Thursday, February 2, 2012

Joint Book Review Discussion: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

So Michelle of Galleysmith and I thought since our joint reviews were so successful last August, we'd do it again.  These are more in-depth than my usual reviews and discuss plot points in a non-spoilery way. We'll post about a different book every Thursday, and our first book is DARK INSIDE.

Here's the official summary:

Four teenagers on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found. THE DARK INSIDE is a stunning, cinematic thriller: 28 DAYS LATER meets THE ROAD.

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…. Now it’s our turn.

Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even worse is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, hooking on to weakness, turning the unwary into hunters, killers, crazies.

You'll notice that I gave THE DARK INSIDE the Zombie Chicken Merit Badge for Action.  Action was definitely its strongest suit, and it should appeal to adrenaline junkies.

Michelle and I decided to discuss four topics: Genre classification, Scare Factor, Element of surprise and Point of view. The first two we discuss below, the second two we discuss over at Galleysmith.

Genre Classification

Since the earthquake that releases the unnamed evil onto the Earth occurs at the beginning of this book, I’d classify this as Apocalyptic lit. Because of the way many people turn into murderous crazies, I’ve also heard this described as zombie lit without the zombies. It’s also meant to be commercial rather than philosophical, though a couple of characters do break out in a bit of moralizing about how badly humans have treated the Earth, resulting in the Earth’s need to fight back.

Agreed. It didn’t feel dystopian at all. Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic for sure. Maybe a bit of mystery given the whole unnamed evil plot. I didn’t get the same commercial feel to it that you did but I did feel like it was trying to hard to create too many touch points. Too preachy in the good vs. evil department and the whole Earth fighting back scenario.

It had the potential to be more dystopian - if those overcome by the evil had been more systematic. Maybe this is the plan for later books in the series? For the evil ones to subjugate the others and force them to clean up the Earth or something. I don’t know. Because honestly, I don’t really think more plucky kids running from crazies is going to do it for me.

The only thing that makes me curious (and makes me agree with you on the the potential) is the end. What they saw from the beach opens up the potential for the story to progress from there kind makes me wonder if there will be some sort of oppressive environment.

Scare Factor

The book is a series of action scenes strung together to form a loose narrative of regular teens trying to survive in a world gone mad. There is a ton of bloodshed, but none of it is going to make you cry. There are some set pieces which are classic horror movie fare, including a scene at an abandoned high school where a group is picked off one by one. Maybe the scariest part of the novel is not knowing who the evil will affect. Some people can hide their “infection”, others might be perfectly fine one day and turned the next. There’s a particular “coward” character who I kept a close eye on, expecting the worst.

 I wasn’t scared at all. Creeped out a bit but not scared. In fact I found the whole thing felt too cliched. I would have much preferred deeper exploration of some of the larger themes in a suspenseful way. The horror elements were gratuitous and felt like they were simply there to add ambiance.

Generally, the more plausible a scenario is, the scarier I will find it. An evil emerging from deep within the Earth is very low on the plausible scale. So I can see where you are coming from when you talk about gratuitous horror.

I agree, I tend to find the more realistic scenarios the scariest and this just didn’t have that. It was too far out of reach for me to really connect to it on a scare factor.

Read the rest of our discussion over at Galleysmith.

Find out more about DARK INSIDE at Goodreads.

Here's some info on the sequel RAGE WITHIN, coming from Simon and Schuster on Sept. 4, 2012.

Aries, Clementine, Mason and Michael have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world's population, and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now, they're hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of surviving teens, and trying to figure out their next move.

Aries is trying to lead, but it's hard to be a leader when there are no easy answers, and every move feels wrong. Clementine is desperate to find her brother Heath, but it's impossible to know where he'd be, even if he is still alive. Michael is still haunted by the memories of his actions during his harrowing struggle to survive. And Mason is struggling with something far worse: the fear that he may be a danger to his friends.

As the Baggers begin to create a new world order, Aries, Clementine, Mason and Michael will have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive.

View index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

FTC disclosure: I read an eGalley of DARK INSIDE provided by the publisher.


roro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
roro said...

i love that book
hoping2read rage within

bermudaonion said...

I agree with both of you - the more realistic a scene is, the more it scares me!

Zibilee said...

I am not sure this one would work for me, as the aspect of kids running away from crazies doesn't really do it for me. I think it's funny that the first book on the Dystopian February list wasn't really a dystopian, but I am glad that you chose to review and discuss it anyway, as it gave me a little insight into a title that I knew nothing about. Very interesting post today!

candice (thecrjreviews) said...

While the evil from below was a little much, I did enjoy the format of the book. Each character's story is separate, but they slowly come together. Still have a lot of questions, can't wait for Rage Within.

natalie @ book, line, and sinker said...

that cover is so scary! i love your feature here--my students are always looking for book recommendations, so now i'm armed (and dangerous) with a bunch more DYA stuff. thanks, lenore. :)

M.A.D. said...

It took me a while to really get into 'Dark Inside', but once I did I loved it and now cannot wait to read the sequel :D

Evie said...

I don't know if this is my kind of book. I'd like to read it because of all the action but I'm not sure.

Vivien said...

I just finished reading this book. It was really surprising. I have so many questions that I hope are answered soon. Plus, the cover for the Rage Within....bloody amazing.