Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Darkness Falls by Emerald O'Brien

Darkness Falls by Emerald O"Brien

Link to buy Darkness Follows

Story Rating: 2 out of 5


What if the hiding spot you escape to becomes more dangerous than the place you ran from?

Aurina Patrick is an ambitious young woman, whose only mistake was letting someone get too close. The day she is brought into the police department for questioning, her life changes forever. When Aurina discovers that someone she trusts has involved her in a series of murder investigations, her sister Ryanne joins her in a search for the truth. As the situation unravels, the Patrick sisters realize their lives could be in jeopardy.

When the sisters are taken to a remote location, the struggle for safety truly begins.


This book makes me feel bad for not liking it. I really, really wanted to like it but was unable to. Part of this was due to the absolutely horrible editing job – until I finished the book I honestly thought I was reading an uncorrected proof but in the Acknowledgements section the author references her editor, Justin Wood. A lot of these mistakes are blatant ones that a simple spell check could have caught. Other times it's a little more difficult to spot (not capitalizing names, forgetting apostrophes, or misusing punctuation).

The author crammed 54 chapters into 319 pages of text – 5.9 pages per chapter – which resulted in me seeing the chapter number and thinking I had gotten a lot further into the book than I actually had and then getting frustrated when I saw the page number I was on. I know that this is a stylistic preference and won't be an issue for some readers. Some notable writers use this style and it works well for them (for example Lullaby by Chuck Palahnuk averages the same number of pages per chapter), however there are only approximately 200 words per page in this book meaning there really was not a whole lot of substance to each of the chapters. Because of this, the story itself ended up moving rather fast but not in a way that made me want to keep reading to find out what was about to happen. It felt more like the author wrote an outline for her novel and then made each point into one to three sentences without adding any additional information.

The plot itself was interesting and only had a few parts that genuinely bothered me. First,  how openly everyone discussed the Witness Protection Program and how obvious it seemed that there was something going on with the sisters (they claimed they were on vacation visiting their cousin yet had 24/7 police escort and surveillance parked in front of their house). The second thing was how incompetent O'Brien made the police. A handful of times the police would give the sisters an order, the sisters would inform them that they were not going to listen, and the cops would do nothing to try and enforce their rule. The final issue I had with the plot had to do with O'Brien's description of Inspector Daniels – a man who we are not allowed to forget for a second is fat. He waddles, the chairs groan when he sits in them, his face is round, his belly rotund. He needs help standing, gets winded easily, his clothes are stained with food. I couldn't tell you what color hair he has, what his race or age is, or even his first name, but I can tell you that he is overweight and it seems as though the reader is supposed to dislike him for that. Given that Daniels is such a minor character and O'Brien doesn't spend any time describing anything else about him, it irks me immensely that she spent so much time describing his weight in the most stereotypical and negative manner, especially since the plot does not gain anything from knowing his weight, let alone the constant reminder of it every time his character is re-introduced.

One thing I did enjoy a lot was the way O'Brien created the dialogue between the two sisters – as someone with a similar age gap between my siblings and I, the dynamic created there felt real to me. The way they talked to and interacted with each other was very believable.

This book had a lot of potential. The plot itself was interesting and I really enjoyed the Canadian content. With proper editing and more meat to the plot, I would have thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Darkness Follows ended with a twist, leaving interested readers wanting to get the next installment. Me? I'm curious to see if in the next book O'Brien has improved upon the things I disliked in the first, but I am certainly not holding my breath.

Reviewed by Taylor

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