Wednesday, 27 February 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Title: Dark Parties
Author: Sara Grant
Publication Date: December 2011 (UK)
Pages: 264

 Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most.

 My Thoughts...
It’s funny, because I’m thinking about what I have to say in this review, and it might seem a little strange because I have two almost opposing viewpoints about Dark Parties... but anyway, here we go...

I have to say, it took me a long time to get into Dark Parties. For a long time, my progress with it was pretty slow-going and it took me a relatively long time to get through it compared to how fast I normally read a book. I just felt like the whole story – plotline, characters, dystopian setting – was very two-dimensional. It all felt very flat – there was no spark that caused me to really connect with the story or become emotionally invested in the characters’ plight.

I felt like we had been thrown straight into Neva’s world, which can be a good thing sometimes, but here it just left me feeling a little lost. A bit like if you suddenly joined a new school, but a term after everyone’ve missed orientation and no-one’s going to explain the way things work anymore because everyone already you’re left feeling perpetually behind and wondering if there’s something important that you missed. This is how I felt about inhabiting Neva’s world – the ‘Protectosphere’, essentially a big bubble which supposedly ‘protects’ everyone from the evil world outside – the distinct lack of world-building meant that I never really got a proper taste for the Protectosphere and therefore never really understood the characters’ sense of urgency for rebellion.

Neva was an okay protagonist, but there wasn’t anything unique about her. True, she was brave, curious, determined to fight against a corrupt government, but so is pretty much every other heroine in the YA dystopian genre. I didn’t feel any chemistry between any of the characters –not Neva and her best friend Sanna, not Neva and Braydon who supposedly had some great connection since they kissed at the ‘dark party’ in the opening chapter, and not even between Sanna and Braydon who were meant to be dating.

Nevertheless, as the story progressed and the end of the book neared, things took a turn for the better and more exciting. I can’t go into detail for fear of spoiling it but things did get a lot more tense and grittier. I felt my heart beating as I imagined the dark and frightening situations Sara Grant had placed her characters in – almost the emotional connection with the story that I had been hoping for earlier on.

If only this turn of events had appeared earlier! It was not quite enough to erase all the problems I had earlier on with Dark Parties but it was enough to make me feel like I had enjoyed the book once I finished it.

All in all, although I feel that Dark Parties fell a little short of its potential – the dystopian world of the ‘Protectosphere’ paired with the mystery of the ‘missing’ could have been so much more exciting – the explosive ending leaves me with hope that if there was to be a sequel , which the ending certainly invites, it could be amazing. Indeed, Sara Grant has done very well with her debut novel and Dark Parties definitely shows her great potential as a writer!


  1. Really love the way how you review books specially this one keep it up

  2. Fantastic review, Catherine! I have only read one other review of this book and remember liking the sound of it. It is a shame this disappointed you though - it is very frustrating when books are slow paced! I remember losing interest with Throne of Glass after a while because nothing was happening. I'm glad this book had a few good parts, though. Thanks for posting :) xx

  3. Great review! I, personally, rather enjoyed this book but, admittedly, at first I was skeptical! I found the first chapter to be quite strange and the relationship between Neva and Braydon never really stood out for me either. I agree that toward the ending the story really started to build up... I just loved how it ended! I see where you're coming from about the open ending but I think, though I would definitely still read it if there was to be a sequel, that it's quite smart how the author lets the reader decide what could happen next... After all, the way the story ended you know that there is a whole new life for Neva to become a part of! Thanks for sharing this review - I'm glad you liked it overall! :D

  4. Woah. That's a bunch of spam you have going on there ^. You should fix the comment settings on your blog, I had the same thing happening to me for the past 4 months T-T. (I get like really excited that I got a new comment, but it's just some cure for methadone addictions, or work at home spam.) ANYWAYS, that had been happening a lot with me recently - regarding dystopian novels. The society will be very original, but it won't stand out as much as you'd like it to. The only that could make this read worse than it sounds - would be a predictable plot. Ugh. I think I'm going to pass on this one. Thanks for sharing! (:

    ~Demitra @ Characterized Book Reviews
    -New Follower!

  5. Thanks for the amazing review! I've read this book and I really enjoyed it-but completely know what you mean. Its a shame it dissapointed you! :( Thanks for the brilliant review!
    Beth x

  6. Thanks for the amazing review! I've read this book and I really enjoyed it-but completely know what you mean. Its a shame it dissapointed you! :( Thanks for the brilliant review!
    Beth x


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