Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Released: September 2nd 2011
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
Dark Inside was a book that sucked me in from the very first chapter. The world of Dark Inside truly was “a world gone mad” – the tagline perfectly describes it! The book starts off by showing a normal day spiral into one of complete destruction. After a series of devastating earthquakes, people start to turn – they are taken over by a darkness inside of them, and begin slaughtering friends and family they have known and liked their entire lives. Dark Inside follows four people who are seemingly unaffected by whatever is turning everyone else into murdering machines, and are on the run, trying to stay hidden from those who are out to kill them. While the four teens each struggle to stay alive, they begin find others like them and try to work out what has caused the world to descend into madness. With no way of knowing who to trust and with their lives on the line every day, Mason, Aries, Michael and Clementine must find a way to survive in the dangerous and disturbing new world they are faced with - because giving up means giving in to the darkness.
I loved Dark Inside. A lot. I actually had no idea what it was about when I first got it, and for some reason was convinced it wouldn’t be for me. But I was very, very wrong, because this book was awesome. It was told in alternating chapters, from four points of view. Now I know what you’re thinking – four points of view? That’s got to be confusing! I thought it would be at first too, but actually, it was pretty easy to get the hang of. I really enjoyed the fact that we got to see from four different perspectives because we got to see how each individual was affected differently by the terrible events that were happening, and I liked all of the main characters a lot, so I really loved this aspect of the novel! In fact, I say there are four points of view, but we did also get sporadic chapters from the POV of “Nothing” – an unknown person or thing that sometimes expressed their thoughts. I was really intrigued by these chapters because they added to the whole mystery of the novel. I also really liked how we slowly got to piece together clues to work out who or what exactly Nothing was. At first, I had no idea where Nothing’s thoughts came from, but as the book progressed, I managed to work it out, and wow. Let me tell you know that Dark Inside is one heck of a twisty, dark, intriguing book. Can’t wait to find out more!
Out of our four main characters (Mason, Ariel, Michael and Clemetine), I think I probably liked Ariel best. She was one of the strongest characters, and I liked how determined she was, and how she would always try to repay someone who had helped or would try to save a friend she cared for. She also coped well with the horrific things that were happening – she witnessed the deaths of so many people right at the beginning of the book, but yet somehow managed to go on and help others in the process. Ariel was very brave, and I respected her and the way she managed with the situation she was in. She was also quite funny, and it was good to see a bit of humour even in such dark and desperate times. I also liked her scenes with Daniel, the boy that saved her at the start, and I really hope to see more of those two together in the sequel! Daniel was a very, very interesting character, one that I liked from the beginning when he was just known as “the dark haired stranger”. I’m definitely interested in seeing what he’ll be up to next.
Another character that intrigued me was Mason. He was slightly different to the others in that he lost someone dear to him before the catastrophic events started happening. He had to deal with so many things at once, and I think that’s why he was a little more closed off and contemplative that everyone else. I really felt for him because he went through so much and felt so guilty about everything that had happened. He was a lot more aware of the darkness than the others I think, and I’m really curious as to how this will affect him in the future. A certain someone, also aware of the darkness and a person I probably should not like as much as I do (I realise this is making no sense, but if you read the book, you will understand. And you should definitely read the book) even noticed Mason was different, and I really can’t wait to see where this takes him in the sequel.
Michael and Clementine were likeable characters too – Clementine was trying to find her brother, and absolutely refused to give up on him, while Michael was someone that was being pushed to his limits, and did whatever it took to survive, even if it meant doing some things he wasn’t proud of. These two were actually the first of the four to meet up with each other and I thought it was really clever how everyone ended up forming a group – it was great the way the author managed to make everybody come together and I liked how they all became connected in the end. Michael and Clementine ended up being quite close, which was great to read about. There were others in the end group too, besides the main four, and I really liked the people Aries was travelling with previously – especially Joy, who was quite lively, and Jack, who was funny and kind.
There was a lot of action going on in Dark Inside – no-one was every really safe at any time, and they were all always on guard, looking out for attackers, or “Baggers” as they were referred to. It was fast-paced and constantly exciting – I wasn’t bored for a single second! My only complaint is that while I do understand this is the first part of a series, I felt like perhaps a few more things could have been explained. We didn’t really find out much about the earthquakes or what caused them or the darkness, so be warned that you’ll have to wait for the sequel to get some real answers to what’s going on.
Overall, Dark Inside was a brilliant, thrilling, scary, amazing book (as you can tell by this extremely long, gushing review) and I would definitely recommend it to dystopian fans. I can’t wait for book two in the series – it’s already high up on my wishlist!