Review: The Darkening Dream (Andy Gavin) + Giveaway

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.

The great care that was taken to develop the setting in this book was amazing. It completely sucks you in. The story takes place in Salem in the early 1900s, which makes it the perfect setting for a super creepy story. And boy, did this story get creepy.

The characters were extremely well developed. It's hard to say what I liked about them the most. The "good guys" were more than just vampire fighting teens. They had, well, character. I won't say much about them though. I'd rather talk about the centuries old vampire out to help destroy the world. He was interesting. The way he was described and the detail given to his inner thoughts, made him terrifying. I am such a wimp when it comes to scary things, so I was really taken by surprised. Of course, I also couldn't stop reading because I was so intrigued by the complicated plot.

Since I mentioned vampires, it should be obvious that the paranormal element is strong with this one. There are also 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. Every detail fits together like a well planned puzzle.

In fact, "puzzle" is a great way to think about the plot. There was just so much happening in this book! I was rather impressed that I made it to the final chapters before I figured out what was going on. That's very impressive. I do think it's worth mentioning though, that I have mixed feelings about the shocking ending. IF this is the beginning of a series, then the ending is awesome. I mean, blow-your-mind-how-did-I-not-see-that-coming kind of awesome. And also assuming that this might be the beginning of a series, I am super curious to see what will happen next. (Read that last chapter and you'll know what I'm talking about.) That was one heck of a cliffhanger ending! Now, if this is a stand alone book, then I'm mad as hell with the ending. So many unanswered questions! I didn't have a sense of completeness when I finished the book. I felt like there must be more to come. (Which makes me think this is the beginning of a series.)

Don't read this book thinking it's a light and fluffy YA paranormal book. This is a dark fantasy... dark, dark fantasy. If you're a wimp like me, you should read it during the daylight hours for the villains in this book are what nightmares are made of. If you like a more mature book with a strong good vs evil element that leaves you questioning what you've read, you'll love The Darkening Dream.


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roro said... .

tnx4 the awesome review
i love dark dark tales

May 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM
agavin said... .

Thanks for the great review! I'm glad you liked the book and really appreciate it.

And I am planning a sequel, I have an outline for it. In a lot of ways this book is the setup for the larger action to occur later.

May 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM
The Flashlight Reader said... .

I figured there would be another book! The ending was just too surprising to not set the stage for more to come.
May 20, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Christa @ Hooked on Books said... .

I'm glad to hear you liked this book! It's in my to review pile and I really wasn't sure what to expect from it. Youve definitely got me excited to read it now.

May 25, 2012 at 8:49 AM

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