Audiobook Review: Darkness Falling by Peter Crowther

3 11 2011

Darkness Falling by Peter Crowther

Read by Luke Daniels

Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio

Length: 12 Hrs 33 MIns

Genre: Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Despite some uneven pacing, Darkness Falling is a novel with a fascinating Apocalyptic scenario, full of interesting characters and offering a lot of spine tingling creepiness that will leave you yearning for the next installment of the series.

Grade: B

As 2011 comes to a halt and we move ever closer to the year 2012, which the Mayan predicted would bring about the end of calendars, I will be listening and reviewing a lot of books that fall into the category of Post Apocalyptic. Now, I do want to specify that I am not talking about Dystopian fiction. While the two are linked, and I am sure that some of my future reads will fall into that category, the terms Post Apocalyptic and Dystopian are not interchangeable in my opinion.  The significant difference between the two is that Dystopia implies a social system is in place, but that system is corrupted, while in Post Apocalyptic novels, the cataclysmic event renders any sort of large governmental system ineffectual. Now, understand, these are my personal distinctions, and people are free to develop their own. An easy example of my definitions, The Hunger Games: Dystopian. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: Post Apocalyptic. Now, with my upcoming Post Apocalyptic reviews, I plan to present you with some rules if you ever fine yourself in a Post Apocalyptic scenario. Today’s rule is brought to you by Peter Crowther’s Darkness Falling, the first book in his new Forever Twilight series. So, here is Bob’s Post Apocalyptic Rule #1: If you find yourself with a young girl who proclaims, with seeming justification, to have psychic abilities, either totally believe her or totally dismiss her. Do not cherry pick when to believe her, and when you think it’s just childish flights of fancy, because when you make the wrong choice, some weirdo with glasses may just suck your eyes out. With that, let’s move onto my review.

Darkness Falling starts off with a flash, literally. A bright light flashes, and suddenly most of the people in the world simply vanish. This strong premise is filled with so much promise that it allows you to get past a lot of the early boilerplate, slow moving Post Apocalyptic character meet and greet moments. After the initial excitement of the disappearances, the author takes a good amount of time introducing the characters, and setting them on a course, that you know will eventually lead them all to meet up together. During this time, he slowly builds up the mystery of the disappearance, allowing his characters to speculate on the possible causes. Eventually, the characters begin not to just speculate, but to interact with the changed world, allowing the increasingly weird but fascinating premise to again control the pace of the story. While all this fascinated me, as a fan of Post Apocalyptic scenarios, the uneven pacing of the first two thirds of this book may cause some readers to lose interest in the story. Yet, the payoff comes in the last third of the novel. With all the set up, world building, and character building behind us, Crowther’s novel shoots off to a frantic pace, full of non-stop action with an extra dose of creepiness. The final chapters of the novel, while not giving us a lot of answers to the many building questions, offered a lot of spine chilling moments. These final moments may have saved the series for me. The beginning of the book had me appreciating the concept over the execution of the plot, but those final moments quickly moved me to wanting to know more, right now, and being frustrated that I will have to wait to fall of 2012 to have my questions answered. So, despite some uneven pacing, Darkness Falling is a novel with a fascinating Apocalyptic scenario, full of interesting characters and offering a lot of spine tingling creepiness that will leave you yearning for the next installment of the series.

I have been a fan of narrator Luke Daniels for a while, that’s why at first, when I was underwhelmed by his reading, I didn’t worry too much. The material early in the novel really didn’t allow him to show off his chops as a narrator. Yet, as the story progressed Daniels narration really took off. Daniels does well with unconventional characters, and his voicing of the potentially psychic 6 year old Angel was well done. Yet, his voice of her strange dolly still creeps me out when I think about it. Beyond the voices, Daniels seemed to fall victim to the uneven pacing early on but the end of the novel he really knocks out of the ball park. I encourage listeners, especially fans of Apocalyptic tales with a horror tilt to stick with Darkness Falls, any early struggles will be rewarded in the end. Then you can join me in the constant search for updates for when book 2 of the series will be released.


Note: A special thanks to Brilliance Audio for providing me with a copy of this title to review.



One response

3 11 2011

Great review! I’ve been thinking similarly about post apocalyptic and dystopian. I consider any book with a large catastrophe in it to be post apocalyptic, so not as strict as your definition. Sometimes there’s still some residual government left, ie The Passage or The Maze Runner. I thought of The Maze Runner as both post-apocalyptic and dystopian since there’s chaos outside, but the characters are under the direct control of the residual gov.

Now I’m having flashbacks to the 1985 book The Postman by David Brin and the subsequent 1997 movie with Kevin Costner. Good post-apocalyptic times.

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