May 17, 2012

Review: Dark Inside

By: Jeyn Roberts
Published: November 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardback, 330 pages, and ARC Paperback.
First Reviewed: September 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

Trust no one. Not even yourself.

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 more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.
Mason's 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, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police—who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.
Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

Rating: 5/5, Jeyn? Am I allowed to say I half-discovered this?! Ah, screw it, I'm saying it anyway! Muahaha!

So, guys, a little background info: I know Jeyn. She's literally one of my best friends. I read some of this back when it was called Baggers, before Jeyn even had her agent, and I loved it then. I even started a topic for it on the writing site we first met on. Ha! *bows* TOLD YOU TO READ IT, EVERYONE! *fist pumps*

Okay, anyway, Jeyn asked me to be honest if I was going to review it, so I pretended not to know Jeyn at all while reading this. Here lies my completely unbiased honesty (using "Jeyn" instead of "Roberts" because I just can't call her "Roberts"):

First, I get to nitpick Jeyn. Muahaha! *evil editor Evie laugh* I don't get to complain about errors since this is an ARC; I get to jump into it. Jeyn, ditch half the questions next time around and remember to tell me who someone is so I don't sit there trying to figure it out for twenty minutes (totally happened when Billy "literally jumped" in; I was like, WHO IS BILLY?! for, seriously, about ten minutes).

Yeah, that's all I got. I think there was one more thing I was going to say, but I can't remember, so it must not of been important. Anyway...Jeyn kicks ass. Why? Because she succeeded at creating a third person narrative that follows four different people. Okay, as many of you know, I have the hardest time--naturally--following more than one character, especially if it's written in third person. It's rarely ever the author's fault. But with this, I only faltered a few times. She kept me reminded of who was who and who was where and who was doing what.

And, know what else she kicks ass at? Freaking me the heck out. That's hard to do. All while I was reading this, if I went somewhere, I would look at someone's eyes and think, Okay, good, their veins are normal. Ha! Not kidding. It takes a lot to make my skin crawl, and Jeyn did it. Also, her writing was clean, moved along at a fantastic pace, and she knew how to form her sentences to create the right affect.

Oh shiznit! I've forgotten to mention one other thing I loved about Jeyn's style. Not only did she have the third person going on, but there are first person chapters, too, which I won't tell you about because I don't want to spoil anything. But those played into the mystery and creepy factors, and I absolutely loved them.

Jeyn, you rock! Completely unbiased opinion, I promise. But you do.

You know what's hard to do? Create multiple lead characters who are all different, all intriguing, and all people a reader would want to follow through a book. You know what's even harder than that? Writing them in third person. And you know what's even harder than the hardest? Throwing in supporting characters who are just as important and succeeding. You know who's able to pull of that hard stuff? Jeyn Roberts.

Despite thinking a few characters could have been left out, or just mentioned as their group--if that even makes sense--the characters, to me, were great. I had only a small problem with Clementine in the beginning; it didn't last long, but I just didn't know how I was going to like her thoughts to her brother. But I did end up really liking her. What I liked most about the characters, is that I could tell they were all fighting this darkness in some way or another. With a few, it was obvious and even talked/thought about, but with others, I saw it and am itching to find out what happens with that in the sequel.

Normally, when reading a book in third person like this, which covers so many different storylines, I never connect with the characters, but I did with these characters. Some more than others, but every one of them at some point. I even felt Jeyn's handle on the characterization grow throughout the book, which makes me stoked for their continuing story. As for the main character (in my opinion), Nothing...well, I thought it was an awesome addition. So intriguing and mystifying and creepy and everything in between.

Now, even though I thought the characters were great, methinks this was a plot-driven novel. One that had me on the edge of my seat from the get-go. Literally. This book has non-stop action and intensity. There was no ridiculous time spent on the characters doing nothing and having fun, like in most books where things go down, if you know what I mean. They took their breaks and all, funny, light-hearted lines were shared, but the intensity never wavered.

And not only was the plot so full of creepiness and scary situations and panic and chaos and everything else, it also had me thinking, What if this really happened? That kind of question doesn't happen to me often. I'd think about a character's action and wonder what I would have done in that situation. Like when Michael ___________ (EVANS!), I was like, You imbecile! I hate you! But then I sat back and wondered if I would have done the same. It really got me thinking, in the midst of all the darkness.

I really only have one nitpick about the plot, and that's that I wish it would have slowed down at the ending. They came together so fast, and methinks it might have worked fleshed out a bit more. But other than that, I just really enjoyed the read. It was fast-paced, kept me thinking about it when I wasn't reading, and freaked me out. And best of all, it was fresh. Oh, and I loved that no sucky romance plot bogged it down. There are subtle connections, but no teeny-bopper romance that so many YA books seem to have now-a-days.

JEYN! I have a question. No one read this unless you've read the book: Did Chickadee die from low sugar or high sugar? Me has a bigger question if the latter. MESSAGE ME. Or, well, I've probably already messaged you by the time you've read this. y'all really say "bloody" in Canada?! Oh, and I must mention how kick arse the cover is. It really is. And one more thing: This is not for the faint at heart. There's blood and some pretty...intense stuff. Just forewarning you! :)

You know what's bothering me? Many people are calling this dystopian, even the market, but...I don't think it is. People will compare this to other dystopians, but this is more of a dark, edgy, apocalyptic thriller, with a paranormal darkness. Not the sort of "paranormal" that YA makes you think of, but what the word literally means. Not normal. A darkness, an evil that no one created, but that exists, and isn't what we'd consider normal. I think this should be in a category of its own and not clumped into the dystopian category.

Anyway, I promise, I swear, when I say I loved this, I mean it. Sometimes I didn't even have to pretend I don't know Jeyn; the book made me forget. I became invested and devoured this once I was able to sit down for a few hours. Utterly fantastic, completely creepy, and undeniably intense from beginning to end, Dark Inside will make you think, make the hairs on your arms stand on end, and have you praying no evil hides in the shadows of your brain.

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