Book Review: Darkness Released by Candis Vargo

29844945.jpgTitle : Darkness Released

Author : Candis Vargo

Publisher : Limitless Publishing

Release date : March 28th, 2016

Rating : 1/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

For Hailey James, the ghosts of the past have never truly been laid to rest… After a troubled childhood and one last visit to her family’s abandoned home, everything in Hailey’s life seems to be going according to plan. The business she runs with her best friend, Pat, has hit big time success, and she isn’t even twenty-five. When night terrors come out to play, her future is in jeopardy… With the demolition of her childhood home, and her twenty-fifth birthday drawing near, Hailey’s nightmares become even worse. She is no longer able to do her job. At Pat’s insistence, Hailey undergoes hypnosis. She doesn’t remember much of her childhood, but when she sees a man dressed all in red in her visions, Hailey knows he is the key to her understanding. Hailey can’t seem to escape her past and the ghostly women who haunt it. But she can break the cycle of suffering that has surrounded the women of her family, especially with the future of her little niece, Lilly, on the line. To move forward, sometimes we must go back… Hailey’s future remains uncertain if she can’t face her demons. She can only hope she will be able to defeat the evil which has pervaded her childhood and threatens her family. When the shadows of her past threaten to cloud her future, Hailey must find the strength to unlock the truth of her troubled childhood.

Review :

I’m sorry, but I’m just going to let it out and say it: Darkness Released was just as bad as the Scary Movie movies. And they were bad.

I’m often wary of short stories (well, short: less than 150 pages, more or less?). When they’re well done, they are amazing! But when they’re not… they just feel like a waste of time. It’s like the authors have many ideas, but not enough words or patience, and they just throw everything at our faces. It feels rushed and overwhelming (not the good kind). Even with this thought, I wanted to give this one a try because I love horror stories, and this one’s cover fit just the description! And hurray! I got my scares!…

But they were quickly dampened by just how fast Vargo dismissed them afterward, with either humor or, I don’t know, a kind of writing flatness. The fright wasn’t lasting, and it was too bad, because it was different than the typical ghost scares, you know?

Talking about quickness… The story feels rushed, as I already told you. Hailey was a near-complete stranger to me. I didn’t know her very well, she had no character development, I was indifferent. Of course, since she’s the protagonist, I was hoping she’d discover the source of her problems, but I can’t say I would’ve been very sad if, say, something tragic happened to her. I would have been happy as long as the mystery was solved.

The world and the histories presented were lacking in depth. Everything just fell flat. Actually, the other emotion the book evoked in me, apart from the occasional scare, was annoyance. Darkness Released was filled with clichés, going from horror story tropes to character stereotypes that Robarts decided to use. Hence my comparison with Scary Movie.

All in all, this novel could use a little bit of creativity and thinking. Oh, did I just say “a little bit”?

Picture sources : 1

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