Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Dark Days by Kate Ormand (Tour Stop)

Dark Days
by Kate Ormand
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: June 3rd 2014


The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future. 
Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.


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Dark Days is a unique YA dystopian that follows the story of Sia, who only has fifteen days left to live. It's not only her who has to live with the countdown, but all of the people still left in her city, deemed "unnecessary" for the New World, and for survival. It's hard to imagine what it would be like to know that the world around you will soon come to a destructive end. We can hypothesize all we like, but I don't think you can really know what you would do until the time comes. However, Ormand seems to give an accurate account of how the event would play out, showing different reactions from different people. Some simply cannot handle the idea, and torture themselves with the future until they waste away in the present. Some just want to hide and let the entire thing blow over. Some resort to crime, looting stores and stealing from others.

And some refuse to go down without a fight.

One of my favorite aspects of Dark Days were all the individual personalities, and how they worked together to create this end of days mood and build the world of the sector. Sia was a great protagonist, but Ormand does not fall into the trap that plenty of others do - focus so intently on developing the main characters that all of the supporting characters are left behind. In Dark Days, the supporting characters are necessary, and it is their actions and reactions that make the story enjoyable to read. It isn't a glimpse of a teenage girl's life, it's a glimpse of a world - and the shattering of it - through the eyes of a teenage girl.

The world that was built beautifully, through the characters and the events. Ormand has excellent imagery, as I really found myself envisioning the sector, and how harshly it contrasted with the New World. Even through the whole walls surrounding this small portion of city that makes up life as we know it can be overused in YA (especially dystopia), it felt fresh in this novel. And my favorite part of all was the clock tower, always looming behind every scene and counting down the days until the sector's fall...

I can see the tower now, and the thought of it gives me the happy kind of shivers, because it's so wonderfully dark and fitting.

I liked the pacing of Dark Days for the most part. The beginning, to me, seemed a bit slow and didn't capture my attention as much as I would have liked it to. However, I'm glad I kept reading. Once I got to a certain point around thirteen or fourteen days left, it felt like a switch was flipped, and suddenly, I was trapped in the whirlwind of the novel, unable to stop until the last page (in fact, it grew so bad that when my ereader died from lack of battery, I crouched by the nearest wall socket so I could continue the action-packed ending immediately).

Despite the fact that it should be unrealistic to fall for someone in a matter of days, the relationship development between Sia and Mace felt natural, like they just fit well together. Many times, I end up hating the fictional couples once they get together, but I loved the romance between Sia and Mace, and both of their characters are very strong on their own. Maybe with his inked skin, want to protect, and rebellious attitude does not make for the most common love interest, but it allowed me to fall for him in a matter of pages, so I can't really blame Sia.

In general, the detail was done well, but the detail of the cyborgs was beautiful. They were different from the normal machines that one reads about, as they were so much more deadly and horrific (and therefore, pretty awesome). This brings me back to being able to envision the story, as I can clearly see battle with the cyborgs play out in a maelstrom of destruction. (Does that mean Dark Days would fantastically transition to the silver screen? In case any producers are reading this: yes, I believe so.)

I enjoyed reading Dark Days, and have the utmost respect for any novel of a dystopian feel that can still manage to stand out to a reader. Definitely a darker read to check out.

KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. 

You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website ( or on Twitter (@kateormand).

Win A Dark Days canvas bag, signed bookmarks, and a signed hardcover (INT)

- Must be 13 or older to enter
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