DARKSIDE (BOOK I) by Tom Becker


Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review


Contemporary gothic horror of the juiciest kind. In modern-day London, a perfumed woman with fluorescent hair abducts 13-year-old Ricky. The narrative then switches to Jonathan, an independent 14-year-old whose father suffers bouts of mental illness or “darkening.” As the kidnappers pursue Jonathan, he pursues his father’s obsession, a place called Darkside that “ ‘tears pieces of your soul away.’ ” Fluorescent Marianne and her goons follow Jonathan to Darkside, where he finds a friend of his father’s who happens to be a werewolf (“ ‘wereman,’ ” corrects Carnegie after nearly eating Jonathan). Darkside, reached by damp pipe or abandoned tube station, is a grisly and fetid alternate London. Ghoulish figures in stovepipe hats throng the sidewalks, kicking and elbowing; screams puncture the night; murder is ubiquitous. Two separate people have put a price on Jonathan’s head, one to place him in a death menagerie with Ricky. Becker switches threads rarely but with perfectly timed precision. Revenge upon those who escape immediate harm looms large for the next installment, as does Jonathan and Ricky’s mysterious Darkside heritage. Grounded, yet delectably lurid. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-545-03739-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2008