Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Darkening Dream--Review and Interview with author Andy Gavin

Review of The Darkening Dream:

I wanted to read this book because I liked the premise and I liked the cover. Here is the blurb about the book:

The Darkening Dream is the chilling new dark fantasy novel by Andy Gavin, creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

 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, a 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.

See what I mean? This book has a little of everything.

Yes, it is a vampire book, and yes, it is a young adult novel. However, before you start moaning and groaning and thinking words like Twilight or Vampire Diaries, take a chill pill. There is no comparison because this book is really different from those titles. It's a grim, and, at times,  a very violent dark fantasy. Since it takes place in 1913, these teens are dealing with different worries regarding peer relationships than teens of today.

I think this is a refreshing change in a young adult novel.

It's also a change that can be hard to relate to for true young adults, though not necessarily young adult readers. (YA has that lovely ability to be appealing to all age groups) These characters don't have much in common with today's youth which can be a good or bad thing depending on your take of the book.

The character of Sarah is very well developed, and for me, the driving force of the novel. She is strong, able to stand up for herself, and has a great relationship with her father. Even when she is away from her parents, she keeps her family values at the forefront of her mind. Of course, in a story about good vs evil, this is an enticing character trait for the bad guys to want to corrupt.

I also liked the character of Alex. It took me awhile to warm up to him though. He was a little stiff at first, but eventually the reader has a chance to really get to know him and understand all the things that he has seen and gone through.

The supporting characters are all well written and engaging.

For me, the change in POVs was a little distracting and slowed down the action. Every chapter is practically told from someone elses view point and I found that frustrating at times. However, keep in mind that constant POV switching is a writing technique that is a personal pet peeve of mind. It doesn't bother others like it does me, so don't let that stop you from reading this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this tale very much and plan to read Andy Gavin's other novel, Untimed! Lucky for me, I get to do a second interview with Mr. Gavin regarding that second book on Friday! Be sure to drop by!

Amazon Link for The Darkening Dream

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 including The Darkening Dream, a dark historical fantasy that puts the bite back in vampires.


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