Posts Tagged ‘Apocalyptic’

Dark Inside

Jeyn Roberts

Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to some people. Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known all her life; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger. An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive – at any cost! Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen – now it’s our turn!

It started like any other day, but then the earthquakes came and people began to change. Four teens watch those around them transformed into ‘Baggers’. Humans who hunt down other humans and kill them. Humans who hunt down the weak and enjoy it, who drag families from their homes. The world has changed beyond recognition and it takes everything you have just to survive.

This book was really scary. It’s not often I find a book really chilling, but at one point I actually had to stop reading as I was in the house on my own and it was scaring me too much. It’s a book that examines the darker side of human nature. The idea that everybody has a dark side, just in the ‘Dark Inside’ this dark side is amplified to a greater extreme. It’s the books and films that do this that I do tend to find scary.

I loved that this was set during the ‘Apocalypse’, so many books are set afterwards this days. Though this is great for showing governmental control, setting the book during really adds to the tension, creating that feeling of chaos and panic, a feeling you find very real whilst reading this book. It makes the reader examine what they would do in the same situation as the characters.

The story is told from multiple points of view. Four teenagers who come from different parts of the United States and Canada. This works really well, it shows how different areas, farm villages to big cities, cope with the disaster. It also shows how different people cope, how some band together and how some isolate themselves. It also gives the reader access to a greater range of supporting characters. I also loved that they didn’t meet up until the end of the book, this means that as a reader we already have a sense of who they are as characters in their own right, leaving any group dynamic to ‘The Rage Within’. Which incidentally I can’t wait to read.

I’ve had a lot of teenagers coming in to my library and asking for ‘scary books’ lately. I think that I may have to buy some more copies of this as it will definitely be my new go to book for those after books in the horror genre.

Verdict: Tense, chilling and genuinely scary. A book that examines the darker side of nature that you won’t want to put down.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 368
Genre: Apocalyptic, Horror, Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Elizabeth Norris

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.
And killed.
Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…
Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.
That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…

Balancing a complicated home life, with a summer job she excels at and a budding romance with the hottest boy at school, Janelle is a busy but ordinary teen girl, until the evening she is hit by a truck and dies.

As she lies dying in the road, images of her life flash before her, only these images are not Janelle’s memories, they are the observations of another. Aware of hands upon her broken body, Janelle experiences an overwhelming heat fusing her broken bones and forcing life in to her still heart. Coming to, she finds herself looking in to the eyes of Ben Michael, a mysterious boy, she has known for most of her life, but never spoken to. Struggling to come to terms with her experiences of resurrection Janelle is drawn to Ben, determined to discover all that she can about him, his powers and the circumstances surrounding her accident.

While reading a book or watching a movie, I take great delight forming theories alongside the protagonist and I pride myself on my ability to predict the plots twists and turns – however, this book completely threw me. With no knowledge of the books genre, I started reading the book with certain expectations and theories to the origin of Ben’s powers and found that the story took a completely different turn to the one I was anticipating. This certainly kept me on my toes and turning the pages.

Initially the book focuses on Janelle’s accident, her struggle to find meaning in her survival and her growing friendship with Ben. This relationship is allowed to develop at a seemingly leisurely pace, however a Countdown clock heads each chapter from the very first, so although the story progresses with the impression of all of the time in the world as a reader you are on edge knowing that the countdown to something significant has began and that our protagonist is unaware. As the story evolves and the event we are counting down too is revealed, the chapters become shorter adding to the increased pace of the story.

On the whole I enjoyed this book but I did have a few niggles which made it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief and become completely absorbed in the story. While I understand Janelle’s rationale for not sharing the information she uncovers, the predominant one being her family history of mental illness. I just could not understand how the FBI allowed her to take the liberties she did while undertaking her own investigation. The family connection just wasn’t a strong enough reason for me and I felt that it should have been harder for Janelle to snoop at the classified information she accessed.

On two occasions when providing the reader with additional information crucial to the plot the author told us about conversations which had taken place rather than showing them to us. While telling rather than showing is a common complaint amongst book reviewers, I’m usually impassive about it. However in this instance the approach was so different from the rest of the book that I found the experience jarring and it pulled me out of the plot. Despite these niggles I would be very happy to read a sequel and I will be looking out for Norris’ future works.

Verdict: Unexpected twists and turns kept me turning the page.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 416
Genre: Sci-Fi, Apocalypse
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Author Interview: Jeyn Roberts

With it’s new, vibrant, red jacket Dark Inside is all dressed up and ready to celebrate it’s UK paperback release!

Moments after several huge earthquakes shake every continent on Earth, something strange starts happening to people. Michael can only watch in horror as an incidence of road rage so extreme it ends in two deaths unfolds before his eyes; Clementine finds herself being hunted through the small town she has lived in all her life, by people she has known since childhood; and Mason is attacked with a baseball bat by a random stranger. An inner rage has been released and some people cannot fight it. For those who can, life becomes an ongoing battle to survive – at any cost

Please give a warm welcome to author Jeyn Roberts who has very kindly taken the time to answer my questions about this chilling apocalyptic series.

Post Apocalypse books are so popular at the moment, but most concentrate on life afterwards. What made you decide to write about an apocalypse actually happening?
I think it goes back to the books I loved as a teenager. I remember reading The Stand and loving the first part a lot more than the second. I never liked books that start in the middle. I’ve always been more interested in how the destruction begins. The nice thing about doing a trilogy is that I get to do the beginning, middle and end.

I found ‘Dark Inside’ really chilling, in fact it’s the only book other than those written by Dean Koontz that has actually scared me. Did you set out to make the book quite so scary?
I love hearing stuff like this. I’m so glad I scared you. Haha I can’t say that I really thought that much about it to be honest. All I can say is that I really enjoy scary. I love horror. So I guess it’s natural that I’d end up writing about it.

I’m not normally a fan of books written from a multiple point of view but I found its use really effective in the book. What made you decide to write ‘Dark Inside’ in this way? 
When I started writing, I realized quickly that there was going to be more than one story. The problem with a single POV is that you only get one side. With Dark Inside, I felt it would be more powerful to see the way different people would react. I can’t imagine that everyone would behave the same way during such a crisis. I’m not even sure how I’d cope.

Dark Inside began to look at how everyone has a dark side, and the darker side of human nature overall. Is this something that will be explored in future books of the series?
Absolutely. There’s a lot more of that in Rage Within. Now that all the characters are together, I’ve been able to get more into character development. I’ve really tried to focus on different types of dark human nature. There’s Mason’s deep fear that he’s dangerous to his friends and then there’s Aries’ discovery that making mistakes can really lead you down a dark path. Personally I think we all have a dark side. Some of us are just better equipped to deal with it than others.

Do you think ‘Dark Inside’ fits with any kind of genre? 
That’s a tough one. I’ve always thought it fits simply into horror. I’ve heard post-apocalyptic horror and that works too. It also does fall under the dystopian category—depending on which definition you use.

What was your inspiration for the book?
Dark Inside came out of a series of dreams I used to have when I was a teenager. I still have them every now and then. I would dream that I was living in this isolated world where there is a great underlying evil. Often I would be trapped in dilapidated buildings with a group of survivors. Some of the scenes in Dark Inside are actual real dreams.

Why did you decide to write books for teens? 
I like writing for teens. I love how passionate they are about the things they love and hate! I find teens way more interesting than most adult characters. Funny enough, I started out writing adult literary but that never kept my attention long enough. With YA, I feel like I have a lot more freedom.

Do you have a favourite character in ‘Dark Inside’? 
I’d say that Mason is my favourite character but he’s also the one that drives me crazy. He’s so emo! But at the same time, he’s always the one character I seem to understand the most. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Jeyn Roberts

Dark Inside is available to buy in paperback from today. The second instalment in the Dark Inside Trilogy,Rage Within is due for release at the end of August. Both are published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

Post by Alison

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