DARKNESS FALLS The month of darkness is quickly approaching. It is a time when the denizens of the night roam the land freely and the citizens of Arkdale lock themselves behind their high walls. A secret has been uncovered at the ancient ruins of the HARP that could unlock the past and reshape the future. One that has gained the attention of Arkdale’s mysterious Architects and their militia of men and machines. Now Walt, Rainna, Mallek, and Lucas must race to solve the enigma of the HARP before it falls into dangerous hands.
A NIGHTMARE RISES A powerful entity rises from out of legend. The Draugr. With its legion of half-dead creatures, it seeks to bring about the destruction of the world so that it may usher in a new and darker reality.
UNLIKELY HEROES Once orphans, now outcasts, the four inseparable friends must find a way to survive in a dystopian world of metal monsters and unspeakable horrors. They must rediscover the truths of a forgotten age to endure the surging storm. But why is one of them changing in inexplicable ways? Can they trust the strangers that suddenly appear to help them? And most importantly, what is buried beneath the ruins?
As one who praises books like The Maze Runner series and YA adventures that take one and all to a completely new realm, I have to say that this book is right up there with all of them! However, this author has also managed to write out-of-the-box. Woyak introduces readers to a dark, gritty, dystopian realm called Arkdale. But even if you believe this “dystopian” background has been done too many times before, it will take you only two pages to realize that this author shows you why, “You ain’t seen nothin yet!”
Like those out there who wait for the end of days, Arkdale is preparing for the month of Darkness that will soon be upon them. With the coming of Darkness comes the threatening, frightful creatures that are allowed to roam freely and leave death and destruction in their wake. Fear is an understatement for Arkdale’s residents, who choose to keep safe by locking themselves behind the high walls that surround their city. There are those, however, who are set on a mission that will not allow them to hide.
At an ancient location known as the HARP, a secret has been unearthed; something so powerful that it could literally bring the past back to fruition and form a future that no one wants. A mysterious group in Arkdale that goes by the name of the “Architects” finds this particular secret more than interesting, and end up turning their focus on the HARP, along with the military they lead. But…they have their own enemy who has the ability and desire to be a god.
Once only a legend, the Draugr is an entity that’s slowly coming to life. With its own brand of military in the form of half-dead creatures, this powerful being has only one mission in mind: to destroy the entire world.
With all this legendary power, you would expect a hero like Hercules to save the day. However, in Arkdale, it is a quartet of orphans turned outcasts who must join together and use their friendship, wit, talent and skills to stop a battle that will include everything from metal destructors to ancient horrors. While coming face-to-face with the unspeakable, these friends will discover facts from their own personal pasts. And while one will be changed repeatedly during the twists and turns that commence, all will fight in their own way to brighten the present that’s getting darker by the minute.
Who are the real bad guys? What characters introduced are actually trying to help these outcasts, and which appear simply to destroy their every effort? And...best question of all…when is the next book coming? Yes, the ending is so amazing that you’ll want to get the next title in your hand as soon as humanly possible.
The author has done a perfect job with this book. His unique way of presenting human evolution is astounding and creative. From the good guys to the bad guys, the presentation of each one was superb. The relationships between the main characters are incredible: I am an Ophelia fan, myself, but Lucas, Rainna...well, the list goes on. Let’s just say that every reader will find their favorite(s) along the way. Add to all that the sincere emotions and passion this writer has for his creation, and it makes total sense why you will not be able to put this one down until the very end!
Quill says: A 5-star read that goes beyond the dystopian “norm” and introduces a cavalcade of stars that sci-fi, fantasy, action, and mystery readers will love to meet.
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
A fast-paced dystopian adventure, as ensnaring as it is imaginative
Dystopian fiction hit an apparent peak around the time of Hunger Games & Divergent. Since then, it’s been a quietly lurking subgenre with diamonds just waiting to be discovered. That’s where Louis Woyak’s Beneath the Ruins comes in.
This sci-fi fantasy novel is a compelling reminder of why good dystopian fiction will never go out of style.
Packed with gripping action sequences, vivid worldbuilding, and a wide range of characters, Beneath the Ruins proves to be a great escape for speculative fiction fans.
Every year, darkness comes and rules over Arkdale for months at a time. Danger lurks in the dark, and shelter can only be sought within the town’s walls. But before the world grows dark once more, a group of friends will discover something in the mysterious ruins of the HARP outside the city walls. Something that could change their world forever and upset the precarious balance of power for good.
“It was that ephemeral time of day that was simultaneously late at night and early in the morning, where one day bled into the next.”
Ever-present danger looms over each character, and monsters and wild creatures lurk around many corners. From mechanical hounds to agents of darkness wielding battle axes, these creatures run the gamut of imagination and fear. There’s even a cross-over appeal for fans of science fiction and fantasy, so speculative readers will be getting a lot of what they come here for.
Fans of The Maze Runner and The Aurora Cycle are going to love the wide cast of characters in this one. Perspective shifts serve the forward momentum of the book and ensure the stakes are always changing and building. However, because of all the characters and the quickly moving pace, the character development can feel a bit rushed at times. This can cause a lack of emotional depth in these too-quick developments and make us wonder about how things happened off the page.
While the characters are largely in their early twenties, it bends a bit closer to YA than adult fiction with the characters’ actions, thoughts, and responses feeling slightly younger than their purported age.
But overall, Beneath the Ruins is a good, fast-paced novel set in a deeply imaginative dystopian world, with series potential. I could see Woyak keeping us captivated with plenty more of where this high-powered sci-fi fantasy came from.
Reviewed by Steph Huddleston
1st Place Science Fiction - Feathered Quill Book Awards (2022)
"The epitome of sci-fi... a breath of fresh air." - Feathered Quill Book Awards Judges' Comments