Monday, December 5, 2011

Book review: The Speed of Darkness

Title of Book:  The Speed of Darkness
Author:  Sarah Baethge
Genre:  Fiction > Young adult or teen > Sci-Fi & fantasy
Published:  September 13, 2011
Available:  Amazon

Sam Omlup, a computer teacher and web design consultant, tries to live a normal life, despite having to continually hide the fact that he is a werewolf. However, his secret is discovered when, after transforming into a wolf,  he tries to save a complete stranger from attack. To his surprise, the two attackers immediately recognize him as a werewolf and are happy with their discovery. Sam is then horrified to learn that he has exposed himself to members of The Eclipse,  a company of cruel scientists who seek to capture near-human 'supernatural' creatures for use in questionable medical experiments. They can do so because there are no laws to protect such creatures, as such creatures do not legally exist.

Now Sam and Nigel Hunter (the man he saved) must try to remain outside of the clutches of The Eclipse as their pursuers quietly, yet persistently tear bit by bit away from the safety and secrecy Sam has so endeavored to maintain.

The Speed of Darkness is an entertaining novel about the battle between “good” and “evil”. Entertaining, because things are never exactly what they seem and we discover that there really is no black and white, but rather a myriad of greys. This is enhanced by the subtle poke at so-called “good-doers”, who claim to champion the cause of social awareness without completely thinking things through. I found that the development of the plot and nature of the writing carried me effortlessly through the first half of the book. I was intrigued by the concept of “shadow shifting” and wanted to see where this would lead.

My problems began with a number of  discrepancies in the characterization which became more apparent as we reached the second half of the book. Hillary, who promised to be an enticing character at first, never really carried through with this promise. It wasn’t quite clear how someone, with enough “street-smarts” to pick locks and circumvent computer firewalls, could so easily be swayed by a rather awkward explanation to switch sides.  Nor why Sam, who was constantly guarding his secret from others, would so willingly and without any thought or suspicion,  pick up a total stranger coming into town at the height of his dangerous situation - a man who quickly turned out to be his arch enemy. And why Nigel, apparently a very clever scientist, who came all the way to the town to seek out The Solar Flare organization, would give up first trying to contact them because he couldn’t find them listed in a phone book, and only think of contacting them by email when Sam suggested this to him.

It was because of these types of discrepancies that I found myself struggling at times through the second half of the book, finding the development of the plot to be rather sporadic at times.

I think that Sarah 
Baethge shows great promise as a writer and hope that in her future books she will invest more of her writing skill in ensuring that the characters are more true to character and compelling throughout the book.

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