The constant violence and frequent dispatching of recently introduced characters rushes the plot along. Sonny’s ability to evade death borders on the miraculous as the number of battles multiply, but each scene is, for the most part, plausible on its own. Cole deviates little from typical zombie mythology; his revenants are clumsy, thoughtless brain-seekers that form packs and spread their disease through biting. There are some unexpected plot elements, including a long-distance train journey and an encounter with a pedophilic cult. While not breaking new ground, the onslaught of exciting moments keeps readers engaged.
Cole gives Sonny dialogue and thoughts well beyond his preteen years (“Yeah, we lost people. There’s not really an easy way to say this so here goes”). He explores the weight of Sonny’s responsibilities but skims over calmer periods when self-reflection might take deeper root. The open questions and unsettled ending set the stage effectively for the next books, and readers will be eager to follow Sonny as he searches for stability. This is a tense story of a boy muscling through violent clashes in a terrifying apocalyptic world.
Takeaway: This heart-pounding sequence of narrow escapes will gratify fans of classic zombie fare.
Great for fans of Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Alden Bell.
Design and typography: -
Marketing copy: A
Good First Book ★★★★
It's a coming of age story told from the viewpoint of a pre-teen, and the author has a good grasp of what that would be like. The main character transforms from a loving boy to becoming a man . . . and having to deal with all the new responsibilities. There's nonstop action and constant peril. I would like to see more "showing" instead of "telling" in the future novels, but all-in-all, I found it hard to put down.
I couldn't put this book down and when I had to, I couldn't wait to get back to it. ★★★★
Outbreak from The Dark Days Series is a great read with fluid consistancy. Had me from the first few pages and quickly pulled me into this wonderfully submersive post apocalyptic world. The characters are so relatable and realistic one cant help but be emotionally vested along side them in their experiences and adventures. I couldnt put this book down and when I had to, I couldn't wait to get back into it. Now I cant wait for book two of the Dark Days series.
Wonderfully Addicting Story ★★★★★
Dark Days wasn't what I expected, it was even better! The characters are heartfelt and relatable. The author spends a lot of time drawing you into the story and getting you invested in the characters. It's a beautiful coming of age story in an unlikely landscape of a post-apocalyptic world. Would recommend!
Exceptional post-apocalyptic coming of age story. ★★★★★
The first installment of Christopher Cole’s Outbreak: Dark Days series follows Sonny as he finds his preteen world turned upside down at the hands of a mysterious zombie outbreak that has sparked mass, sanctioned evacuations of families and individuals to military-run communes. Little does Sonny know that once his family and friends, neighbors Carrie and Ashley, depart from their New York state homes, their lives are set to change indefinitely as they battle outbreaks and learn tough lessons about growing up.
The flow is fast-paced, while still providing enough visual detail for the reader to follow each event and action. The characters are well-developed, even considering that the main protagonists, Sonny, Carrie, and Ashley, are all middle-school aged. It is easy to empathize with the many internal conflicts they are faced in the midst of difficult decisions, the most extreme being making choices that can lead to life or death. Readers can feel the deep humanity of each child, yet at the same time are gently reminded that all three are children who genuinely do not know everything, nor should be expected to. The bond the children share with each other is just as simple, yet poignant. It is a pleasure to witness the richness of the children’s character development and interpersonal bonds as they traverse through various trials.
The grammatical errors, however, were rampant throughout the book and at times were distracting from the plot and the action. Every couple pages had some kind of punctuation or use error; for instance, “your” when the contraction “you’re” was supposed to be used was a common error. I also saw a few spelling errors, but these were far less interspersed.
I love the plot of Outbreak: Dark Days, the doomsday theme is certainly relevant in 2020, with some elements such as quarantine being very relatable to many at present. In creating a rich range of emotions and thoughts in the trio of children, Cole invites readers to reflect on their sense of humanity and consider their own reactions to the different challenges that Sonny, Carrie, and Ashley encounter throughout the book. I recommend this book for readers of young adult age and up due to the use of adult language.