“I’m standing in the dark, not the gentle grey of dusk or the soft black of a moonlit night but pitch black. My heart batters my ribs like a bird beating its wings against a glass cage. I wave my hand in front of my hand in front of my face. I can’t see it. I never knew it could be so dark. My edges are merging with the inky blackness around me. My dad would finally be proud of me. I’ve blended in.”
In a world were most people are the same or very similar and the sky is a giant electrocuting sphere Neva feels restrained. She has been brought up knowing that the world inside the protectosphere is everything, there’s is nothing outside, not since The Terror. The government try and make everyone believe that within the Protectosphere is the best place to be, but the population is dwindling and they need youngsters to get married and have babies… But Neva has noticed something, she’s keeping a list of everyone she knows who have gone missing; people like her grandma, people who others don’t even acknowledge existed. When Neva digs deeper she starts learning about more about the world around her, the people in her life and the world that she never knew existed.
When I picked up Dark Parties I fell straight into the story and found it so difficult to put down, I kept wanting to read just one more page, which you know turns into two or three more at least! I was so engaged in the story that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.
We get thrown into the story straight away, meeting our protagonist in a pitch black room in her own home throwing a “dark party” with her friends. Neva and Sanna, Neva’s best friend, decided to throw the party to raise their rebellion to the government further, to discuss things neither of them wanted to discuss in the light of day. We soon discover that there are things wrong with this ‘wonderful world’ within the protectosphere and that Neva and her friends want to do something about it. The story follows Neva on her mission to find out more about the world she lives in and the government which runs it.
I found the idea of the story fascinating; a world trapped in a sphere which is meant to make things better, keep the toxins and diseases out and the people in, but with nothing as idyllic as they seem. It totally sounded like my kind of book! I don’t really want to discuss much about the story because I want people to experience it for themselves; I don’t want to give too much away because it’s really incredible.
The characters were so intriguing, I understood Neva but wanted to learn more about Braydon, Sanna, Ethan and the other characters, and I warmed to the characters straight away, unless they were to be warmed to, I kept my distance from those I was meant to and Sara Grants writing really made the characters become friends and enemies.
Neva was a wonderful character; she had a wonderful link to her grandmother of which is rarely seen but totally believable. I think this was because of how young Neva was when her grandmother went missing, her grandmother was still an angel in her mind and the stories she was told were magical. I thought she was so strong and brave for what she does and she’s definitely the type of friend you need.
The boys in this story are interesting, both of them, Ethan and Braydon, I didn’t know what to think of either of them and what I did think turned out to be wrong. I didn’t trust either of them from the very beginning but I couldn’t place what it was. I know now at the end that I was right not to trust them but not for the reasons I thought. The story is full of twists and turns and they go right into the fabric of the characters.
I will say that parts of this story were predictable… I worked out exactly what Neva’s mum was like from the very start and had my theories about one of the major plot parts from early one… however with that major plot part… lets just say that the horror of it really didn’t match how it was already formed in my head, it was worse and crazier and I was probably gawping like a fish the entire time I was reading it. The action of the government in this book is just jaw-dropping and really honestly scary because I can actually see things like this happening in our future!
I would really recommend this book to anyone, I’ve already recommended it to quite a few people and I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It is yet another dystopian but the writing, the characters and the experiences within the story all make it stand alone from the others and I thought it was beautiful, amazing and heart-poundingly incredible from the start.
Dark Parties is Sara Grants debut novel, it is released in the UK today by Indigo. My copy was sent to me in exchange of an honest review, thank you Indigo!