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Review by Seth Madaris
“We are the characters, this ride is our story, and for some reason we have to make things right.” Jack Braddock
And with that we are plunged into a dark world of twisted fairy tales and twisted nursery rhymes where Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm would be proud.
Dark Ride follows four teenagers (Jack, Amy, Mason and Scotty) as they get stuck in a carnival ride, known as The Enchanted Forest. Throughout the evening they have to face twisted incarnations of popular tales in their quest for freedom. Hunted by a vicious wolf, fighting bears, outsmarting giants and trolls are all par the course in this dark adventure. Throughout the journey, the group will learn about themselves, about each other and the importance of making the right choices.
First time author Lloyd does a fine job of creating a world that sufficiently creeps us out, a hidden world in the bowels of a carnival ride, where the teens are trapped. With each room the teens enter, you will find yourself guessing which popular fairy tale or nursery rhyme will be waiting for them on the other side. Lloyd takes several of these stories, ranging from the more popular ones like Godilocks and the Three Bears and Jack and the Beanstalk to the lesser known (but incredibly creepy) Matchstick Girl and the Snake and the Farmer, and combines them into a haunting fairy tale.
While the enjoyment of the various tales and their twisted nature is at the forefront, there is also a deeper message running through the book, one that really showcases Lloyd’s purpose in writing this tale. Throughout the journey, the teens are given choices and options, to follow a mysterious narrators enigmatic hints or a more obvious path to find freedom. The allegory for how we live our own lives is apparent, and a heartfelt twist at the end definitely helps in bringing the message home. If I am being too vague, it is for a reason, as I don’t want to reveal too much. For more info after reading, make sure you check out www.Darkridebook.com.
Some characters are better fleshed out then others, with Jack and Amy definitely being the strongest. There are a few personality shifts and questions I had in the reading involving Mason and to a lesser extent Scotty that made the ending a little on the nebulous side, but a reread did help clear some of that up.
The book is written from the POV of several characters and at times, this can get a little weighty. A few POV’s I found to be unnecessary to the story as a whole and on more than one occasion I found myself skimming the chapter quickly to get back to the 4 teens stuck in the ride, which is where most of my interest resided.
Obviously in this type of book, the creepier the setting the better, and I have to say, there were several instances where Lloyd ratchets up the “chill” factor. Some instances that really stood out were the aforementioned Matchstick Girl (I think small children are just scary in and of themselves) and a section about Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.
So grab this book up and give it a read. I guarantee you, you will never look at the old rhymes and fairy tales of your youth the same way again.
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My name is Seth Madaris and I am the husband to a wonderful wife and father to two beautiful children. I absolutely love to read and I honestly don’t think I day has gone by that I haven’t had some sort of a book in my hand. I also love to write and would love to be published one day. However, my favorite pastime is without doubt, jumping on the trampoline. Check out my blog at: theadventuresofbirdandseth.wordpress.com