Against the Darkness
Cimmerian Moon #1
Three Twenty-One, June 2014
From the author—
Seventeen year old Sinta Allen has one objective, to get from Tallahassee, Florida to her mother in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Seems simple enough right? Wrong. Hostile aliens have invaded Earth-and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we’re losing the fight. While the aliens bring devastation and destruction and take people away to God knows where in their spaceships, Sinta, along with some of her classmates must rely on their survival instincts, a little luck and each other if they want to survive the venture across the country. The last thing she needs is for Wade, her school friend and Jason, her rescuer, to distract her along the way.
Imagine, if you will, going off to band camp and suddenly finding yourself in the middle of an alien invasion, 1,000 miles or so from home. We pick up with Sinta on Day 23 of the perilous journey on foot back to Michigan along with three teachers and about 40 campmates and it soon becomes apparent that those first days have been eye-opening to those who thought the hike would be relatively easy. Ms. Griffin has definitely set the stage.
Most post-apocalyptic novels rely heavily on worldbuilding but Against the Darkness is a bit lacking and, yet, it somehow works. It would be normal for people in such a situation to learn piecemeal what they need to know in order to survive, especially when this unwieldy group has no guidance from anyone in government. They’re literally babes in the woods, completely unprepared except for Sinta with her medical knowledge and Wade who knows hunting and has a familiarity with weapons. Still, when out on a scouting mission, Sinta and Wade are alarmed when they hear strange loud noises. They’ll be far more alarmed a few hours later when they find out what the noises meant.
As the trek goes on, the dangers increase from other humans as well as the lizards and hope fades that they will make it home. If they DO get to Michigan, what will they find? Will their families be there?
Sinta is a typical teen girl with wildly swinging moods and she’s not always the most cooperative person. She also tends to give up when things don’t go the way she wants them to and that was the one aspect of her personality that annoyed me. When it comes to the romance—I am so very tired of the love triangle so prevalent in YA fiction—I actually like both Wade and Jason and both have their merits but I would have been much happier if this triangle either didn’t exist or took a back seat to the tale of survival that really matters.
There are some construction flaws, primarily spelling errors and missing words. They didn’t detract too much from the story but they were noticeable so I hope future books will be more rigorously edited.
On the whole, I enjoyed Against the Darkness a lot and I’m really looking forward to my next encounter with Sinta and those people who have become more important to her than she ever might have imagined.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2014.