The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

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The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

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Buy The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: In space, no one can hear you scream and for the skeleton crew of the U-Star Coast City this is redundant anyway as no one cares if they do. 'The Burning Dark' is a science fiction novel that blends a well realised world with horror and the paranormal.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783292011

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In space, no one can hear you scream and for the skeleton crew of the U-Star Coast City this is redundant anyway as no one cares if they do. Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland is about to start early retirement, but he is given one last job overseeing the dismantling of this space station that orbits a forbidding star that gives off an eerie radiation. With only a couple of hundred people left on the massive station, it is pretty quiet. This makes it easier to hear the things going bump in the night – a night that continues 24 hours.

‘The Burning Dark’ is classic space horror in the mould of ‘Alien’ or ‘Event Horizon’. With this in mind you could immediately accuse it of being unoriginal, just another marines being chased by the big bad. This is not the case for one simple reason, Christopher’s world building. The best science fiction always balances story with setting and this happens here. Christopher does not suddenly drop a load of characters into a space station and expect you to care about them. He creates a far richer world than this and develops the people in it.

Cleveland is a great example. ‘Burning’ does not open straight into the location where most of the book is set, but instead explores the world that Cleveland inhabits. Ira tells you a story as if you are drinking buddies at a bar; a story about heroics, death and injury. In these few pages you get to know the man, only for it all to be questioned. Is Ira really a hero or a fake? The crew of the U-Star Coast City seem to find it hard to believe his tale, so will they believe him when he suggests that an alien presence is on board?

It is not just the character of Cleveland who is developed before the enemy are even mentioned in the book, but the universe of ‘The Spider Worlds’ books itself. Christopher is obviously planning to write more books set in this universe and he sets it up beautifully. This just happens to be a monster on the run book set in a well realised universe.

Some readers may become a little tired with all the build-up as it does take a while; however, I find it added to the depth of the book as you care what happens to Cleveland and the crew. Once the horror starts you enter a different type of book; one of jarring images and ghostly apparitions. At times it can be a little confusing as the supernatural meets the scientific, but on a whole it is a moody and spooky piece. It is testament to Christopher’s ability to create an intriguing scenario that I cared about reading some of the more generic horror elements.

What I took away from ‘The Burning Dark’ was a sense of time and place. ‘The Spider Wars’ is certainly somewhere I would want to read about again and the character of Cleveland was great. The actual plot and use of shock horror did not work as well as the world building, but this should not stop science fiction and horror lovers checking out the novel. There is more to come from Captain Cleveland and I for one am looking forward to a different style of adventure set in ‘The Spider Wars’ universe.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Parasite by Mira Grant and The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones.

Buy The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher at Amazon.com.

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