Review of The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin

So I’m going to be honest. I wanted to read this book because of the author. Andy Gavin created Naughty Dog, which is an AWESOME video game developer. At fifteen. So clearly this guy has some creative talent. I was intrigued to see if this carried over to the written word from the land of 1’s and 0’s. It did, very nicely I might add. So here we go about The Darkening Dream:

The Setup

(From Goodreads) 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, an attractive 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.

Why You’ll Like it:

You liked Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I did, and I liked this book too. The dare I say, improvement on the original vampire novel was more action, more twists and turns. I’m sure some of this has to do the time period. Some of the stuff you’ll read in Darkening isn’t up to Victorian standards of etiquette, which I consider a good thing. Also, it’s nice to read a book with the same kind of feel through a third person POV. Dracula’s letters wore on me after a while.

You don’t like your vampires sparkly. Or nice. Or the tortured romantic interest. If you’re looking for another Edward, Angel, or even Eric, he’s not here. What you will find is monsters. Good, old-fashioned, eat you and leave your corpse for the local children to find monsters. This is a horror novel, with vampires. You could get your boyfriend to read it without rolling his eyes.

You’re into Steampunk. Even if the genre is new to you, this book makes it easy. There are some trademark characteristics of Steampunk  here without getting so left field you’re lost. There’s turn of the century ideals and setting, along with some really well crafted paranormal elements.

You’re into Horror novels. This goes back to the “no sparkly vampires” point I made earlier. It also extends past that. The aren’t just vampires. There are demons, warlocks, giant critters, and bug people akin to that thing Keanu Reeves killed on the street in Constantine. As much as I liked this book, it was not something I read right before bed.

You’re tired of competitive romance. I didn’t used to see this very often, but I’m starting to with the Indie authors I’ve been reading lately. I like a good love triangle as much as the next girl. Hell, I even used one in my book, and didn’t do what Andy Gavin and a few others did. In Darkening the two characters going after the same love interest don’t hate each other. They may not always agree, and there’s always going to be a little competition, but I cannot tell you how refreshing it is not to read about a pissing contest or a cat fight. It makes you really like all the characters, not just the winner or the loser of love. Now I have to fix mine.

You are leery of religion in fiction. This might sound like a reason you wouldn’t like it, but it’s not. Probably my absolute favorite thing about this book is the equality given to the “big three” religions. There are bad guys from the different faiths, but what’s made clear is that the individual is not a good person. It has nothing to do with who they worship. If anything, it’s tells you who the bad guys are going to have to face in the end.

Why You May Not Like It:

This is not YA. Yes, the main characters are all in their teens. But that’s about all the similarity you’re going to find. They have all the usual teenage feelings and lust, (and some not so usual,) but Gavin goes into a level of detail that a reader expecting angst and romance is not going to find. This is a dark book for adults. You must be an adult to read this and appreciate it, i.e. not snicker at the sexual aspects. That being said, I also want to mention this is not Laurell K. Hamilton over sexed either. I think it’s just enough.

You don’t do gore. If you can’t watch an action movie for the blood, or don’t like being scared by horror films, this isn’t your book. You want “horror-lite” stick to the YA section with Stephanie Meyer and P.C. Cast. (I’ve enjoyed both of those authors, so there’s no shame in it. Just trying to warn you.)

So there you have it, my thoughts on The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin. Click here to go to Andy’s Goodreads page. Click here to go to the official Darkening Dream webpage for giveaways, purchasing info, and all sorts of fun and scary stuff.

Until next time, happy reading, happy writing.

One response to “Review of The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin

  1. I’m about 75% through this right now, and your review is dead on. It’s a great read, but at first I thought it was YA so I was taken a bit aback when I realized it wasn’t. But once I put that out of my head I really am enjoying it.

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