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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: November 1, 2011
Pages: 336
Source: For Review from Simon & Schuster Canada (Thank you!)
Rating: 2.5 Stars

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 more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies. Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd. Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

In short: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts is an intense post-apocalyptic read, but unfortunately lacks distinct character development for its four narrators.
An ancient evil threatens to destroy the world. Countless people are turned into mindless killers and brutally murder the leftover good people one by one. Dark Inside follows four survivors - Mason, Aries, Clementine, and Michael - in their quest to stay alive, find their families, and fight their darkness. Needless to say, Dark Inside is a pretty intense read. It was very fast paced with lots of action and lots of close-calls. Unfortunately though, it just didn't work for me.

My main problem with Dark Inside was there were too many perspectives to keep track of. The four main characters had different backgrounds but ultimately did not have as fully fleshed out personalities as I would have liked, making them difficult separate and difficult to relate to. Also, it did not make for a fun reading experience to have each character's chapter end on a cliffhanger only to return to them finally three chapters later. And often the promised action at the end of the chapter was completely skipped over by the time that character's story was returned to, making the experience even more frustrating.

If there was one interesting aspect that having four perspectives provided though, it's the differing outlooks and actions taken by each character and using this to evaluate what would be the best course of action for me should I ever find myself in a post-apocalyptic setting. You never know. It could happen. What's best: not risking it and staying hidden in a secret hideout or not being a sitting duck and never staying in the same place for more than a night? Grouping together with many people to have safety in numbers or going it alone so that it's not as easy to be tracked? These are important questions that we should ask ourselves in case the world ends tomorrow.

Overall, I can appreciate the intense plot and psychological undercurrents that debut author, Jeyn Roberts, created for Dark Inside. But ultimately, Dark Inside needed more in depth character and world building to keep me interested. I'm confused as to whether this one is a planned series or a standalone, but there were certainly a ton of unanswered questions leftover.

Other Reviews:
Books of Amber
The Bursting Bookshelf
Cheezyfeet Books

Author Links:

*Read as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge


  1. I was planning on reading this sometime because its available on a site that I go to. I might still try it but I don't know, I like characters to be fleshed out. And I HATE when perspectives are confusing. Especially if there are four (four!)... I'm pretty unsure.I wouldn't like the 'mini' cliffhangers either on the end of the chapters :/ Those questions are interesting though! I don't have any answers lol Thanks for your thoughts Aylee, it was very helpful!!

  2. Oh too many perspectives sounds tough. Thanks for your honesty and warning.

  3. "And often the promised action at the end of the chapter was completely skipped over by the time that character's story was returned to, making the experience even more frustrating."

    Well, that sounds hugely problematic, no wonder you were frustrated! I think sometimes a lot of characters done well can work, but when they're all over the place and you're missing huge chunks of their story by skipping around it just makes me want to put the book down and start something less busy. Thanks for the review Aylee, I'll be passing on this one!

  4. This definitely doesn't sound like the book for me. I hate the idea of post apocalyptic. Totally freaks me out. It's hard to do multiple perspectives well. When its done really well, it's great, but if it's not done well, it makes the book hard to read. Great review!

  5. I actually liked this one quite a bit! I agree that there isn't too much opportunity to get attached to each narrator, but I just got caught up in the action (I love action, haha). Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Aylee! :)

  6. My friends had the same complaint about the multiple POVs. It's a shame the book sounds so cool!

    Xpresso Reads

  7. Four narrators? Why is this trending? *sighs*

    Yeah, I don't think this one will work for the either. Lack luster characters mixed in with cliffhanger chapters doesn't really entice me at all.

  8. I haven't read too many post-apocalyptic books so I like that there's action in this one but really hate when there are multiple POVs that aren't well done. If you're going to have lots of narrators, it's important to keep everybody's voices distinct.

    I also really don't like that there's mini cliffhangers in this one. It's bad enough when you have a big one at the end.

    I think I'll probably pass on this. Thanks for the review, Aylee.

  9. Meh, it kind of lost me when you said there isn't much character development.
    I'm not a dystopian girl, but I can go into it if I like the characters and it doesn't sound like I would like these.

    Thanks for the honest review.

  10. Ugh I hate books with multiple POV's. I liked The Night Circus a lot though. It has too much multiple POV's than a normal person can handle imo. But it was very well-written that I found myself not caring. I'm also still not that into post-apocalyptic books. I'm very meticulous with which I'm going to read.

  11. Thanks for your honesty. I've been wanting to read this but I think I would have the same issues with this book as you. Plus, I really don't like when, like you said, one perspective ends in a cliffhanger and we don't pick up on it again until several chapters later. That was one thing I didn't like about Gone by Michael Grant.

  12. Oh no! You are my go-to dystopian reviewer and you didn't like this! I could probably deal with most of your issues, especially since I like fast-paced books and I'm all about prepping for a potential post-apocalyptic event, but this:

    "And often the promised action at the end of the chapter was completely skipped over by the time that character's story was returned to, making the experience even more frustrating."

    KILLS ME! I could even deal with the cliffhangers and longer waits, but then for nothing?? That would frustrate me too much I think.

  13. Unanswered questions at the end are the worst! That always drives me crazy,

    Thanks for your honest thoughts, Aylee! :)

  14. Thanks for the honest review! I'd wondered if having four POVs would weaken the overall story since it's so many to carry in such a plot-driven novel. But still, the story line sounds strong enough to keep my interest, so I'll probably still check this one out.

    Thanks again!


  15. Lulu: Four is a lot, I know. Still, some authors can manage it and do it well, I find. Not so in this case, imo. I don't have any answers for the questions either, haha! In all seriousness, I don't think an apocalypse is something you can prepare for. I would not last long. Thanks for reading!!

    Juju: It is tough so kudos to her for trying to pull it off, I guess. Thanks for reading!

    Jenny: It seemed like the author was taking the easy way out by skipping over those action scenes (not that there was any shortage of action scenes, really...) so yeah, it was pretty frustrating. There were many moments when I wanted to put this book down... but I just can't dnf anything.

    Alison: I actually quite like post-apoc myself though it definitely freaks me out too. I think Cassandra Clare and Melissa Marr do multiple perspectives well. I think it's tough though!

    Lauren: I love action quite a bit too so I'm surprised I wasn't as in to this one as I thought I'd be. But perhaps I'm becoming more of a character girl after all.

    Giselle: It does sound cool! I love that it's not a natural disaster type of post apoc but a mythical one.

    Missie: Is it trending? I don't like the sound of that. Heh, nope, I wasn't enticed either. Still, thought I would give it a try; it's good to support Canadian authors.

    Zahida: Exactly. That is so crucial in multiple perspective books. It's a lot to ask from the reader to care about all the characters when you can't tell them apart. I don't mind mini cliffhangers, myself, when there is a continuing storyline with the next chapter, that is. Having to wait for 4 chapters was no fun. Thanks for reading!

    Alex: I think I'm becoming more of a character girl myself. It's becoming more and more important to me that I really like the characters for me to enjoy the book. Thanks for reading!

    Chel: Interesting. I will eventually get around to reading The Night Circus. For me, if I like the writing enough, I can forgive a lot of things too, including too many perspectives, so I think there's a good chance I'll like it.

    Jessica: Hmm, I didn't know that about Gone because I've yet to read that series. It's annoying, isn't it? And very tempting just to skip more boring chapters in between, to get right back to reading about that character.

    Small: Oh, well that's flattering, thank you. I was happy that it had at least the fast-pace-ness going for it because it meant almost never a dull moment with respect to plot. And it was fun to daydream about what I would've done in these characters' places. But yes, it was mega frustrating to be looking forward to seeing how a certain character finagled their way out of a mess only to get back to their story and everything is normal and dandy. It seemed like the author was taking the easy way out.

    Lea: Some unanswered questions are okay if there are planned sequels, but I didn't get nearly enough answers to explain the world and how it was, sequel or no sequel. Thanks for reading!

    Lori: I felt it weakened the story. There was so much action and so much to get to, that very little time was focused on character development and I felt this weakened the novel, for sure. You should definitely check it out for yourself though! I know quite a few people liked this one more than me.

  16. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you :(
    I just finished it last night and I really liked the first 3/4 of it. The last bit felt rushed and all over the place though and it wasn't as great as I wanted it to be.

  17. I'm sorry, too. I think it had great potential but it wasn't as great as I wanted it to be either. I also felt like it was rushed at the end, as well.

  18. Ack! I just got this one. It sounds interesting and I like the darker aspect of it. Too bad the world and characters fall short. Ugh...oh well. I'll have to see how I feel when I read it. Great review! Honesty is best.

  19. Don't worry! A lot of people liked this one actually, so there's a good chance that you will too. Honesty is best, but it's also important to keep in mind personal preferences are different.

  20. This has been sitting on my shelf for a while, but I wasn't sure it would be my thing. I'm fairly certain it's not, but we'll see.

  21. Hmm, well it's a short read so that's a good thing. I know there are some aspects that I very much appreciated, like the psychology behind the event.

  22. If you love fast-paced books with excellent characterization, where the secrets of the apocalypse are tantalizingly dangled in front of you, read Dark Inside. I can't believe I waited this long to read it!

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