Wednesday, 1 December 2010

OK, so I suck at this whole blogging thing. Facebook and Twitter I get. My website I get. But writing blogs? Nope. Just ain't happening! And, to be honest, I'm not sure many/any teens are in to them.

Anyhoo, what it does allow me to do is post up reviews! And this one is a cracker! Seriously top stuff, thanks to Pete Woods at! I'm astonished by it, thrilled by it... Read on for a fantastic Hurrah on The Dark!


"It’s a case of attention being drawn to the cover art as it jumps off the shelf and takes a bite at you and who could refuse the allure of such nasty, slimy, multi-fanged dread? You cannot tell the book by the cover is that age old adage but here you can as David Gatward very much delivers both goods and gore with ‘The Dark,’ the second part of his ‘Dead’ trilogy, designed for young adults, but being equally enjoyed by this older one.

When I was an evolving horror enthusiast we were not quite so lucky with young adult fiction but I too read a book called ‘The Dark’ written by James Herbert. Perhaps it explains why I turned out the way I did and it would have been less nerve shredding if I could have started off with something designed a bit more for my age range. The school library would have no doubt agreed, as cottoning on, they shortly after withdrew and allegedly burned Mr Herbert’s early endeavours. 

Gatward does a great job here of not belittling his audience and not dumbing down the horror, sure there are no sex scenes and foul language but the horror and the claret are delivered in spades. We rejoin hero Lazarus guardian of The Dead and his eager and long suffering sidekick Craig through the veil of the dead, a place they had the misfortune to end up in at the climax of the first part.

The incredibly atmospheric narrative describes a domain that is very reminiscent of Silent Hill as we uncover its intricacies. The Dead themselves are utterly sinister and again Red, the demonical figure who brought the fear previously is some sort of overseer of the domain and has a very Lovecraftian pet with him (think lots of tentacles). Envisaging the action as how this section would be filmed and with some of the utter destruction going on, I am reminded a bit of some of the early Manga films. It has that sort of fantastical feel to it here and one wonders how such scenes, which are intrinsically designed for teenagers, would even make it onto anything film wise lower than an 18 certificate if that?

Without giving too much away the second part of the book takes place on our more mortal side of things with the boys teaming up with Clair who will hopefully not become possessed this time around and attack them, as well as boozy angel Arielle. Here their task is to find Abaddon (a name in itself to send shivers of dread down the spine) and stop hell itself from opening. Lazarus also has to find out what exactly his parents part is in all the proceedings and could well be torn between conflicting emotions as the world as we know it sits upon the very precipice of doom. This all flows at a cracking rate naturally and the book is one hell (sorry) of a page turner. I actually had to pace myself reading it, wanting it to last as many nights as possible as it is perfect just before sleep reading (well it is for those of us liking nightmares at any rate).

The second part of a trilogy is often looked at as the tricky one but things do not feel cumbersome here and set events up nicely for the conclusion. The only real complaint is that I have to wait until next year to get my claws into it, or should that be until it gets its claws into me?"