I finished reading Dark Inside a good few days ago, but couldn’t wholly decide on my true opinion. In fact, even after giving myself time to try and formulate one, I’m not sure it will be accurate, but I’m going to try my best.
First up: did I enjoy the book?
To a degree, yes I did. It held my interest (though only just about in a spot or two). I kept reading to the end. I didn’t feel as though I’d wasted the X amount of days it took me to read.
So, why the struggle?
Well, to begin, I had trouble keeping track of the four protags. There are four main characters (unless you count ‘nothing’). And they each take turns (not always in the same order) for their POV (which is spotty with breaches at times) to be spotlighted and tell their end of the story (as well as ‘nothing’)—which is good as none of them know each other in the opening, and none of them live in the same town, and so what’s happening for them differs slightly to what’s happening for the others. But the chapters for each are mostly quite short, so the flip is often quite jarring, and I didn’t immediately make the switch as to which of the characters I was dealing with. Yes, the chapters were headed with their name. And yes, I *knew* the characters names. But this is a fairly busy book in the opening, and so I had to constantly take pause and connect the name—and the switch—to the location and devastation. Which kind of affected the flow and made the book a much longer read than it could have been.
So what about those four (or five, if you count ‘nothing’) characters, then?
Well, we have Clementine, Michael, Aries & Mason (and ‘nothing’).
All four characters do have their own kind of personality, but I’m not sure how much of that shone through in the characterisation, or how much it was their circumstance that made them identifiable. As mentioned above, they’re all separate in the opening. And the reader knows they’re all going to end up together, or in the same place, so you read on, and read on, and keep waiting for that to happen.
At one point in the book, I got a little bored. It was fairly far in. The characters had each fought and won differing battles, and moved on in their journeys in this new and despicable world, but I reached a spot when I just thought, okay enough now, do something to switch this repetition up and give me something new.
And then two of the characters bumped into each other. <<This scene, I really liked. Because, whilst my subconscious knew they were all going to unite, because it had taken so long, and because other folk had been met and bonded with along each of their ways, it didn’t click. Not until he introduced himself. And I blew out a breath because I thought ‘Finally!’ and realised I suddenly still wanted to read on. I’m not going to say any more on the where, why, what & when of the union, but when my focus was wavering, this one scene saved it for me, and had me ploughing forward once more.
So what about the ‘collapse’ of mankind as we know it. I mean, first glance suggests a viral outbreak—a regular old zombie-type apocalypse—but this book is actually nothing like that at all. This book is deeper and heavier and a whole lot scarier—but to the point I had trouble grasping the concept. I’m sure the lack of explanation is deliberate, and maybe further enlightenment comes with book 2, but I got to the end of Dark Inside and had no freakin’ idea what had caused this atrocity, or the exact science of how it all—how it could possibly—works. Plus, we had all those chapters from ‘Nothing’. Written as a character POV, I was left wondering if this was an actual person, or some kind of entity, which meant it could be the POV of a different person every time, and the entity doesn’t affect them all individually but, rather, as a whole (like I said, I don’t get the science). But the more I read on, the more I began to have suspicions about ‘Nothing’ and who ‘Nothing’ is actually *hiding* behind—though, again, something else that isn’t clear, and I’d need answers to if I was to read on into book 2. Because those zombies that aren’t zombies are so inconsistent in how they’re affected—and the creepy knowledgeable ones (and that one in particular?) have me scratching my head and even more confused over the science of it all. To the point I’m left wondering what the ‘Nothing’ chapters added to the book—because they certainly didn’t offer any kind of clarity.
And here I am, at the end of my review, realising that pretty much everything I’ve written in here is full of confusion, and so you now likely have no idea what the book’s about (or if I really did like it at all).
Welcome to the club.
So, here’s my challenge. YOU read it, and then come back here and speculate with me like crazy. Because I’m pretty sure it’s that exactly—the potential for conspiracy theories—which has kept my head thinking about this book, and kept me reading and full of intrigue the entire way through.