09 November 2011

The Dark Trilogy by Patrick D'Orazio - the full review

The Dark Trilogy by Patrick D'Orazio

Published: 2 May 2011

Genre/s: Zombie, Post-Apocalyptic


The end came with a whimper, not a bang. The mysterious virus came out of nowhere and engulfed the world in a matter of days. Everyone who was infected seemed to die...and rise again. Governments collapsed, armies disappeared, and entire civilizations turned to dust as the human race tore itself to pieces. Jeff Blaine had a good life: a beautiful wife, adorable children, and a nice house in the suburbs. He liked his job, loved his family, and spent his lazy summer Sundays out on the deck, barbecuing with the neighbors. Things were perfect until everything fell apart. And no matter how hard Jeff tried, he could not spare his family from the horrors scratching at the door. Now, with his family gone, his life in ruins, the only thing left is raw anger and pain. As the world continues to sink into darkness, Jeff does as well. So he ventures out into the desolation with no better plan than to destroy as many of the monsters that stole his life away before they destroy him as well. But soon Jeff will discover other survivors unwilling to give up. They will force him to decide whether or not to give in to the venom that gnaws at his soul. Should he continue to fight to survive, or succumb to the things in the darkness?

My Thoughts

Trilogies…love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are an ever growing part of reading. Myself, I’m ambivalent – but one thing I always want to know up front is if a book is part of a trilogy or series. Cliffhangers are not my friends.

I’d been watching Patrick D’Orazio’s books for over a year when I noticed the Dark Trilogy had been released. As an additional bonus, Dark Stories, from D’Orazio’s blog are also included.

The first book, Comes the Dark, starts with a bang (no long lead up to the zombapocalypse here folks) as main character Jeff discovers his wife and children have become the latest victims of the living dead. Driven to the edge, he embarks on a suicidal mission of revenge through his neighbourhood, only to find another survivor, Megan. As they find themselves trapped, they are rescued by Jason and George at an abandoned rescue station that has been overrun by the zombie hordes. While attempting to make a supply run on their way to find their safe haven, they are taken hostage by another band of survivors.

Into the Dark focuses on the conflicts between the two groups, of which the leader, Michael, and Jeff have very different ideas and opinions on how to live and survive in a world populated by the undead.

Beyond the Dark starts with the fall of the stronghold of the gang that captured Jeff, Megan, George and Jason and continues with their attempt to flee the hordes through a nearby town, culminating in the ultimate battle for survival against both the Zombies and each other.

The ending of this series is great – I promise No Spoilers, but a trilogy like this is hard to end – either you aren’t satisfied that everything is wrapped up, or it’s wrapped up too nicely, like a Christmas present from your grandmother that you know was wrapped in-store. Beyond the Dark strikes a happy medium with both.

The ‘bonus’ book, Dark Stories are from Patrick D’Orazio’s blog and these are the back stories of the characters, how they survived the initial outbreak, came to be together and some very interesting insights into how their characters developed into those in the book. Dark Stories starts with a disclaimer from the author that these stories may change your feelings on some characters - personally I found that it gave me an extra insight into the characters that I would have missed otherwise.

All three of the books and the fourth book of extras are full of action, suspense, survival and some pretty intense gore – but it’s not pointless, the writing style is very descriptive and you can imagine how some of these monsters really would look like.

The characters are very well fleshed-out and are by no means Mr./Ms. Action Hero – they are all teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown, are not physical wonders and say and do some very questionable things. The ‘’baddies’’ are bad, sure, but they aren’t the quickly-descend-into-savage-brutality types that are rife in the Zombie genre – to an extent their actions are understandable and plausible.

If I had to pick my order of preference for the books, it would be:

1) Beyond the Dark – 5 stars – action-packed, pee-your-pants scary, some of the best descriptive writing I’ve encountered.
2) Comes the Dark – 4 stars – Hooks you in, sets the scene.
3) Dark Stories – 4 stars – How characters experienced the first days, and banded together.
4) Into the Dark – 4 stars – Extra character development, builds towards the climax.

Are these books perfect? No – there’s no such thing (unless you are a Twilight fanatic *runs and hides*) – every book has some fault, and one very small thing that I didn’t like about these books was a couple of the descriptions, such as: ‘the desperate renegade’ and ‘the gimpy man’ - I personally don’t like these kind of descriptions, particularly when the passage is focused on only one character – it makes me think someone else has suddenly appeared and I’ve missed something.

In summary, these books are one of my favourite zombie trilogies/series in 2011, and it’s going to take a damn good try to better them. If you like your zombies real and in-your-face, this trilogy is definitely for you.

One last thing – I loved this description: Billy Bubba had the obligatory mullet, molester mustache, and sleeveless t-shirt allowing a clear view of a series of tasteless and poorly drawn tattoos running up and down his arms.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the thorough review. I'm glad you had the chance to review all three books at once...and sorry for the cliffhangers! ;)



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