“Shorty” is no stranger to darkness. Even before the earth swallowed him up it was a familiar companion in Haiti. Now, after the quake, trapped under the rubble, it is all he has. But when he hears a voice in the darkness it is not one he knows, but one that stretches across two hundred years of the past to reach him. It is Toussaint L'Ouverture, a slave, a leader, a man that died in darkness like Shorty is certain he will die. What is the hero of Haiti telling Shorty, and can it save him?
I picked this up because the cover is gorgeous and I love Nick Lake’s Blood Ninja series. To call this a departure would be understatement. This is a dark book about darkness and about how evil, poverty, and tyranny can destroy souls and entire nations. The blend of contemporary Haiti and that of the past really works well to show the timelessness and universality of the message of the novel: that in the greatest darkness there is still hope even if it remains unseen. I was very pleasantly surprised that an author that excels at action-horror could write such a serious and moving work. I felt the fear and hopelessness in Shorty’s life and the darkness encroaching. It’s rare that a writer can transport you to a place so different from your own life and Lake pulls it off remarkably. I was really impressed that the jump between modern day and the past didn’t feel gimmicky; it really adds something to the book and makes it special. I recommend this to fans of both contemporary and historical fiction, because it handles both so well. In Darkness may not be a “fun” read, but it is one you’ll be glad you read.
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