Friday, April 06, 2012

Zany Victorian Horror Story A Delightful Romp

(Image from Amazon)

If you're a Dan Wells fan—and even if you're not—you should be getting your hands on his hilarious novella, A Night of Blacker Darkness.  'Course, that's a lot easier said than done right now.  As far as I can tell, the only way you can get the book (until May, anyway, when the ebook will again be available) is to buy it at as an audiobook at Audible.com.  Luckily for me, Whitney Academy members have access to a PDF version, which I happily downloaded and read on my Kindle Fire.  It didn't take long for the story to make me laugh out loud. In fact, I decided pretty early on that A Night of Blacker Darkness is my favorite of Wells' books.  It's that delightful.  

I like the plot summary I found on Wells' website, so I'm just going to go ahead and use it:
It's 1817.  Wrongly imprisoned, Frederick Whithers is desperate to commit the crime he's already being punished for: defrauding the bank out of a vast inheritance.  He fakes his death to escape, but when he's seen climbing out of a coffin everyone assumes he's a vampire; when he shows none of the traditional vampire weaknesses, they assume he must be the Great One, the most powerful vampire in the history of the world.

Half horror and half farce, Frederick's tale is an ever-growing avalanche of bankers, constables, graverobbers, poets, ghouls, morticians, vampires, vampire hunters, not to mention some very unfortunate rabbits.  With a string of allies even more unlikely than his enemies, can Frederick stay alive long enough to claim his (well, somebody's) money?  And if he can't, which of his innumerable enemies will get to him first?
A Night of Blacker Darkness is even more zany, even more fun than it sounds.  It does get a little ridiculous, a little grotesque, a little  insane, but the crazier it gets, the funnier it gets.  I love—and totally agree with—what sci fi/fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson said about it:  "...[A Night of Blacker Darkness is] quirky and strange, but very amusing and borderline genius."  Amen, brother.

(Readalikes:  Nothing that I can think of)

Grade:  A-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs) and violence/gore

To the FTC, with love:  I received a PDF of A Night of Blacker Darkness courtesy of Dan Wells and the Whitney Awards Committee.  Thank you!

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