The Darkening by Chris Sarantopoulos is an eerie post-apocalyptic tale centering around a man with fading memories and a girl that seems to draw danger toward her. In this world, there are many dangers, but it’s not just the people in darkness that the survivors fear, it’s the light itself.
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on The Darkening by Chris Sarantopoulos
The very first sentence of this book really sets readers up with a dark tone that carries throughout the story:
“In the end, everyone died no matter what they did, be it an injury, starvation, Raiders, or the light.“
PHEW! How intense is that?!
Immediately after that opening, we’re thrown right into the action as our main character, John, is in the dark, listening to a dog bark while thinking about his family and how tonight he may finally see them again… It’s clear that something is very, very wrong here.
We soon learn that the light is to be feared. But it’s not just the light itself… it’s that shadows come to life. Shadows with pointy teeth and sharp claws.
As the story continues, we watch John struggle to survive in the darkness while he also battles his inner demons. During this time, we really get to know John as we hear both what he says out loud as well as the voices that he has in his head.
One day, a girl appears and asks for his help. There’s something very unusual about this girl and John isn’t sure what to think at first. But soon enough, they are running for their lives, attempting to find safety. But with each turn, there’s something else waiting just around the bend.
This story had me on the edge of my seat. My goodness! It took so many turns and I loved that I couldn’t anticipate what would happen next. Various scenes had me holding my breath while reading, anxious to see what would unfold. The scene in the back of a truck specifically spiked my anxiety…
The two main characters, John and the girl, were both so interesting to me. I loved learning more about each of them as the story went on. Seeing how their relationship changed over the course of what they go through was also fun to watch.
This story is beautifully written. I love the way this author moves from brutal and dark descriptions on one page to beautiful and uplifting descriptions on the next, just to jump back into the darkness! There are so many passages that I found myself highlighting to come back to again later. I added many of those in the My Favorite Passages section below, but some I left out or cut as they had spoilers in them.
And what a terrifying world this would be to live in! I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do if I could no longer move about in the light. I don’t think I would last very long…
My Favorite Passages from The Darkening
In the end, everyone died no matter what they did, be it an injury, starvation, Raiders, or the light.
Everything the wind touched came to life. The metal swing to his right squeaked rhythmically. Trees and bushes around his shelter rustled. The house gave voice to the wind as it entered through its numerous cracks.
Dawn crept in on the world, and like a dangerous predator, it drove the stars in hiding. Humans, too. Death was waking up.
A gaping hole opened on the featureless shadow’s face. Rows of teeth gleamed as another flash of light filled the air.
He rolled his head sideways, half the world hidden behind an eye that insisted on staying shut and demanded more from him than he could provide.
He rolled his eyes to where the voice came from, and for half a breath, he stared in awe. A glowing visage, an angel, gazed down on him. Energy strands surrounded the body and created a halo around it. The hair swayed as in a breeze, like sea anemones caught in a current. The creature shone with an inner light, and its eyes, like green stars, glimmered and sparkled.
He turned the object over in his hands. A shoe; a child’s shoe. Not empty. Not attached to anything either. A scream boiled up inside him.
He raised an arm; the skin on his chest and sides clung to the bones, outlined the ribs one by one as if something had sucked the life from the inside, and left him an empty shell. If not for the skin, the bones would clatter to the ground.
Faces materialized around the mouths, so hard and cruel only hate could have carved them.
My Final Thoughts on The Darkening
I loved the eerie tone of this book. I never knew what to expect with this plot, but I always had a deep sense of dread that made me nervous for what was going to happen next! This one is quite the page turner!
If you enjoy post-apocalyptic tales with a lot of heart but also a large dose of darkness, you gotta check this one out!
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Thanks for reading!