Saturday, June 8, 2013

'Into the Dark' (Parts 1-4) by Milly Silver

Official Summary:
When seventeen-year-old Oxford student Emily Baxter steps forward to become part of the search and rescue team for her kidnapped family member, she sees it as her last chance to put things right. Despite her seizures and being ripped between parallel universes, Emily is determined to get back to living a normal life. But first Emily has to join forces with the mysterious Gifted & Talented set and the darkly beautiful Henry Seadon. And survive. Killing the Misery-Makers who get in their way is a necessary evil.

Into the Dark by Milly Silver is a series that could have been great. It has an interesting premise and some promising character dynamics but due to a few big issues the title ends up being little more than a big disappointment. 

The first criticism is that all four parts of this title really should have been delivered as a single book. In most cases this particular issue wouldn't have made it so far up the chain but here it means that you'd end up paying a grand total of seven dollars to get through all four parts. Before you start thinking that I'm being miserly* with my money, let's put that in a little perspective. Most unknown author titles (and this falls square into that category) go for around one to two dollars on Amazon for the WHOLE experience. For Into the Dark, Milly expects her readers to not only fork out admission at the door, but then she doubles the cover and scalps them every six or seven chapters. It's not right.

The second issue is dialogue that falls flat on its face, lacks personality and really drags down the pacing of this story. If you've ever taken even a high school level creative writing class your professor probably said something along the lines of "show the action, don't speak it." This title would benefit a lot from another edit that really embraces this advice. Getting rid of passages where the character announces that they're leaving and then they leave is nothing short of bad writing. Put another way, the dialogue was so bad in spots I felt challenged to stumble through it.

Last but not least, one of the biggest relationships in this book felt so fake and forced that every time it came up it made me question my ability to get through all four parts. It wasn't the main character Emily and her boyfriend, friends or uncle. It was Emily's relationship and her uncle's comatose fiancee Irene. Just thinking about it makes me roll my eyes. It was awful! It's like the author decided after writing part one, (where Emily makes a mind-bogglingly dreadful decision that lands Irene in the coma to start with) that Irene was going to play a bigger role in the story than was initially planned for and didn't want to go back and rewrite the first half so that the relationship made sense. By the time we get to the later-parts Emily now really adores this woman and visits her every day in the hospital, wishing she hadn't been so outrageously stupid selfish and will literally put her life on the line to get her mom sister uncle's fiancee (?!) back. Yes, showing a protagonist have a change of heart and emotionally grow during the course of a book is something most good titles, and all the great ones, seem to get right effortlessly, but trust me when I tell you this one didn't come close to effortless - there was definite effort there... and it chugged by at the speed and grace of a poorly fed coal engine.

Bottom Line: This title is rough around the edges and doesn't have enough polish rounds put in for it to be fit for public consumption yet. This series would be exponentially better if it were put in the hands of the right continuity and dialogue editor. If it ever gets one and is re-released I'd love to give it another shot because the premise really is intriguing. Until then my best advice is to steer clear or Into the Dark no matter what your 'bad dialogue' tolerance threshold.

*Disclosure: This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  

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