Cover Image: The New Dark

The New Dark

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Not much world building, plot was clunky, characters were unlikable. Overall, just not a very good read.
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I liked it enough. I did not expect it to be so engaging. I confess that I requested it because I liked the cover. At first I did not read the plot. But once approved I had to read it and I was quite satisfied.

The place where Sorrel, the protagonist, lived was destroyed by mutants and his brother and his best friend disappeared.

After being fainted she is helped by people who take care of her. However, despite having saved her, now they do not want to let her go away, they want to find a stable place for Sorrel in their village, but she can't afford it, she has to save David and Eli.

The two boys were kidnapped by mutants and held prisoners. Even though David tries to escape, he does not succeed and returns in prison with many of his fellow citizens.

This is a all-to-discover book, intriguing, for all ages, from the hypnotic scenes from whose pages you won't want to get off until the end.

It's not one of those books where there is an adventure after another, but that's the value of this book. It has the right pace to make you fall in love with the protagonists from the first page as each book should do.
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Einstien was probably my favorite character in it. I would have liked more explanation on what led up to the world being the way it was (overrun by Aliens). It seemed as though I was dropped in the middle of the book plot and missed the beginning. However, I did enjoy the book
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Despite a promising premise (I love post-apocalyptic stories) and a gorgeous cover, this one started well but quickly lost its appeal and never regained traction for me. I think what it comes down to is there are too many questions raised and not enough answers, even knowing this is the first of a trilogy. 

What happened to make the Before the Now? Why are some people living backwoods lives in Amat when others (we discover) are living much more advanced lives in a setting that more closely resembles Divergent, and why don't the two groups know about each other? Why the birthmark? Why the mutants? Why the birth rate crisis? Where the heck did the Free come from, and how in the world does it all tie together? 

I'm sure answers will be revealed, but it seemed like such an "everything but the kitchen sink" approach that I'm completely uninterested in continuing the series, not to mention that none of the characters nor the writing style grabbed me and it was quite a task to finish. What started as a nice adventure story has, by the end, basically turned into the District 13 Hunger Games revolution, and it just lost me.
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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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http://clistebella.blogspot.com/2017/11/book-review-netgalley-books-of-week.html?m=1
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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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