It’s been a week since my first three reviews. I think it’s time for a new one! This time, it’s a longer review of a novel. Are you looking for a new story to read on Tapas? Maybe this one will interest you! If you check it out, let me know in the comments what you think of it. I’ve reviewed the first five chapters. If you’re an author and want to get a review for your work as well, you can sign up here.
Author: Ryza Cobalion
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror
Summary: While walking home from the store, a young boy found two strangers dressed in black. The strangers offered to help in which the boy agrees to let them help him and in return, the boy let them stay at his home for a couple of days. But then after a unfortunate encounter, the boy learned that these strangers aren’t that human on the surface. And when they spotted him learning their secret they didn’t take it well. They held him hostage and the boy learned they were a bigger group that could barely comprehend. What are they gonna do next? Kill him? Eat him?
What I noticed first was the cover. Not because it’s just black and white but because it seems so simple. It reminds me a bit of what children scribble on their notebooks during school. This takes me to the title: The Dark Children of the Night. It might or might not be intentional that especially the banner of the novel looks like those sketches you see kids do a lot. With this simple look, it might get lost among the other novels with detailed covers. However, it also made me think about the title for a bit longer than normal.
The thumbnails of the chapters look like they weren’t made specifically to be thumbnails. You can’t read the whole title on them and they look like the cover. Even if it’s a novel and not a comic, I’d appreciate good thumbnails to make the story look better in general.
I have to say that I wasn’t really convinced by the summary. While starting off good, it gave a lot of information without drawing me in. Only the last three questions seemed interesting enough to attract a reader to the story. Readers who are quickly searching for something new to read probably won’t read the whole summary but rather stop somewhere in the middle and move on to the next novel.
So, my first impression wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fantastic either. To me, the summary is missing something that will make me want to read the story immediately. The cover looks good but didn’t make me wonder what the story could be about. The title is what really makes me want to read the story. However, I’m always looking for something that makes a story stand out among all others and I can’t really say what it is right now. If your readers can’t see right away why your story is the one they should read or why it’s special, it will get overlooked.
Going into detail
Let’s have a closer look at this story now!
I really like the characters’ names and I’m wondering if there’s a meaning to them. The story has a male main character, Saul. Especially at the beginning, I wanted to see more of his personality. All I know now is that he seems naive and stupid. What I noticed throughout the story is that the characters’ personalities changed a lot. One moment, people are friendly and the next they’re just mean. I’m missing some motives to understand why they behave a certain way. However, I could tell the characters apart by their personalities, so they weren’t all the same.
What’s a bit sad is that I couldn’t build up a connection to the main character. I didn’t have enough information on him and his backstory to care about him. If he had died in that forest, I wouldn’t really have minded.
Throughout the chapters I’ve read, I never really found out who is a real enemy and who isn’t. For example, Sara’s sisters seemed really friendly at the beginning but that changed quickly. Now after the fifth chapter, I’m just very confused about their personalities.
In general, I would have enjoyed reading more about the characters’ backstories, their feelings and reasons for their actions. Additionally, I tried to figure out the age of the characters but wasn’t able to.
I don’t read horror or action stories a lot but the plot seemed very interesting to me. It might not be the most original plot but what I’ve read was an intriguing start to a good story. The 5 chapters had some great and unexpected twists. There was a good amount of action scenes as well!
The fantasy part of the story was nothing new. I’ve read many fantasy stories and there’s barely anything I haven’t read about yet. Vampires, werewolves, demons, all those appear in fantasy stories all the time and I was hoping for something new. Right now, it seems to me as if some features of other fantasy stories have been thrown together instead of creating a new fantasy world for this story. I’m not expecting totally new ideas but at least a new perspective, new connections or new conflicts arising from well-known fantasy features. Maybe some more detailed world-building could help with that.
However, this world also needs to be shown to the readers. That takes me to the next part of this review.
I’ll start off with what I liked about the author’s writing style: The descriptions. Whenever there was a paragraph just for describing the scene, the world, the characters or their thoughts, I didn’t want to stop reading. In some cases, I really had a picture of the scene in my head. That’s something that makes me really enjoy a story. Sadly, there weren’t many descriptions.
In contrast, the dialogues didn’t have that effect on me. Especially at the beginning, they seemed very unrealistic. This might have to do with not knowing much about the personalities of the characters, but the first few dialogues were difficult to read through. The characters didn’t really react to what the others said and the conversations jumped quickly from one topic to the next. This got less obvious after I’ve read more but I’m not sure if it really got better or if I just got used to it.
I’m also not a big fan of the pacing in this story. Everything felt rushed and scenes that I would have liked to read more about got cut off quickly. The plot twists happened really fast and without any breaks between them. I’d suggest adding more details to the scenes. Additionally, giving some insights into the characters thoughts and feelings could help to not make everything seem so rushed. Although I was curious to find out more, the plot moved on too fast for my liking. Sometimes it’s a good idea to let the reader wait, give them a break from the action and take some time to show the world and characters.
I should mention here as well that the novel has some grammatical errors which sometimes made it hard to understand the story. However, that’s something a proofreader could help with!
Would I continue reading?
Probably not. I really don’t like it when stories feel rushed and I can’t build a connection with the main character. However, I’d recommend this story to people who like horror and action stories! Someone who really is into those genres would probably like to read this during a break without getting too attached to the characters. I like the general plot idea but in my opinion, there needs to be put more thought into what the readers know about the characters. As an author, you know the characters in your story but it’s up to you what the readers will get to know. For me, the readers don’t get enough information at the beginning, which might drive people away quickly. If a reader doesn’t know the main character, why should they be interested in what happens to them in a new world?
My Final Suggestions
I like the cover, I really do. However, it doesn’t tell me enough about the story to get me interested. After reading the first five chapters, I’m not sure what the cover has to do with the story. Maybe a new cover would help increase the readers’ interest. I’ve got an insider information that there’ll be a new cover soon. I’ll give you an update once the new cover is revealed!
Additionally, a summary that focuses more on getting the people’s attention instead of giving all the information could be a great way to attract more readers. I’m not saying don’t put anything about the plot in the summary. But try to carefully foreshadow what the reader can expect.
I also suggest showing more of the characters’ thoughts, especially the ones of the main character. By doing that, the reader can build a better connection with him. Now, he just seems really naive to me but most of the time I wasn’t sure what I should think of him. Knowing what’s going on in his head would be a great way to make him more likeable!
Additionally, I’d be really interested in seeing someone else’s perspective in the story. There are two worlds, why not have two characters present their point of view? For example, reading about Sara’s thoughts or actions from her perspective would add greatly to understanding the world she lives in. The reader wants to understand why she’s acting that way and she seems like an important character in the story.
Finally, giving more information about Saul’s normal life in the first few chapters would help to make him seem more relatable. I know so little about him that I can’t even say if he still goes to school or what he wants in life. That is important information!
That’s the end of this review. To sum up, I liked the story but it has some points that need improvement for me to fully enjoy it. However, I’m curious what others think about it, so if you go ahead and give it a try, let me know!