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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review, The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin

Format: Ebook provided by author for review

Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs.
1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.

With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal?
No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.

When this novel is described as dark, its not kidding. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this author. Knowing his history, I think I expected something a bit less…serious. I’m not sure that “serious” is the world I am looking for, but its close. What I got was something scary and thorough. I’m also pretty sure this book was responsible for some less than savory dreams I had during the nights while reading .

Sarah is a young girl, I think she was aged at about 16 or 17 years old if I am not mistaken. She lives in Salem at a time in the United States when the modern era was just starting to take hold, and yet everyone is still holding on to the past. She is friends with Sam and Anne, twins. And together they all befriend Alex, a boy from Greece. He is different from them, and they don’t even realize how much when they happen upon him one day while going on a picnic. That’s a day that will forever change the course of all of their lives.

This story is mostly told from Sarah’s point of view, although there is quite a bit from Alex’s. I found them both to be intelligent teens, wise beyond their years and likeable as people. The rest of their friends really just paled in comparison. And as for the rest of the characters in this book? There were quite a bit of them, and oh-my-goodness they are a colorful bunch, and quite fascinating. Something good to remember about this book is that not everything is as it appears, because you will definitely be surprised by people here. No one is really what they seem, and the hidden parts are what truly made the story for me, as far as character development is concerned.

Let’s move on to the vampire… This vampire is definitely not at all like the modern vampires we usually read about. Everything about him screams old-styled, horror, and fear. The guy is gruesome, and he doesn’t really hold himself to any moral standards. Some of the things he did throughout this story were a bit gut clenching and some were downright horrific. I didn’t like him at all as a “person”, I felt no affinity to him. He is definitely an evil presence and does not claim to be anything else. As a fictional character he was vibrant and strong, and something to definitely be afraid of.

This story definitely had a lot of religious currents running through it, and many different religions at that. For my own tastes it was a bit much, but I can definitely see how it added to the story. There were a few parts that were a bit slow for me, and a few “false starts” as far as the action was concerned. But the web of all these peoples’ lives is certainly intricate, and I don’t think any of them could have avoided anything that happened to them. There is also several instances of violence, and it was gory. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book to young, or very sensitive readers. But it was written very well and kept my interest throughout. Overall I really enjoyed this story. Historical horror is a bit out of my normal reading, but I did like this. Once the secrets start coming out, you will absolutely be glued to the pages. I hope you give this book a try, if you like old-school paranormal and flat-out horror, you will definitely enjoy this. 

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Andy Gavin is a serial creative, polymath, novelist, entrepreneur, computer programmer, author, foodie, and video game creator. He co-founded video game developer Naughty Dog and co-created Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He started numerous companies, has been lead programmer on video games that have sold more than forty million copies, and has written two novels.

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