Mid-book review: The Darkening Dream (Andy Garvin)

The Darkening DreamEven as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs.

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.

Two words: complicated and intense.

I'm about 235 pages in to the book (of 365 total) and I still have no idea what's going on. It's not that I'm confused; the plot is so complicated that it takes a while to process what I've read. I'm finding myself having to take breaks to make sense of all the details.

Here's what I think so far:

Writing Style: Amazing. The descriptions are award winning. (Are there awards for such a thing? There should be, if not.) You get sucked into the setting-- which is terrifying at times given the content.

Plot: Get ready for a whirl wind experience. The paranormal element is strong with this one. As you could tell in the synopsis, there are vampires (non-glittery kind), demons, witches and warlocks. The combination of these paranormal elements is what makes this story so fascinating and complicated. You wouldn't think that a book with this much going on would be coherent, but it is. In fact, it's so well thought out that it's terrifying. The "bad guys" in this book are down right dastardly. They are the things that nightmares are made of.

Don't read this book thinking it's a light and fluffy YA paranormal suspense novel. This is truly a dark fantasy like nothing I have read before.

Characters: I can't even go there yet. All the characters are so well written-- even the evil, soul stealing ones. I can't figure out everyone's role yet. There is this element of mystery surrounding the characters, but I know it will be huge when everything is finally revealed. I get giddy when I think that I've gone 235 pages into a book without figuring out the whole plot! I love it. Oh, there's a little romance blooming too between two of the main characters. Not sure how it will work out though since it's one of the those "forbidden romances."

Overall: A+ so far. I will definitely be pushing this one when I finish. Read it on Goodreads HERE. (Seriously. It looks like the whole book is available to read for free.)


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