aries, on the other hand, her story felt a bit forced. She was the one who brought the good vs. evil story to the forefront with her interaction with the weird guy who knew things but we didn’t know exactly what. There is only so far the action of world destruction is going to carry a story and having the four characters more differentiated and in deeper stories would have made a difference.
Don’t get me wrong – while I was reading, I wanted all the POV characters to survive so it’s not like I didn’t connect with them at all. I just might have liked more reasons to really care.
Dark Inside was definitely an action packed read. One that will keep you on your toes! The potential for conversation surrounding good versus evil is certainly there and worthy of exploration.