Sent to me by Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 03/08/17
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback, 272pp
Genre: Techno Thriller/Horror/Science-Fiction
Summed up in a word: Invasive
As soon as I saw this book, I thought it was going to be my sort of novel. Techno-Thriller that borders on Horror. It certainly reads as such and I enjoyed it but it felt lacking in certain respects. What I read had the potential to be a great novel but it felt incomplete; like it was a larger novel that got chopped down. I am not sure if it was just Percy’s writing style but it seemed like there was missing sections that would have added so much more to this novel. The Dark Net is gritty, dark and successfully merges the ancient fear of darkness with the modern threat of technology. I just wanted more… If there is a more elaborate version of this book out there somewhere then I would love to read it. Full review below.
The dark net is an online shadow-land for criminals to operate anonymously, but when a demonic force begins to hack the minds of its users there is nowhere left to hide.
Twelve-year-old Hannah has been fitted with a high-tech prosthetic that restores her sight, but can’t understand why she can now see shadows surrounding certain people.
Lela, an emotionally shut-off, technophobic journalist stumbles onto a story nobody wants her to uncover. A story someone will kill to keep hidden.
A former evangelist, Mike, suffers demons – figurative and literal – and keeps an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he runs.
And Derek, is a hacker who believes himself a soldier, part of a cyber army dedicated to changing the world for the better.
With the virus spreading throughout the net and an ancient evil threatening to break lose on the real world, it falls to these strangers to stop the rising darkness.
The Dark Net is fundamentally a classic story of Light vs Dark or Angels vs Demons. The difference with this novel is that the plot has been given a modern makeover. And it works so well. Percy is definitely on to something here and it is a shame that he didn’t go into greater detail or elaborate on all the great ideas that the books explores. It is unclear if this is going to be a trilogy, if it is then I understand that Percy might be holding back for future instalments. If this is the only chapter in the story then I am a little disappointed. The characters are spot on and the concept is brilliant, it mainly falls to the depth and execution that left me wanting.
The Dark Net is a gutsy, gritty and alarming Techno-Thriller about facing the darkness surrounding us from all sides. Encompassing technology, action, horror and religious elements, Percy has created a story akin to Constantine that is part metaphor and part kicking evil’s arse. The plot follows several characters that are brought together to face the rising threat of a hostile take-over of evil entities.
The story mainly follows techno-phobic Lela, a sensationalist journalist, who is constantly looking for the next huge story and Mike Juniper, an ex-evangelist who came face to face with darkness and lived… just. Lela stumbles upon a story that will cost her everything, she wanted the story of a lifetime and now she may die because of it, her distaste for technology might be the only thing that could save her. Mike’s confrontation with the shadows changed his life and when he survived he knew he needed to help those in need. He is blessed with the light and is prepared for the shadows that will eventually come knocking at his door. There are other key characters but their inclusion is limited and I don’t want to give too much away. These unlikely comrades band together to go head-to-head with pure evil.
The modern twist in The Dark Net is the medium of the internet. The Dark Net is a truly twisted place, even in real life, and a digital plain filled with viruses and criminals is the perfect setting for evil to begin world domination. In these modern times you can’t outrun technology and an ancient evil is planning to use it to possess the world. The quality of technology included in this novel is not far from what is available to us today which brings a concerning tinge to the narrative 😆.
I loved the concepts explored in this novel, it is what kept me reading to the end. I feel that there was so much more that Percy wanted to do with this but couldn’t for some reason. Percy built up the scenario and the characters really well but there seemed to be that extra-depth missing that could have taken this great novel to another level. Percy’s writing style is gritty and dark but it is also focused on humanity and redemption. His open and descriptive writing meshes well with dark tones and atmospheres. It is just spread too thin. This could have done with being at least 100 pages longer with more elaboration and depth. But that is my own personal opinion, if you like curt, rapid and bold stories that doesn’t dwell too much on the detail then this novel will suit you better than I.
With fantastic and horrific imagery, a well thought out plot centred around modern technology and great ideas focused on demons, rituals, possession, runes and war, The Dark Net is a success. This novel will please all thriller and horror readers, but to what degree it is hard to say. I want to be clear that I enjoyed what I read but I just wanted more of it. Percy has managed to balance plot and characters well, his two main characters are smart, cunning and suited the plot perfectly. There seems to be a bit of a fad, mixing evil & technology in 2017 but I can say that The Dark Net has passed the test, I am just hoping there is more to come.
About Benjamin Percy
Benjamin Percy is the award-winning author of the novel, The Wilding (forthcoming from Graywolf, September 28, 2010), as well as two books of short stories, Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf, 2007) and The Language of Elk (Carnegie Mellon, 2006). Publishers Weekly gave The Wilding a starred review, saying “Percy’s excellent debut novel…digs into the ambiguous American attitude toward nature as it oscillates between Thoreau’s romantic appreciation and sheer gothic horror… It’s as close as you can get to a contemporary Deliverance.”
Percy’s honors include a Whiting Writers Award, the Plimpton Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories. His fiction and nonfiction appear in Esquire (where he is a regular contributor),Outside, Men’s Journal, the Paris Review, Orion, Tin House,Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other magazines and journals. He teaches in the MFA program at Iowa State and can be found online at benjaminpercy.com.