A week ago, I joined a group of authors who support each other with reviews. I am not a writer but a very happy reader so jumped in feet first and this is the first review for a member of that group. I promise you, my readers when I do review those books here, every word I write is honestly meant and not simply to help folks with sales. The positive spin will be left for the bookselling sites.
That having been said, this first book needed no positive spin. This novel was simply a beautiful read. I hope you enjoy this review as much as I enjoyed reading the book and then if zombies, coming of age stories or dramas about human nature are your thing, head straight over to Amazon and pick it up.
Publication Date: April 2, 2012
In A Darkness Shattered by Bruce Clothier, Michael Nelson is a teenager, home alone when the Zombie Apocalypse begins. When it becomes apparent that his parents won’t be coming back, he sets out from Kansas City to his grandparent’s farm in Illinois. Along the way, he meets Abbie Nelson, a foster child who had been at the heart of the madness when it began and very narrowly escaped becoming one of the undead. This story follows the teenagers as they navigate the post-apocalyptic world with hope and trust in each other and a map they got from a gas station to guide them.
A Darkness Shattered (The Darkmind Saga) is the first book in the Darkmind Saga.
Anyone who visits this blog knows how much I read. It’s been a very long time since I stayed up all night reading. This one sucked me in. Through blurry eyes at 3 a.m. I looked at the clock and realized that I’d read this book straight through. The story enthralls the reader. Clothier is a first-time author but a master storyteller. Every setting I encountered was vividly drawn with descriptions that could easily have dragged but served to set the stage. I’ve never been to Kansas City but could easily picture the world that Clothier describes.
Just a taste of the flow of narration in the book and very likely my favorite sentence in the entire novel. Michael is fleeing the city and finds a truck and is able to get the keys (I won’t tell you how): “He felt the vehicle begin to rise up on one of them and then suddenly dropped as the zombie’s skull collapsed under the weight of the truck, bursting in a bright red spray against the pavement.” (Location 38 — Kindle Edition).
Zombies are my favorite monsters of the horror genre. One of the failings, in my opinion, of the genre, is that usually zombies are painted as this faceless horde — one character. Clothier highlights his zombies by giving us the child zombie in the party dress, covered in blood, the well-dressed zombie and the zombie in a uniform shirt (to name a few). They are an image of who they were and who they’ll never be again. Clothier’s zombies aren’t a character as a whole; they’re everyone you know in your life.
Ultimately, this story isn’t about the zombies, not really. The story is about Michael and Abbie and their struggle to survive. It’s about the way humans react in the face of crisis. How they become who they were really meant to be. It’s about young love blooming in terrible odds. We learn that in a post-apocalyptic society, zombies aren’t the only enemy. People become who they are because there’s simply no one left to stop them. I did have something of a problem with the love story and the feeling that it was maybe a touch too sappy but these are young people who have only each other and that, in itself, makes the extremes of their emotion make sense.
This is a coming-of-age story and done so wonderfully that I am eagerly anticipating the next novel in this series. What happens to Michael and Abbie? This is a great read that I’d recommend for anyone who likes science fiction or dramas about human nature.
If this sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy A Darkness Shattered (The Darkmind Saga) by Bruce Clothier on