Oh my word, Measha Stone does Dark incredibly well.
Dolly throws you into the dark end deep end right from the start. It’s fairly harrowing at times, particularly because we experience the suffering, rather than just impassively observing. What I really enjoyed was how the story moved forward and how we got to really know Dolly and Ken.
It’s really difficult to discuss the book without revealing spoilers, so I’m just going to say that the plot totally and utterly held my attention throughout. I’ve read vaguely similar plotlines previously, but this was not a weak or carbon copy of them. Instead it far surpassed those previous reads, due in no small part to the quality of writing and the amazing characterisation of its protagonists.
The symbiotic relationship between Dolly and Ken, the self-reflection, self-understanding demonstrated by the both of them, the incredibly believable love and connection they shared just took this book to another level. With all the difficulties and stress of the current world situation, a dark book felt like the last thing I wanted to read. However the darkness here was filled with such strength, it transformed to such power that, instead of dragging me down, instead it lifted me up in a way I hadn’t expected.
I massively recommend Dolly and am hoping Ms Stone dips her toes into dark waters again.
He’s promised me sunlight. Hope for a better future. Freedom from this horror. A life that doesn’t end in a dark cellar.
But, we’re trapped together. Forced to live for the worst kind of people. Desperate to survive for each other.
I crave his touch with every breath I take. My heart aches for him. He’s my hope for survival. The man I want a future with. I can have it all again, if only I trust him. Even if that’s the only thing I can’t do.
Ratings 5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again. 4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others. 3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre. 2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters. 1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.
This is one of those books that leaves you wondering what exactly it was you just read, whether you should really be reading it and if there is something wrong with you because you enjoyed it.
I read all the warnings, fully heading the author repeatedly saying this was dark and hopeless. And boy did this take me to the darkest, most depraved depths of hell. I knew going in that this wouldn’t totally be my kind of read, but I also adore Ms Bene so much that, despite that fact, I had to read this. It very much makes it difficult for me to rate the book though. I’ve settled on four stars quite simply because I felt the story flowed, the characters were well crafted and had personality, there was some good world building and background detail and the writing is of a high standard.
Burned is a no-holds-barred and no happiness whatsoever type of read, just in case you didn’t know. There is NO romance, NO happiness and NO satisfactory bad guy getting their just deserts. And until you’ve read one of these types of books you can’t be sure whether or not you will like it. What I will say is that I didenjoy this much more than the original Inferno books. It just felt like it had a little more direction and reason. I also like that the ending, whilst totally a Debby Downer of a conclusion, felt like a hopeless hope. Believe me that will make more sense if and when you’ve read the book!
Bryden is a loathsome man and whilst his actions are not reasonable or acceptable, I could almost understand the ‘why’ of it. Marian was much more of a monster to me, she knew the truth, she knew right from wrong, she knew better. To allow, condone and participate in those acts made her much more of a monster in my eyes. It takes a talented author to craft truly believable, hateful and despicable characters.
My only criticism, which was also true of the original Inferno book, is that there is no explanation of how the family is funded. Bryden goes grocery shopping and I didn’t get the impression that they were self sufficient. Whilst that information wasn’t vital to the story, it was something that I made me ponder and pulled me from the story at one point.
The connection between Ella and Wesley, despite the way Bryden tried to pervert it, gave my poor little soul something good to cling to. It was what allowed me to connect to the story and ‘enjoy’ it, though I’m not sure how appropriate a description enjoy is. They gave each other strength, comfort and ultimately a choice. It was a tiny sliver of grey amidst the pitch black.
I didn’t want to be this man. I never wanted to be like my father.
I just wanted to be loved by him. Accepted. That’s how this happened, that’s how I became this person. Too many years of listening, too many years craving his approval. His words burned into my mind.
And now I crave things the world says I shouldn’t.
I open doors that should remain closed. I cross lines meant to be straight and narrow. But they’ll understand, they’ll see just like I did.
This is the right way of things. The way it’s meant to be.
And whether I have his name or not, at least I’ve finally become the perfect son.