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The New Dark

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Book Review
Title: The New Dark
Author: Lorraine Thomson
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Dystopian/Romance
Rating: ****
Review: In the opening of the New Dark we are introduced to Sorrel and David, who are a couple. Sorrel lives with her mother and two youngest siblings; Eli and Bella. For the opening chapter there are lots of things we don’t understand; what is the before, why can’t Bella have a name, what does it mean to viable and many more. However, the fantasy element emerges in the form of mutants, these mutants attack their home killing her mother and Bella and taking David and Eli with them. 
When the carnage is over Sorrel leaves her hiding place and returns to Amat only to find death and the mutant she injured left behind and while she tries to get information out of it all it does is taunt her about her brother. Immediately she sets off with the hope that her brother and boyfriend are still alive and that she will somehow rescue them. As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, Sorrel is tracking the mutants but ends up captured somewhere while David tries to escape the mutants only to be let go when another pack of mutants’ attack. However, the relationship between Eli and one of the mutants is interesting as he acts like the creature is human and the creature shows care and compassion towards the child. 
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, Sorrel finds out she is in the community of the Free, which is a very backwards community compared to what she is used to, and it reminds me of a Mormon community, with many women and very few men. Here, they also try mutants up to abuse and despite hating them the practice the Free employ sickens her. Despite this Sorrel has no way out as she is always watched a locked in her room at night, but a man called Martin the so-called Keeper of Keys has the keys to every door in the community even hers and his advances repulse her, but she tries to create a plan to leave the community and find Eli and David as soon as she can. 
After gaining the trust of the community Sorrel learns that she is to be new blood for Martin’s bed as there are no young children in the community and despite the women being blamed for this, it takes two to tango. However, in her spare time she is helping the mutant which she hates herself for, but she can’t see the creature continuously suffer for no apparent reason, this take a drastic turn when Martin announces that he is to wed Sorrel the following day. As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, both David and Sorrel aren’t having much luck, David as been recaptured by the mutants, but this imprisonment doesn’t seem as bad as the first until they are lead to the thrall market and separated, more importantly he is separated from Eli who is being taken care of by a mutant called Brig. On the other hand, Sorrel agrees to marry Martin with a plan, the mutant says it can help her if she helps it so on their wedding night Sorrel gets the keys from Martin by poisoning him. 
As we cross the halfway mark in the novel the groups in the thrall market are being sold off, David and Mara are sold to Black Angus as a breeding pair, however, David always has one eye on Eli under the mutant’s care and is ever hopeful that Sorrel will find him soon despite everyone saying that she is probably dead. She and the mutant called Einstein finally arrive the Dregs and manage to gain entry, but soon they end up in a pub to escape the hunters from the Free. As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, we learn that Mara is working in that bar and she talks with Sorrel about getting to David and Eli but instead of them arriving like Mara promised the hunters arrived and she and Einstein are prisoners once more. However, the dynamic duo does manage to escape and get outside the wall, but Einstein has been poisoned and can’t go any further, so Sorrel must leave him behind to search from David and Eli even though she has come to care for the very creature she once hated. 
As we cross into the final section of the novel, Sorrel is still running for her life, but she has found some allies, however, things change when Clovis is hung from killing one of the Free men and Black Angus, his brother must watch knowing there is nothing he can do. Despite this David earns his freedom but the Free men’s assumption that David helped capture Clovis not knowing how he had helped Sorrel. As she tries to find a way to find her only friend Einstein, she also finds somewhere to hide but David on the other hand, has taken a bargain to find Sorrel to earn his freedom from the Free and this may work out badly for everyone involved especially considering David’s hatred of mutants and Sorrel’s newfound respect for them. The ending of this novel was good and left a nice opening for the next instalment in the series. 
Overall, I really liked the New Dark but the major problem I had with this novel is it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It starts off with a similar premise to Stolen Songbird minus the magical element, and then morphs into a family-based novel and ends in a Mockingjay fashion, while each individual element was great I didn’t feel they all worked well together. I also felt that the mutants are very human and that a romance between a human and mutant which would have been unheard of would have made an amazing addition to the story especially between Sorrel and Einstein.
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It took me a while to give feedback to this novel, I actually really liked it. I was packed with adventure. I likes the characters. The only bad thing i could ay is that it did not have an effect on me that i wanted to read more about it. I would read the sequel, but in the hopes the story wil get even better.
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Rating: 1.5

Genre: YA Dystopian

Recommended Age: 15+ (mentions of rape, gore, violence, slavery, etc.)

Pages: 221

Author Website

Amazon Link

I received this book for review from NetGalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Summary: "She thought she knew who she was and where she came from.Then her home was destroyed. Her brother lost amongst the ashes. And the boy she loves vanished. She owed her own survival to a mutant — the very forces behind the destruction. Now Sorrel will never be the same again."

There is no "Before", there is only "Now". Because now there’s no internet, no TV, no power grid. Food is scarce, and the world’s a hostile place. But Sorrel lives a quiet life in the tiny settlement of Amat. It’s all she’s ever known ...

Until a gang of marauding mutants destroys the village, snatching her brother Eli, and David, her boyfriend. Sorrel sets out after them, embarking on a journey fraught with danger. Can she survive? The only thing that keeps her going is Eli and David. They are out there somewhere. They must be alive. And if she has her way, she will find them.

I actually had to DNF this book, but I made it about 57% of the way through before I did so. While I couldn’t finish the book I do feel like I read enough of it to make a well informed opinion about the book. So I will say that this book was interesting plot wise. The storyline was really cool and nothing that I had really heard about before. The story really made me want to read more of it, but I had a lot of issues with it sadly.

The issues I had with a lot of things in the book. The character development was non-existent and the characters actually didn’t have a set pattern to follow. They just did whatever the plot called for instead of what the characters would actually do. The characters were also incredibly stupid. Like seriously, they made very dumb decisions they shouldn’t have made otherwise. The pacing was way too fast-paced for this type of book. The world-building was also non-existent and the reader is left wondering what the hell is happening throughout the book.

Verdict: I prefer books that explain the world around it, especially if it’s set in the future post-dystopian world.
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I didn't end up liking this book, I ended up not being able to finish it, it felt too much like other books I've seen and honestly would be more interested in reading, At this point I don't know if I'll be reading another book by this author.
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Although I recieved a copy of this e-book from the publisher, all opinions remain my own. This book started off quite quick paced but then slowed down for me. I didn't get through the middle very quickly. But the beginning and the ending saved the pace for me. The cliffhanger at the end of this book KILLED me. Although part of a series, I still believe each book should be able to stand on its own. This book doesn't stand to that test. I thought that Sorrel made a great protagonist and I enjoyed following her story trying to find her boyfriend and brother. Parts of her journey are simply terrifying and I can't even imagine going through them. As some of the reviews on goodreads will mention, this does have triggers for people who have gone through trauma, so keep that in mind. There is also quite a bit of violence including the complete annihilation of a village of people and then a very vivid hanging scene. This is definitely one I would reserve for the older end of the teenage readers. I only give it three stars because of the slow middle and the cliff-hanger ending. Still planning to read the next book (or two) just to see what happens to Sorrel, David and Eli.
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I loved the concept of this book and the storyline that came with it, I loved the uniqueness yet familiarity it but unfortunately the rest didn't pull through for me. I personally couldn't connect to any of the characters and the writing didn't really do it for me. It was an alright read however I dont think I would pick it up again. But dont let me stop you from reading it, I would recommend to give it a go. After all this is just my personal opinion, others may love it!
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There was alot going on and I think it needs a bit more work but overall it was done pretty well!
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

In my opinion, it was predictable but enjoyable! Even with it being predictable it was very well developed and some of the characters were fleshed out nicely. However, I felt like some aspects of the story were focused on a little too much and left some of the interesting things in the dark until they absolutely needed to be in the story. 
Another thing that stopped me from giving this book 5 stars was the ending. It ended sooner than expected. The rest of the book had a different form of development but the ending was done faster than I could blink.
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I found this book to be a little boring. I love a good post apocalyptic story but this fell flat. I didnt think it was descriptive enough to create a world. I spent a good majority of my reading time trying to discern what the mutants looked like. It could have been better.
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Savages, Fanatics and Mutants. What could go wrong ?!

Book : The New Dark (Dark Times Trilogy #1)

Author:  Lorraine Thomson

Rating: 3.0 Stars

Review: [Spoiler Free]
A handmaiden’s tale with a pinch of Mockingbird. (Hunger Games)
This novel introduces us to a dystopian fate that is not so far-fetched. Where people in the “Before” had “bigshops”, and traveled in “metal shells”, ordinary villages and cities built upon the ruble remain.
And Sorrel is content in her village, helping her mother look after her little brother Eli, having her affections returned by David, the boy of her dreams.
Until the day it is all taken away……
Sorrel’s village is raided by mutants, those seen unviable at birth and killed promptly. She witnesses the ferocity of the mutants as they tear apart her home, her dreams. She is frozen in shock as they take her happiness and her brother Eli.
In order to avoid capture, she must run into the woods but soon discovers the woods are treacherous and soon finds herself at the mercy of “The Free”, a community of people living together in seclusion from others, who are inexplicably drawn to her birthmark.
As she confirms that not everything is as it seems in this perfect community, who praises the benevolent “Creator”, treats women differently, she must find a way to go in the search of David and Eli.
Escaping might come at a heavy cost, however, as her only ally seems to be a mutant. Sorrel will have to decide how much she is willing to risk to find her family, as “The Free” will stop at nothing to bring her back.
And as her family is taken to be sold like Cattle, Sorrel faces a battle against time, with everything on the line.

Pros :
So Sorrel initially ANNOYED me, her lack of empathy and reactions at some events of the book fell flat. After a couple chapters, she did, however, redeem herself, she showed more complexity of thought as she had to navigate her environment, and had to adapt quickly. She went from having a traumatic experience, without shedding a tear to being or showing remorse or apathy to kind of kick-ass :

“….thought of its finely honed blade and the damage she could do with it. She smiled at Martin as she pictured drawing it across his throat….”
“…..Sorrell shuddered inside as she smiled at Alice. New blood lines. So this was their plan for her. Well, she had plans of her own…..”
“…..”You…poisoned ….me?” ……..
“Fool’s parsley for a fool, and I’m no witch…..”

David’s character, on the other hand, started strong and maintained its depth and complexity. (which I’ll keep in eye out for book two.) And the other supporting characters were written fairly well, although in some instances they seemed blatant to be used for devices.


 Cons :
The introduction felt to slow paced, again tracing back to the fact that the character development although used to highlight character progression, failed and left a feeling of dissonance between the timeline of the characters. (i.e, Sorrel has years of ingrained disdain and prejudice, especially after recent events, but befriends a mutant so quickly?!)

Plot twist! Yawn… So the ending ends with what some would consider a big revelation, but somehow the conclusion misses its mark. Perhaps, if the author had presented some foreshadowing, it would have felt less like a last minute throw in. felt antic b/c not hinted at enough or efficiently

*Also exposition could be better, what are mutants? what do they look like? how is it decided?!



Thank you #NetGalley for the chance to read and review.

This are my honest opinions.

I receive no compensations or benefits for the reviews.

Images are not mine and may be due to Copyright.

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I love the idea of the book and the storyline. It was a pretty good read and can’t wait for the next one just wish the book was a bit longer. #netgalley #thenewdark
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This book was absolutely fantastic!
I loved the story behind it, the characters were so well done. Can't wait to read more by this author
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I received an ARC of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

To be completely honest, I didn’t really have high hopes for this novel; I chose it based on cover and the description seemed ok. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually really enjoyed it. 
I got so involved with the characters, my hatred of the Free and Martin is strong, and just let me at Mara... but I digress. If it wasn’t obvious, I thought the character development was very good. 
The story itself can be a bit slow in certain spots but just stick with it. I found it more than made up for it in the end. I also didn’t realize this was the first part of a trilogy until I signed into Goodreads. I spent the last 20 pages trying to figure out how they were going to tie it all together. 
I’m really looking forward to the next installment since the first ended on such a great cliffhanger. I have soooooo many questions that need answering,  How did  this “After” start? What do the 3 circles mean? Why are there mutants? The list goes on and on. 
Good short read. I need the 2nd one pronto.
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This was a very predictable, but an enjoyable read. The story seemed wel-developed and I enjoyed the main character's search for brother and boyfriend. I would have liked a bit more twists and a bit pless predictablility. I received this title in lieu of an honest review by Netgalley.
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I feel like a lot of the story wasn't put on paper, it felt like big parts were missing and that the main focus was mostly on the love interest, the writing style was okay, but for my preference a bit too average teenage girl like, which is a shame, because the premise of this book was good though, but I feel like the way this book was written, sort of ruined the story and the world it was set in. I love the cover of this book though, it quite suited the story!
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I wanted to like this book so much and for a bit there I started to enjoy it, until it ended. I had to look back to make sure that the book ended. Basically the story ended to sooner than expected. It's like worst than cliffhangers. I don't recommended.
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Sorrel lived in a village that was attacked by mutants, people so horribly disfigured that most of the time babies born with that appearance that they are considered "not viable" and not allowed to live. In trying to find her younger brother and the boy she loved, she fell ill and was rescued by people of the Free. Not willing to stay in a society that sees nothing wrong with forcing her to marry against her will, Sorrel escapes and goes to the city. Danger still lurks there, especially when those of the Free are looking for her and a group of people feels that her birthmark can be used as a call to arms.

Sorrel is a bratty teenager in a dystopia when the novel begins, but then it goes all downhill from there when her entire way of life is destroyed. The book, intentional or not, seems to portray the village life as the idyll and the formal societies as dysfunctional. The Free are managed through strict gender roles and see nothing wrong with torturing mutants for sport or terrorizing others because they see themselves as superior. In the city, there's a strict divide between the corrupt wealthy and the hardscrabble poor that would do just about anything for coins. Neither society is particularly welcome to read about, with their different levels of creepy discomfort.

The reason why there are so many mutants isn't explained, or why the Before time (recognizably our modern world) had ended. It was within three generations, at least, since Sorrel can recall stories her grandmother told her about cars or planes and times when metal items were plentiful. I would guess it was radiation of some kind, since that would increase mutation rates and likely cause "wood prawn" to be large enough to make a meal when foraging. It would also explain why clothing in some of the stores would have remained intact when items like books had decayed so rapidly, leaving most people illiterate.

There are a lot of dystopian novels starring teenage girls that are special in some way and figure in revolutions, but this one really doesn't feel terribly inspired. This book is the first in a trilogy, but I don't feel invested enough in Sorrel's or David's stories to want to read the next two.
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This story follows Sorrel who lives in a dystopian future that created mutants that are hated by humans. Her brother and friend get kidnapped and she is determined to find him.

Most of the time I like when books jump right into things, but when they don't explain much even after a few chapters I start to get a little worried. The writing was easy to read, I didn't mind it. It's a quick read if you're looking for something fast paced and exciting.
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You know when you dislike a book from the very first pages? 
It can be either the characters, the dialogue, writing, anything at all can trigger a certain hatred in me and after that point there is basically no return.

I tell myself time and time again to stop reading once I get this feeling and pick up another book, or else I am risking myself getting into a reading slump, but there is always this voice in my head – Read just a couple more chapters, it might get better. You shouldn’t DNF the book just yet. Give it one more try.

And I end up reading all of it and quietly hating myself for it.

What was the turning point of this book?

This first sentence:
Sorrel watched as David skinned the bats, enjoying the way the muscles in his arms flexed as he worked. She resisted the urge to lean over and run her fingers over his skin.

There are so many YA dystopian books that I love, but when a book begins with a cringey line about someone else’s muscles, it is definitely not something I enjoy.

But I was stubborn and pushed through to get to the better parts, to get to survival and adventure. However none of those lived to my expectations.

I enjoyed the arc about Sorrel held in the camp, it was giving some Walking Dead vibes, but as a character she wasn’t interesting to follow. Things just happened to her and nothing was from her incentive. She ran away, she stood and watch someone being killed. Let’s just say, she wasn’t the hero kind of character.

I gave this book 2 stars and that was only because I enjoyed a couple scenes from the book, but would not pick up it again or continue reading the series.
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There is no "Before", there is only "Now". Because now there’s no internet, no TV, no power grid. Food is scarce, and the world’s a hostile place. But Sorrel lives a quiet life in the tiny settlement of Amat. It’s all she’s ever known... Until a gang of marauding mutants destroys the village, snatching her brother Eli, and David, her boyfriend. Sorrel sets out after them, embarking on a journey fraught with danger. Can she survive? The only thing that keeps her going is Eli and David. They are out there somewhere. They must be alive. And if she has her way, she will find them.

Right off the bat I realised that The New Dark was going to be a clusterfuck of tropes common to YA. In my opinion anyway. It starts off rough as main character describes the typically hot guy and fantasises about kissing him... as he skins bats. Then we have some lovely female on female hate... for no reason other than the fact they like the same boy (yes, the one that is skinning bats). So we also have a bit of a love triangle going on. Basically, within the first chapter I am already annoyed with this book. 

The New Dark tries really hard to make points about prejudice and racism as mutants are treated differently because they look different. In this world which is the future of our world, we kill babies if they are 'unviable' aka a mutant. The points made really fall flat as apart from one or two mutants, they're all made out to be monsters. The beginning of the book literally shows them kill everyone except the young ones who they then sell into slavery. 

This is of course ridiculous as you would think they would look back on history and realise that it's wrong to have slaves and be discriminatory. But apparently no one remembers the 'before' time even though the eldest people in the village were alive then. Sorrel's grandmother remembers cars and malls and tells Sorrel about these, so why aren't they rebuilding their lives and talking about history? It just seems so dumb that after only 50ish years this village reverts back to the dark ages.

There were a lot of problematic things about The New Dark but it was in fact quite a good paced book. As you go between Sorrel and Davids POV's you get to see quite a lot of action and there's not many dull moments. It felt very much like a good plot, it just needs more in depth world and character building to make it a good book. Speaking of characters, Sorrel is your typical female YA main character. She doesn't really have much depth and is special because she has a weird birth mark. It is never explained why it's special but obviously it throws her into situations head first. The politics of her being used by a faction of people felt extremely similar to other books like The Hunger Games.

The New Dark I think suffered a bit too much from being too much like other books. Because look at Snow Like Ashes? Is it just me or are these covers a little bit too similar? Then there's the tropes and it's just didn't feel original or unique. 

+ Good pace

- Typical female hates female MC trope... twice

- Similarity to other series

- Limited backstory and lack of world building

I received The New Dark* by Lorraine Thomson from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.
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