Tuesday 15 November 2011

Predators of Darkness (Darkness Series Book 1) - Leonard D Hilley II

Title: Predators of Darkness (Darkness Series Book 1)
Author: Leonard D Hilley II
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2007
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

When Leonard D. Hilley II sent me an email and asked me if I would like to read and review "Predators of Darkness" along with the next two in the series I wasn't sure at first if I should do it. This is because taking on three books from an author I hadn't read was a bit of a risk, but the synopsis and premise drew me in and in the end I was unable to say no. Now that I have finished this first book in the series I can honestly say that I am glad I took the risk as I loved the story and am happy to say that I am already 70% of the way through the sequel!

The story is set in 2073 in the city of Pittsburgh after it has been hit by a nuclear strike that has wiped out most of the city and its inhabitants. However, thanks to a well prepared scientist, several students and staff members have survived in an underground bunker beneath the University Campus. However, after several years when they leave their sanctuary to forage for more supplies they find strange and deadly creatures called Shifters now roaming the streets. These creatures heal quickly, can change their bodies and appearance, are savage killers and love to hunt down those humans that are still alive.

The story follows several of the survivors from the underground bunker in this world whose numbers have been diminishing due to the seemingly never ending, rapidly evolving Shifters. When the leader of the group Daniel finds some information out in the ruined city, he realises there may be a way to actually save the remnants of the group and finally live a decent live. He just now has to try and uncover a murderer in their group, understand the strange objectives of the scientist who originally saved all their lives and finally decide if his best friend is someone he can really trust.

As someone that loves dystopian sci-fi stories and horror it was probably no wonder that I really enjoyed this book. The plot is exciting, entertaining, fast paced and also interestingly complex with several great surprises thrown in along the way. There was also some great sub-plots and layers that seemed at times to be very random and insane but they all came together nicely in the end with a rather satisfying conclusion. The action is also quite constant with danger lurking around every corner which really keeps the suspense level up high. I would have to say that the book isn't for the faint hearted though as the author isn't afraid to detail the violence, blood, gore and downright savagery of the world he has created.

In regards to the characters, I found the main character Daniel to be rather engaging and easy to like. Even in the primitive society that has now evolved where the group's leaders were chosen and even paired off with women via physical violence, he is still a decent, yet haunted man who is trying his best for everyone. He and the other main characters were all well written and I found them all to be rather interesting if at times a little bit type cast. One issue I did have is that sometimes they did specific things that seemed rather stupid and unrealistic for people who had survived so much already and were blatantly just a way to move the plot on in a specific direction.

The secondary characters were rather weak and were nothing more than cardboard cut-outs with a few words here and there to describe who they were. In a way, this made it hard for you to really care about them and it didn't really provide you with a feeling of a close group fighting against adversity. Therefore, the best secondary characters in the book seem to be the Shifters themselves and these are more than adequately detailed. These intelligent, sexually deviant, savage and downright dangerous creatures are really the stuff of nightmares. I found them to be really impressive "monsters" and it was also nice to see them contrasted by a "good" Shifter that appears later in the story and adds a little bit of comic relief to the story.

In summary, this book is a cracking Sci-Fi Horror novel which takes an action packed end of the world scenario and mixes it with dangerous shape-shifting monsters, conspiracy and even the odd bit of romance. Basically, if you enjoy post apocalyptic horror and like to read books that don't take the safe and obvious route then I think you will love this novel.


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