The New Dark

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

I received an advance review copy of The New Dark from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  Having agreed to be honest, I have to admit that it was some weeks in between requesting this galley and the time I finally got around to reading it.  During that interval I had forgotten the description of the book mentioning that it's the opening installment of a planned trilogy.  Sp the cliffhanger ending and abrupt non-resolution of the central quest left me more frustrated than normal.  That being said, even if I remembered that two more books would follow, I think I still would have been disappointed.

The New Dark opens quite well with a nice bit of world-building.  The description of agrarian life in a post-nuclear world is handled quite well, as is the invasion of the idyllic little village.  Once the plot advances beyond the destruction of Sorrel's home the world-building is abandoned in favor of the hero quest.  There's not enough character development for my taste.  Sorrel goes from one problem to another conflict and then on to another struggle, meanwhile we learn very little about her as a person.  The same goes for David once the narrative switches to his perspective.  The book is highly event-driven.  There's not much meat on its bones. All we know is that Sorrel and David want to find each other.  Considering their entire village was destroyed, what bonds these two together?  I honestly have no idea.  Sorrel has a mysterious necklace and equally mysterious birthmark that are supposed to mark her for some higher destiny.  This book never gives us many hints.  Frankly there's not enough to draw me into caring about Sorrel or David.  I can't see much reason to invest more time, let alone money, in the next two books.
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3.5 stars...The new dark left many questions. The book is a dystopian society but it really doesn't explain what happened. We just know there was a "before".  There are mutants, not sure what happened to cause the mutants. We meet Sorrel and her love interest David in the opening chapter. They live in Amat. It's a rough life where you hunt and trade for things you need. Sorrel is a young teen and naive. Mutants attack their camp and many people are killed. She survives but now is on her own. This is her story. I don't want to give too much away in the book but I did enjoy the world. I enjoyed the story but there are so many open questions. The book ends on a strange note too. Like not a cliffhanger and not an open question. I thought maybe my book didn't download all the way. I have actually reached out to the author just to check if that really was how the book was supposed to end. I would recommend the book but just know that there will be open questions and a strange ending. It appears as though this will be a trilogy so hopefully that will answer some of the questions.
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Honestly, this book was just confusing and distasteful. The whole novel has this sense of hopelessness and depression. I felt like the author threw in a bunch of shocking events just because. There was no real rhyme or reason to why these things happened, and they didn't contribute to the plot or the background of the world.

There wasn't enough world building. We were introduced to so many different things at once. There are different areas of the world, different societies, different people, different histories... All of these are introduced but with little or no background to them. It left me feeling confused, rather than intrigued.

One thing that I can appreciate about the book though, is the author's intent to show how judging someone on their looks or race is not a way to really understand someone's character or intentions.

I don't have plans on continuing on with the series, and this wouldn't be something that I would recommend if asked.
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I have mixed feelings about this book. Do not get me wrong I enjoyed it but since fantasy, YA, and dystopian novels are among my favorites I was really excited and set the bar extremely high in my mind. At this point I think I may have set it too high. When a book captures my attention nothing can drive me from it not even want of sleep and food. I am disappointed to say that this was not the case with The New Dark. I did put it down, willingly, multiple times. It started off really strong and then the momentum just died suddenly. As a result I was left wanting. I know a few people who would find the book riveting but for myself personally I do not think I will reread it at all.
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Times are changing when it comes to popular genres. A few years ago, Dystopian reigned supreme on the shelves and now they are beginning to fall short of their former glory. I had very high expectations for this Fantasy/Dystopian that was met with….well…problems.

Sorrel is set on a journey after her village, Amat, is attacked by vicious mutants. She barely escapes then goes on a search for her younger brother Eli and love interest David after they disappear after the raid. We begin to learn a little about the world before the mutants when technology reigned supreme. However, we do not really receive much of an explanation as to where the mutants come from in this world or even what happened to rupture the world as we once knew it.

The story’s perspective is told between Sorrel and David. Sorrel has major character flaws that drove me crazy. She was completely immature in the beginning and maybe she’ll grow up in the second book, who knows. She never gave more insight upon her mysterious birthmark or showed much growth in my opinion. David didn’t do much for me either.

The story is simple and fast paced, but it left too many questions behind and not enough answers. I kept getting frustrated for the lack of information and clarity on the past. If it didn’t have all those issues, I think I’d want to read the second book….as of right now I think it’s a pass for me.
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Even though I found the beginnig a bit slow, I really enjoyed this reading.

I loved Sorrell fierceness and courage. It wasn't easy everything she faced during the story, but she never gave up. She's a bit a headstrong about some conceptions, but she's open to change that. 

David was a surprise for me. At the start, I didn't know if his feelings for Sorrell were true, but I was wrong. He's determined to be reunited with her. Some of his attitudes were hasty, but in the end I think I'd do the same. I can't wait for them to be find each other.

This post-apocalyptic world got some kind of The 100 vibe in it.  There are mutants and normal people are trying to survive. And we can see that are good and bad people, no matter if they're normal or mutant.  I hope the author would explain a bit more how the world turned that way in the following books.
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I was browsing around Netgalley when I ran across this book and found the premise interesting. In The New Dark, we are introduced to a girl named Sorrell, who lives in a small village with her mother and siblings. It's a hunter/gather sort of a society, though there are whispers of the Before. This got my interest because I do love a good dystopian book. As the story begins, we learn that Sorrell is in love with a boy named David and is trying to work up the courage to tell him. Suddenly, her entire world is turned upside down when her village is destroyed by a pack of mutants. Thus our story gets kicked into gear.

Though the premise and the dystopian feel initially drew me in, this was a very middle-of-the-road book for me. I was not floored by anything in this book, yet there wasn't anything I overtly disliked, either. The plot was pretty typical of a YA dystopian novel (lost love, survival, and rebels, oh my!) and it kept my attention, but the pacing seemed off. There were parts that felt really rushed and then there were parts that seemed to drag. The characters were likable enough. I think the characterization in this book is what I liked the most about it. When an author can make me wish and excruciating and painful death on a character, that's a thumbs up in my eyes! The ending left a little to be desired, but I knew this was the first book in a series when I started, so I probably should have expected that.

My overall feelings were really just... meh. It was okay and good for a nice, easy read.
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(Leaving eview on Goodreads and Amazon).  Contains some spoilers..

This was an ok story for a dystopian.  Sorrel is one of the few survivors in a village pillaged and destroyed by a mutant gang.  She follows the mutant gang, trying to rescue her baby brother and best friend David, but falls ill and is “rescued” by the Free, a group of people who live like a weird religious sect, and she’s married against her will to their creepy  leader.  She manages to escape with the help of an imprisoned mutant, Einstein.  He’s my favorite character in this story, and what made me want to finish reading the story.  He’s smart and eloquent, very perceptive and becomes a great friend to Sorrel.    What I didn’t like: the dystopian setting is never explained, only that before Sorrel’s grandma’s time, there was “Before,” not what caused the before/ after, nor why mutants are being born.  I didn’t like that the story opens up with Sorrel and David being childhood friends and they secretly like each other but haven’t acted on it, and then later in the book, it’s “who they love” and even in the book synopsis I think David is referred to as her boyfriend.  That was a bit dramatic, even for YA.  Sorrel’s birthmark isn’t explained- what’s so important besides that it looks like a poster?  Way before the poster is mentioned, her grandma said it made Sorrel special, and Martin from the Free was obsessed with it too..   So, overall this was an ok book for me, but didn’t hold my interest that much.
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This was a fantastic YA read!  It was one of those books that you just could not put down because you wanted to know what happens.  I will  be buying this book for our YA section of our library!
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I was on the fence after I read The New Dark. One one hand, I thought that the basic storyline for the book was fantastic. A post-apocalyptic world where mutants were common. That caught my attention from the get-go. But, I found that I had issues following the storyline at the same time. There was not enough background given about what happened “Before“, how the mutants came to be and what Sorrel’s birthmark means. When I finished The New Dark, I was at odds at what rating to give it. I settled on a 3 because I can see the potential in the book.

Sorrel did not make a good first impression on me at first. She came across as a brat. But my dislike did wane a teeny bit when she saw the mutants attack her village. She saw her mother and baby sister killed. She was going after her toddler brother when she was attacked by another mutant. After the dust clears from the attack on the village, she starts off on a journey to find her brother. I was impressed with her during her imprisonment when she was at Martin’s village. She was able to overcome her fear and dislike of mutants to free Einstein, a mutant held captive there. I thought it was amazing that she could go from hating mutants to being best friends with one.

The storyline with David wasn’t needed, in my eyes. The only thing that I did think it added to the book was that it showed that Sorrel’s brother was still alive. For supposedly being “in love” with Sorrel, he didn’t act it. He got very attached to Mara. I did like how you could see the search for Sorrel and Einstein through different eyes. But, as I stated in the beginning of this paragraph, I don’t think his storyline was needed.

I do wish that the author gave more background about what happened to cause the world go apocalyptic. I hate it when I am reading a story and there is zero background about what happened in the past. It drives me nuts and my mind goes wild imagining what happened. A solar flare? Disease? War? Aliens? Natural disaster? Nothing is said.

I also wish that the author gave more insight to Sorrel’s birthmark and why it was so special. That is another thing that drives me nuts. If it was so darn important, then tell us!! Or at least give a prologue explaining the birthmark from the grandmother’s point of view. Then it would make sense why Martin was so keen to have Sorrel for his wife. It also would clear up why her birthmark did what it did towards the end of the book.

I also would have liked to see more of an explanation of how the mutants came to be. I am pretty sure that it ties into whatever caused the apocalyptic event. But, what bugged me was this. How do they tell if a child could be a mutant at birth? I mean, other than having an arm growing out of its chest or 3 eyes? Sorrel had memories of her grandmother smothering newborns shortly after they are born. She remembered how shamed the parents were. Also, Sorrel’s mother was worried about naming the baby. Because she might not be viable. HOW DO THEY KNOW!!! I got very frustrated at that.

The end of the book didn’t answer any of those questions. But, because none of my questions weren’t answered in this book, I am hoping that they will be answered in the next one. Only one storyline was answered, the one with Sorrel’s brother and the blonde mutant who took him. But even that one was kind of left open. Which is a good thing because it makes me want to read book 2.

While I liked reading The New Dark, I felt that it left certain questions unanswered (see above). That affected my rating of the book, unfortunately. The book does have a good plotline and great characters. If the author could do some explaining of somethings I outlined above, it would be great.

Will I reread: Maybe

Will I recommend to family and friends: Maybe

Age range: Older Teen

Why: Violence, mild language.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

I would like to thank Lorraine Thomson, be-ebooks and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The New Dark

All opinions stated in this review of The New Dark are mine
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Thank you, Netgalley and publishers, for an advanced e-book copy of this story! All opinions are still my own and are not influenced in any way.

Amazing book, interesting concept. A thrilling dystopian anyone would love to get their hands on.

The New Dark by Lorraine Thomson is about a dystopian/sci-fi book about a girl named Sorrel whose town gets raided by mutants. She barely escapes, but is now on an adventure to find her little brother and childhood crush. Along the way, there are many dangers. Will Sorrel ever find David and Eli?

This started and ended strangely. It dives right in, and you sort of learn about the characters through Sorrel's thoughts, but a lot of it you have to piece together yourself. You also don't get a real feel for the relationships between characters (since you learn about them in a small first chapter). This made me not as excited to go find Eli and David as I probably should have been. The ending was very abrupt. The book definitely should have been longer, as I was trying to figure out if I got a janky e-copy or if it literally ends right where it does. 

The character development was great. The writing style was very plain and simple, but it didn't bother me. Even though it was pretty plain, I still feel like I was there along with Sorrel having this adventure too, which is always fun instead of feeling like just the audience. 

This is a pretty good book. It was only ~180-190 pages on the nook, so it's a relatively quick read if you just sit down and read it (which I did not do). I'm definitely interested in seeing what happens next!
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I requested this book due to the blurb and the cover. It seemed something up my alley and I was delighted to receive ARC. I enjoyed reading this book. 

The plot was good and I liked the main character in the book Sorrel. It’s a dystopian book and it talks a little about how life was before and how it is now and how some of the inhabitants survive this new world. How there are mutants who attack humans. Without giving away any spoilers I must say that Einstein grew on me and I hope to learn more about his fate in the next book. ❤️ 

The book does have its moments where it’s a little slow but honestly what book or movie doesn’t? Don’t fret it picks up speed and that “slow part” is needed to show us how vulnerable we can be. I hope there is a book 2 following the release of this series. I really want to know what happens to the main characters of this series. 

As mentioned above, I received this ARC by NetGalley on behalf of Bastei Entertainment in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an electronic ARC from Bastei Entertainment via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The New Dark is a post-apocalyptic YA set in a world where the internet and power grid has shut down, sending its inhabitants into a simple survival driven setting. Drawn in by the premise, I was eager to see where debut author, Lorraine Thomson, took her characters as they learnt to navigate this new world.

I thought the setting was clever and unique enough to distinguish The New Dark from the overflowing sub-genre of post-apocalyptic fiction. However, the character development fell flat and I just couldn’t fall in love with them.

The main character, Sorrell, lives out her day-to-day life in a small, remote village when mutants raid the village and kidnap her brother. Instead of worrying about her brother’s kidnapping by apparently savage marauders, Sorrell seems more concerned in reuniting with the boy she has a cheesy stereotypical YA crush on.

As the central motivation for the main character, this read way too flimsy for me. Sorrell had the potential to develop into a bad-arse, and genuinely sincere character driven by the love of her brother.  But instead, the reader follows Sorrell as she wanders through the forest and stumbles across a cult-like settlement where she is promised as the new bride to who I first assumed was the sole male in the camp.

With little allusion to the circumstances of this new world, and murky motivations driving the central character, the plot seemed imbalanced and unclear.

While The New Dark wasn’t for me, if you are a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I would give it a shot. This is Lorraine Thomson’s debut novel, and while it did not reach my standards for a post-apocalyptic YA, I do look forward to reading her next book and seeing where this world goes.
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The New Dark is a confusing story. Combining elements from many other great dystopian works, it felt disjointed to me. As is expected in a jack-of-all-trades situation, this story was a master of none, and that made me struggle. The author goes to great lengths to make it clear that she believes in the syllogism that all elephants are gray, but not all gray things are elephants. As I have come to expect from other middle-grade level books, the theme is obvious and there is little nuance in the story. The message of the story is an important one, the idea that prejudice is a plague on society is something that is particularly relevant in our current global climate. Sorrell’s character development was definitely redemptive, and I hope it continues in the next installment of the story.
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In a post-modern society, Sorrel barely escapes after her village is raided by mutants. She finds that young brother Eli and beloved David were captured by the band of mutants and finds herself in a dangerous pursuit to get them back. As she progresses on her journey she learns more about the world outside of her village and the dangers that it holds. Everything she thinks she knows about the “before” could actually be real and she learns that not all mutants are as savage she those that had attacked her village.

The Story-While the book was really easy to read and flowed well enough, there wasn’t really much that made me excited to be reading it. I didn’t really like the alternating points of view between Sorrel and David. I thought it would have been better to just sum up what happened to the survivors as hearsay later – it would have been enough to get the idea of the brutality of the mutants and the overall story of their suffering.

Now while the book itself isn’t explicit, it might be beneficial to point out a slight trigger warning to those who may be affected by reading about a forced or abusive relationship.

The World Building-The setting wasn’t very thoroughly described, but is to be understood that it is in the future where modern day society has fallen, and mankind has regressed to live without technology and it’s advancements. Things such as plumbing and heat are unheard of just as much as a car or telephone. They are all parts of the “before” time. 

There are also mutated creatures, plants & humans that are larger, stronger, and overall more dangerous than they would have been in the “before” time.

The Characters-I found the characters a little flat. However, I did appreciate the fact that Sorrel wasn’t some perfect angel with magnificent skills. She had skills yes, but was overtaken by more power people or made choices that showed her to be someone who could be considered selfish or mean because of her sense of self preservation.

I was really glad that the story wasn’t driven by some instalove between some characters that grinned and eyed each other every few pages as well. The fact that her resolve was fueled by family and comradery was definitely a reason why I stepped up from 2 stars to 3 stars.
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The New Dark novel is the first book of The Dark Times Trilogy by Lorraine Thomson. This was the first book I've read from this author and I wasn't sure what to expect. 

The good:  
I found the book to have a good start. Good world building and interesting characters. The author jumps right in to a world that is destroyed with actions and a great pace. The story line was an interesting and kept me engaged. The book ended in a good place which leads me to believe that the second book will be paced the same way. I hope that for the next book all these holes are answered. 

The bad:
There was very little background as to what led the world to be where it is. There was some world building, but not enough information to comprehend what led to where the are now. There isn't much background information about the people and creatures in the story which leaves me to have to try to piece them together.  The characters were in the coming-of-age stage where they had some growing up to do.

Heroine: Sorrel
Hero: David

Words to describe the heroine: Immature, motivated, loving, tough
Words to describe the hero: Loyal, loving, immature, determined

Hero Rating: 3 stars
Heroine Rating: 3.5 stars
Plot Rating: 3 stars
Storytelling Rating: 3.5 stars
Sexual Tension: 3 stars
Story Ending: 3.5 stars

Overall Rating: 3.5 stars
Angst: Low 
Darkness: High
Humor: Low
Romance: Medium
Suspense: Medium
Point of View: A narrator focuses between the different main characters 

Overall Book Construction
Misspells: None
Wording Structure: Good
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When I first read this, I got sucked in because I absolutely love the kind of stories that have that village feel. You know, villages with horses and 'everything is wood' kinda thing. They were simple but alright despite everything that happened. In this case, it's a Dystopian, which really just makes it cooler. The characters were another favorite. I really liked David and Sorrel, but it's funny because even they had a lot of growing up to do. It was both frustrating and entertaining to watch, especially when it effected the other characters. The story had its lags, especially when it would go from their mini adventures to horrendous mind games with creeps you'd rather see dead, but it was overall good!
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❝ The shooting star trailed through the sky before disappearing into nothing. It was supposed to be a good omen, but David couldn’t see what good could come of something so far away when misery was so close at hand.❞

I want to start out by saying thank you to the publisher for approving me for this ARC! All opinions are my own.

The New Dark was a pretty quick and fun read. I would say it has some similar elements to The Hunger Games series (The Hunger Games review, book 1) and the New Bloods series by Michelle Bryan (Awaken review, book 1). Both are really good if you’re interested in checking them out.

Things kick off really fast in the beginning, with David and Sorrel’s village being destroyed within the first chapter. And from there the book alternates chapters between David and Sorrel’s points of view. I think for David’s POV, his story continued along pretty fast with things being very tense as they were dragged along by mutants. But for Sorrel’s POV things felt a little slower. For her, it was being stuck in a new village and looking for a way out. She learned more about the Free and their way of life, but I was just eager to see more action.

I think what I enjoyed the most about the book was the city of Dinawl. It seemed like the center of everything because mutants and humans had to coexist. It wasn’t peaceful, exactly, but it seemed like the city (at least no other was mentioned). While in most instances in the book mutants were treated like trash, in Dinawl the tables were turned with humans being kidnapped from other villages and being sold as slaves to others. It was a corrupt city where you could buy anyone with the right amount of money. It was hard to know who you could trust if anyone at all.

❝ In an act of sorrowful self-preservation, Sorrel internalised her horror and grief. She thought her heart had been so broken in Amat that it could suffer no further damage, but here it was, breaking all over again.❞

I also want to talk about the main characters a bit. I preferred Sorrel over David because she tended to think things through. When she arrived with the Free she took her time studying her surroundings and the people in order to figure out how to get away. She was a planner and I enjoyed that part of her. At the same time, I didn’t like how explosive her anger was towards mutants. She was definitely prejudiced, but seeing her character grow over the book made it worth it.

David, however, was more impulsive. It bothered me a bit that he was always trying to solve things with violence or aggression instead of thinking it through (his plans rarely went his way). He didn’t know how to read people or how to manipulate them the way that Sorrel did.

One thing that I didn’t really care for was the romance aspect of the story. It was stated outright a few times that David and Sorrel were in love, but I didn’t really get that while reading. It would have been better if we had seen the romance between them develop, but that was hard to see considering they were split up for most of the book. It felt a bit like insta-love, but not really because we never saw it. I’m hoping the next book fixes this up a bit.

And then my final thoughts will be on the ending. I liked Sorrel’s part in the ending, and how things ended up between her and the group she met up with. I liked that she didn’t fully embrace the image they wanted for her, but that she was willing to help instill change. The actual final pages of the book bothered me because it didn’t feel like an ending. It felt a bit awkward and the scene itself didn’t really read like it was saying “the end”. I think if the scene with Brig was taken out it would’ve been better.

The New Dark was just released today, November 1st, and it’s really worth checking out, so go, go go!
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