Jul 28, 2011

Review: In Blackness

Source: Goodreads
by U.L. Harper

  • E-book: 161 pages
  • Language: English
  • Published: June 2011
  • Source: review copy provided by the author
  • My rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads Summary: Lenny and Saline's parents brought them to Southern California to escape the nightmares. But after their parents die in a horrible car accident, their adoption by longtime family friend Busek proves nightmarish in its own right. Busek is abusive to his son, Dustin, and does very little to hold the young family together. The trio of kids become friends and grow up together, though as teens the emotional aftermath of Saline and Lenny's parents' death lingers and eventually catapults Lenny and Saline on individual journeys back to their old town in Washington. But is it childhood memories that draw them there or something that nightmares are made of? Meanwhile, Dustin stays back in Southern California and meets a group of youth who stumble upon the cities' plan to replace the library with a jail. In the process of this discovery they learn of one of the biggest secrets society has ever kept, a secret waiting for them underground, in blackness.

I absolutely loved The Flesh Statue so I set out with high hopes for In Blackness.I wasn't disappointed-on the contrary, I'd rather say I was...shocked. That's the word.

What I love most about Harper's novels is his writing. It has a sharp edge to it, a bitter aftertaste and a dark foreboding in every word. I loved the almost claustrophobic atmosphere; something dark and dangerous is in the air, literally for years. For 70 or so pages, that is, and that is one thing I didn't really like. There's not much going on in the first half of the book. While it did do a lot for the character build-up and projected the author's ability to write great literary fiction, many times I put it down wondering what this is really all about. There is a lot of reminiscing about what happened that prompted them to move away from Lowery, but for deep into the novel, I didn't find out much, and it was slightly frustrating. I felt that some things were a bit overstretched and too long, not adding much to the main plotline. 

But once the action kicked in...holy shit (pardon my French). It was intense, scary, it was mortifying. I caught myself skipping sentences to find out what happens next. A book hasn't scared me like that in ages. There's slaughtering and palpable terror and helplessness. It gave me nightmares for several nights in a row. I kept turning around, half-expecting to see one of those creatures coming to get me.

There seem to be certain recurring motifs in both The Flesh Statue and in Blackness. The social issue, the frustration towards the authorities, the rebellion and resistance after tearing down an old library and building a jail/slaughterhouse instead, and also the doubtful fatherly figure, Busek. 

 Without giving away too much, the main question is how many human lives are you willing to sacrifice to save your own life. Apparently, the majority of the society and those in charge don't really care. Saline, who is searching for God, gets the answer to the question she asks--there is a God--but it's a God of sold souls, a God that works through bloodthirsty mind-controlling monsters. Apparently, the only God a society like this is able to be subjected to. 
 In Blackness is a very intelligent book aimed to show the downfall of the human society not just because of extraterrestrial extermination. It already reflects Harper's talent, but I believe that a little editorial work would bring forward the huge potential of this great story.

Many thanks to the author for a free ebook. Also, there is a giveaway for this novel going on at Goodreads, I highly recommend you enter!
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