The New Dark

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

**I was given a copy of this ARC from Baseti Entertainment via Netgalley for an honest review**

Sorrel and her family live in the small village of Amat. She spends her days hunting, fishing, and dreaming about the before times and her secret love David. One day Amat is attacked by a group of brutal mutants and entire world is taken away from her. Trying to escape and save the ones she loves she ends up a criminal on the run with a mutant from a brutal man and his soldiers. She continues to search for her loved ones and ends up befriending a group trying to bring the before times back again. They claim she is special and need her to help their cause. But there seems to be more that they are unwilling to disclose. 


I found myself sitting on the fence about The New Dark when I was finished. I really enjoyed the concept. I love that they are living in a distopia that is actually our world, not somewhere completely imaginary. My favorite character by a long shot is Einstein. Despite being the typical looking mutant he complete tests and changes Sorrels whole world view. He becomes the standard that she holds everyone else to. I also really like Brig, I feel like there is another side to him as well, and his relationship with Eli. This book kept me guessing about who is really good and who is really not. 

On the other hand, I hate Sorrel. She's immature and a spaz. The amount of disrespect she shows her mother at the beginning of the book and then her running away was so childish. If I were David witnessing that scene I would have lost all interest in her. And she continues to act that way all through the book. I also found the book lacking in explanation about what actually happened in the world. I want to know about how it got that way, and how the mutants came into existence. It jumps right into the attack on Amat and I think it missed an opportunity to really bring the reader into the world. 


I would probably continue the series because of the elements I loved, but I hope Sorrel grows as a character.
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The New Dark was really difficult to get into. Something about it just wasn’t quite there. I didn’t really get into it until about a third of the way into it. Even though I got into it a little ways into the book, it drifted again for me the last quarter of it.

“Back then, they simply went into Bigshops and filled barrows with all they wanted and took it home to eat. Fruits from all over the world were brought to the Bigshops in metal machines which flew in the sky like bats, and on vast ships which sailed the oceans. The Before world had been joined up like a spider’s web, but the web had been broken, the strands snapped. Now they lived in isolation, only rarely connecting with other settlements.”

The New Dark is a dystopian story–we have no explanation on what happened–in which there are oversized bugs, animals are sort of rare (they eat bats/rats multiple times in the book), and there are mutants ravaging the world around them. Nothing is explained in The New Dark. I don’t know what happened to the world, I don’t know why there are mutants, and I don’t know what the significance of this is:

“She sat up and ran her fingers over the birthmark on her wrist, tracing the three interconnecting circles.”

Her birthmark is mentioned multiple times throughout the book, for many different reasons. People obsess over it and think it’s symbol. A symbol of what? Who knows. We’re never told. Most stories at least give you a hint, some kind of truth bomb. The closest we get to a hint is this little gem:

“In the time of the Book, the Creator called upon a great flood to wipe out the stain of sin, but the people did not learn. The second time around, He used fire and brimstone. The Cleansing was the end of Before. We are cleansed, Sorrel, and believing in the Creator makes us Free. Do you understand?”

But is it even a hint or just the ramblings of a crazy man?

The New Dark was.. okay. I probably won’t read the next installment though.
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TITLE: The New Dark

AUTHOR: Lorraine Thomson

AUTHOR'S BEST SELLING NOVEL: N/A

PUBLISHER: Bastei Entertainment

RATING: ★★★☆☆

GENRE: Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:
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.

(Source: NetGalley)

FAVOURITE QUOTE: "David ran at full pelt through the dark streets of Dinawl, his legs pounding, heart hammering, and feet beating a fierce tattoo."

BEST PREVIOUS REVIEW QUOTE: "What did not work for me could very well work for you. We are all differents so maybe give this book a chance and make your own opinion." - Sophie, "Beware of the Reader" on Goodreads.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW:
Emerging myself into the world of "The New Dark" was like taking a dip into a particularly deep swimming pool - the arrival was abrupt and shocking, but not necessarily in an all together unpleasant way.
Lorraine Thomson has sucessfully manged to craft a fantasical world with strong description and engaging plot lines that make the reader question human rights, equality and the way we look at people who are different to ourselves. She has incorporated elements from a wide range of genres (including dystopian, fantasy and contemporary) to create a fun, unique, action-packed story that continually gets better and better with every page.

Whilst I'd love to sing her praises completely and fully, I also have to recognise the arising flaws of her book, including the potentially offensive referral of people with physical adversities (such as "small, deep-set eyes"  "seperated by an expanse of forehead as wide as a peat bog" and "he had barely a nose, his nostrils sitting flat against his face") as 'mutants'. Considering we later find out that these mutants are just humans who weren't born in perfect physical condition, I feel that Thomson could be walking a very fine line in which may offend people with physical disabilites. However, in credit to her, one of the main plot lines of the whole story is that mutants aren't all they first seem to be - they aren't just all black or white, but they are varying shades of grey when in terms of the question as to whether they are evil or good. Due to this, I felt that she made a vocal statement that people shouldn't be judged on appearance or differences, and should instead be treated with the same respect we should give everybody. 

I'm also going to be brutally honest once more and admit that it took me a while to emerge myself into the story. So long, in fact, that with every page that I didn't feel myself engaging, I was developing a genuine concern for my likelihood of finishing The New Dark, especially considering how much I wanted to love it. Luckily, I will be the first to admit that Thomson has a way of keeping her readers engaged with the blatant use of bringing up questions that she leaves, for the most part, unanswered, and her writing style gets more and more comfortable the more you read it - kind of like a new set of shoes. 
Another thing I would like to give Thomson credit for, in the terms of her use of charactersitation, is that her main character Sorrel, whilst not particularly likeable, definitely progresses through out the story. She is not another case of an emotionless wet paper towel with no expression or voice. She continously struggles with the events that have happened to her, and doesn't naturally and flawlessly manage to find a solution to every problem. This in turn develops her a character from a potentally weak whiny brat (in the nicest way possible) to a strong heroine and a character that I can't wait to read more about. The dual-narrative we recieve in the book also helps move the story on, especially because David was a dreamy hunk who I could see myself falling for. I loved the chapters from his point of view, and felt that it really added to the story, despite not usually enjoying dual perspectives.

Overall, The New Dark is action packed and full of dramatic plot twists that left me on the edge of my seat, and I genuinely and honestly anticipate the release of its sequels.
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The first word that comes to mind when I think of The New Dark is decent. It's not amazing, it doesn't pull out all the stops and dazzle you, nor does it bring an insane new concept to the table. At the same time, it's a comfortably satisfying read, weighed down by tropes as it may be.

Sorrel is a tough, admirable protagonist. She may be immature, impulsive, or rash at times, but no more so than the normal YA lead (or your average teenager, for that matter). Considering what she goes through, I'm frankly impressed that she still keeps her head up and moves forward in her quest to find the people she lost. What the blurb leaves out is that Thomson doesn't just show us Sorrel's perspective, though. We get an equal amount of her boyfriend David's POV, and it's written with every bit the care given to hers. This isn't one of those books where you'll end up skimming one of the POVs because it's so much inferior to the other.

Worldbuilding is where The New Dark falls short. We're thrown into the deep end from the very first chapters, a Mad Max-esque universe with little explanation of how or why things came to be the way they are. Sorrel mentions her grandmother's tales of Before (our present), so did the vaguely alluded to apocalyptic event occur a mere two generations ago? No one knows, or cares to say. To be fair, the lack of clarity isn't that big of an issue, and we do get to see a few more remnants of the old world--Bigshops! Flashlights! Running water!--as the story goes on. It does make you wonder, though: What kind of apocalypse could have wiped out even memories of established society, yet left so many functioning items behind? Somebody rides a scavenged electronic scooter in the book without any problem. If these things are still left behind, how could people not know more of the past? Sorrel and everyone from her hometown of Amat is illiterate--has the written word disappeared in just two generations? Hopefully some of these questions will be answered in the sequels, which I'm quite looking forward to after the cliffhanger ending of the first book.

Another thing about The New Dark, which might be good or bad depending on your personal taste, is that it's significantly darker than I expected. (Well, no duh, you say. Look at the title. Shh.) Mad Max-esque isn't that much of an exaggeration. There's some crazy stuff that goes down in the story, and Thomson's post-apocalyptic anarchy is pretty crapsack as they come. Rule #1 of The New Dark: Half the people out there want to kill you, and the other half want to make you their slave. Rule #2: For the love of God, don't eat/drink/too deeply inhale anything that's been out of your sight for longer than a second. And don't fall asleep on the road.

Ultimately, the plot turns out fairly predictable. Despite the detours and side quests that Sorrel falls into on her road trip of murder and child slavery, the novel ends at a place that many Book Ones in YA trilogies do, barring the cliffhanger of the final few pages. That didn't detract too much from the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed as a shorter than average read with a hefty amount of plot in its 187 pages.
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I’ve been given an ARC by Bastei Entertainment via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

This is embarrassing as it’s the first ARC I’ve got from NetGalley that did not really float my boat.
Hell I can guess there is always a first time to everything!

So honestly here: I liked the concept, I liked that it made me think about who’s right and who’s wrong in general BUT I did not like the main characters. 
I did not dislike them either but I had difficulties to really walk in their shoes and I’ll get there later.

Just know that characters are of the utmost importance to me.
I can read a book with nearly no plot if the characters are so well built and relatable that I can eat, drink and breathe with them.

This story is a dystopian story happening in a future where cars and planes are things from the past. The metal is a rarity and mutants are feared by humans.

What happened? What are the mutants exactly? We don’t know. And here I found it a missed opportunity as I would have loved some explanations about this new era and new people.

Sorrel is human and lives in a village with her mom her little brother and sister. Her dad left to hunt one day and never came back. Her mom stopped living somehow from that moment on or at least stopped being carefree. Now her face is marred by deep lines of concern and sorrow.
Sorrel has been secretly in love with her childhood friend David but never dared acting up on her feelings.

One day her village is attacked by mutants, her mom and sister are slaughtered and Eli her little brother disappears with David.
Sorrel escapes and will have one goal: find Eli and David.

The journey will be filled with dangers, betrayals, shocking truths…

I liked the concept of the “new era” and mutants.
I really loved how the author made me ponder on my perception. Mutants are seen as monsters but humans are the one acting as monsters in the first place. It made me think about our modern world and about my beliefs. Of course I think my religion, my culture, my way of life are the right choices. But what then? Are the others in the wrong? They believe that they are in the right…
So yes everything good or bad is a question of perception.

I also loved the joke the author played in choosing one mutant's first name. It says it all and goes back to my previous comment about perceptions.

BUT

I found Sorrel immature and childish. Impulsive, being angered easily and behaving like a brat with her mother. I know she is young and a teen. I know teens can be spoiled and hormonal. Childish one moment mature the other. Trust me being the mom of a sweet sixteen I know the ropes. Knowing this does not equal to loving to read about it. Not when it comes down to the main character.

Even David was childish somehow and even behaved like a coward at some point in the book. Inadvertently a coward as he did not know all the facts but it resulted in the death of a good character.

So now I’m in a predicament as I wanted to love this book so bad but can’t give it more than 3 stars based on the elements here above.

Again what did not work for me could very well work for you. We are all differents so maybe give this book a chance and make your own opinion.

Anyway I’m grateful to Bastei Entertainment for their trust.
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Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
After Mutants raid Amat and take Sorrels little brother and her friend and love David with them, Sorrel starts to search for them, only to find people who call themselves "the free people". There she learns that not all mutants are bad and not all people are nice and good. 
Even if sometimes I knew what would happen, I still found the story to be entertaining and I can't wait to read the second book. 

Characters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I liked the main character Sorrel, because next to her being smart and good at fighting, she also had her faults. So she wasn't that typical (super-)main character. 
David seemed really strong and rebellious in some way, because even when everyone gave up, he still fought. I really liked that about him. 
I had the feeling that the other characters were flat, because we only get to know them all little bit. 

World ⭐️⭐️⭐️
There was a before with cars and free people all around, but now the world is different. 
It's kind of a typical after-the-world-ends story, because all civilization is gone and the world is in misery and only one can help to change and save the people. The young main character, who lost her parents. 

Relationships ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The most important relationship was the friendship  Sorrel made and how that changed her view of the world. 

Writing style ⭐️⭐️⭐️
It was good, really fluent and nice to read.
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I enjoyed reading this book immensely- the characters are well developed, and the plot is well paced and interesting. I'll definitely read the next book in this series, and would recommend you to as well!
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Something about this just didn't work with me. I really tried and really made an effort to really read this book, but really I couldn't find anything that interested me. What sounded interesting was only the premise, and that this book was didn't grab me at all.

Since I have gotten a free copy of the book I choose to read it till the end. Only to find that absolutely nothing interested me. I really don't have any lasting impression of any of the characters, or even of any of the plot.

The writing was especially hard for me to read into, nothing really interested me and the way that it was written was incredibly hard for me to connect. And well, since neither of it found any charm in me.

So, I really cannot recommend this as I barely remembered anything about it. And nothing really interested in me about it. But if you feel interested, do give it a try. It might just be for you.
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The New Dark is a new book that will be a series for young adult readers. It follows a young woman, Sorrel, who has had to adapt to living in the "now" after the world has become almost uninhabitable. She is comfortable in her village until it is attacked and her makeshift family is stolen by these dangerous creatures. Sorrel is then left with the decision to stay with nothing or purse these creatures and free her family. Sorrel has never faced any of the dangers that she take upon herself. The book is great for teens or adults who like Jonathon Maberry, Darren Shan, or even the book Sunshine. The feel is dystopian, but with an end of the world theme.
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I had some issues with this one but I think it really had potential.  Didn't really get the title with the story.   Never connected to any of the characters and I am still unsure about the mutants that attacked  - are they good or bad or both?  Sorrell was likable but I didn't feel her connection to David, Eli, or Einstein.  Maybe if there were more between David and Sorrell before the attack it would have helped.  Did like that she was not helpless and used her head. Overall the story was a good one if you are one not to get invested with your characters.   I received a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was addicting,  and I couldn't put it down! Great writing and characters!!
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I loved the cover and the blurb but the story really didn't live up to expectations.  The heroine kept going from one thing to another like a pinball without really ever getting me engaged in her survival, and the constant just missed each other moments, well instead of being suspenseful they were annoying.  Another thing I didn't like there was a cliff hanger at the end but even without any conclusion I didn't really care just felt like I wasted time reading it.
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If you're looking for a page-turning book then this is the one for you. Fabulously written, Sorrel's story is difficult as she goes through many hardships. It is a great adventure and I can't wait to find out what happens next!
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This was a great book of adventure! We couldn't put it down and wished it was on amazon and Goodreads so we could share it with our readers.  We hope that this changes soon. This was a great young adult adventure that will make you ask the hard questions.
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What would you do if everything you knew was destroyed?  Would you have the strength to fight back for what's important?  These are the questions our heroine in this book must answer.  Full of adventure, and intrigue, I would recommend this book to all who love a YA adventure.
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