James is a 13 year old boy who is struggling to deal with the death of his mother and his new life with his stepfather (similar to the underlying story in The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss). His only escape is an abandoned house that he visits frequently when he needs to be by himself. However, his whole world is flipped upside down when one day he discovers a man staying in the single place that he can call his own. The man, Webster, is apparently on the run from something and someone…something dark and evil.
Webster confides in James that he has been cursed and that he will soon ‘change’, unless a cure is found! Both James and Webster have difficulties with normal life and find a certain amount of comfort and understanding within each other that they soon bond. James opens up about his home life and Webster trusts James enough to tell him about his often harrowing past serving in Iraq.
I found both of the main characters to be genuine and easy to empathise with, even though there aren’t too many things that I share in common with either. The various trials and tribulations that have occurred for both characters in the past and present will certainly strike a chord for readers of varying ages.
This sounds like the ultimate book cliché, but there were twists and turns a-plenty throughout the whole book, a couple of which took me in complete surprise and kept me interested to see what the outcome would be for both. Not sure if anyone else will notice this, but I found that the more fast-paced the action was, the shorter the chapters were, while the more emotional and dialogue driven parts were longer and more wordier. This is in no way a criticism (or not a negative one at least) as I found this helped keep a steady pace throughout.
The Dark Inside is about one third fantasy and two thirds modern teenage novel, complete with brilliant character depth, warmth and feeling. Come at this with a slightly open mind and enjoy the tale as it unfolds.
— I’d like to thank the great people at Simon & Schuster for sending me a wonderful Exclusive Signed and Limited Edition of this (number 329 of 1000 to be precise!), you can follow them on Twitter at @simonschuster and @simonkids_UK) —