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January 20, 2018

Review: The New Dark by Lorraine Thompson

by MK French

Sorrel lived in a village that was attacked by mutants, people so horribly disfigured that most of the time babies born with that appearance that they are considered "not viable" and not allowed to live. In trying to find her younger brother and the boy she loved, she fell ill and was rescued by people of the Free. Not willing to stay in a society that sees nothing wrong with forcing her to marry against her will, Sorrel escapes and goes to the city. Danger still lurks there, especially when those of the Free are looking for her and a group of people feels that her birthmark can be used as a call to arms.
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The New Dark
November 2017; Bastei Entertainment
ebook (221 books); dystopian, YA
Sorrel is a bratty teenager in a dystopia when the novel begins, but then it goes all downhill from there when her entire way of life is destroyed. The book, intentional or not, seems to portray the village life as the idyll and the formal societies as dysfunctional. The Free are managed through strict gender roles and see nothing wrong with torturing mutants for sport or terrorizing others because they see themselves as superior. In the city, there's a strict divide between the corrupt wealthy and the hardscrabble poor that would do just about anything for coins. Neither society is particularly welcome to read about, with their different levels of creepy discomfort.

The reason why there are so many mutants isn't explained, or why the Before time (recognizably our modern world) had ended. It was within three generations, at least, since Sorrel can recall stories her grandmother told her about cars or planes and times when metal items were plentiful. I would guess it was radiation of some kind, since that would increase mutation rates and likely cause "wood prawn" to be large enough to make a meal when foraging. It would also explain why clothing in some of the stores would have remained intact when items like books had decayed so rapidly, leaving most people illiterate.

There are a lot of dystopian novels starring teenage girls that are special in some way and figure in revolutions, but this one really doesn't feel terribly inspired. This book is the first in a trilogy, but I don't feel invested enough in Sorrel's or David's stories to want to read the next two.

Buy The New Dark at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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