Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Evil And The Pure by Darren Dash - Book Review

5/5 Stars

If I don't pray for their lost,

damned souls,

who will?


Edition: Kindle
Pages: 716
Chapters: 76 (Plus a prologue, and an epilogue with two parts.)
Publisher: Home Of The Damned

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Wow, where to start?

Well, in a nutshell, The Evil And The Pure is a deliciously dark delight. With a heavy - okay, massive - emphasis on dark. Part of me still can't quite fathom what I've just read. Mr Dash, or perhaps better known by Darren Shan, has once again caught me off guard. His adult work is superb; a gritty, realistic look at the depths of human depravity.

Did I mention it's dark?

I recommend this book to all, but, those who are on the younger side. If I'm surprised by the book's content, having sunk into very black thrillers, then anyone who thinks they're ready for what's to come in the beginning of this entry to Mr Dash's collection will be sorely traumatised...


Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Four men, four stories, four depths of darkness.
The seedy underbelly of London, and the questionable people who reside there.
Lives about to collide, lives about to burn.
The New Year is coming.
But not all men will make it alive...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

As is pretty standard, Mr Dash (Shan) knows how to start a novel.

The Evil And The Pure is true to its name, with a lot of the former, and a needed splattering of the latter. Everything is morbidly hooking. The tone is black, for lack of a simpler word, as black and dirty as can be, and this is, and I'll guiltily admit, confusingly satisfying. The novel will not let you go, once you're in, you're in. There's no fighting it.

The plot isn't instantly apparent and can sometimes stall, or linger, but overall, wow. We focus on four main perspectives, but get to know other characters as if we are in their heads just as often. This dynamic keeps the story fresh and exciting; the journeys of the four men are fascinating and enviably complex. The twists and turns have you reeling with shock.

When the cast begin to intersect - collide - things go crazy. The 'big plot' comes into focus, and it's one of the smartest ideas I've invested myself in. The ramifications add a massive amount of weight to the plot, and this is good weight. Blind lust, which is a major theme in the story, promises to see everything implode.

A very graphic piece of fiction. Not for the faint of heart, or stomach.

But a glory to read nonetheless.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

The Evil And The Pure is a good length. You're invested to the point of reading heavily between the lines and making sure you commit every turn and piece of information to memory. Where I've seen this fail in the past, it shines here. The complexities of our characters' worlds are something to treasure. The shocking narratives and lines of story keep everything fresh and churning along.

There are no real duds, in my opinion. Nothing to hamper the reading experience.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

The biggest wow factor of this novel for me.

Like I said, the complexities show just how much time and effort and love went in to building these morally challenged characters. How addictive reading with them is; cringing at the horrors they commit, but for some, despite their evil, hoping good things will happen to them. The Evil And The Pure definitely picks at your moral core by making you hate and love the drivers of the story. 

It's an infuriating guilt trip you can't put down.

There are four main viewpoints (a good, diverse number; any more and things could have become disjointed, but the line is toed perfectly):

Big Sandy. My personal favourite character, in line with Tulip. He's a killer, but not sadistic, if you can believe it. Big S is very kind, compassionate even. There's a goodness to him that surprises the reader, especially when you look at what he does and has done. Very rational and open. Ready to accept the consequences of his actions at the drop of a hat. He's the enforcer mentioned in the book's blurb.

Next up is Clint, the drug dealer. He's desperate to make a name for himself, to move up the illegal corporate ladder, so to speak. But he's anxiety ridden, avoids violence, and lacks self-confidence. His dreams are big, but his actions small. The plot that ensues for both him and the overall story puts him in a position to shine, or crumble. In a way, he does both.

Then we have Kevin. His sister Tulip, while not a main viewpoint, can be argued into main character status, so I'll treat them as one item. Their story initially polarised me, with Tulip rising in my likability scale, and Kevin dropping drastically. I think this is where the line of what I can take as a reader is pushed. Their relationship, 'appointments', have me a little - a lot - uncomfortable. But if you can push past it, you're more than rewarded.

Finally, Gawl. On the surface, the blackest of them all, in more ways than one. The true psychopath. Very tough, unfeeling, violent, dangerous, cunning. He's a deadly package, and probably the main source of everything that goes wrong. 

The endings for these folks are wholly satisfying and fits perfectly with their development. It's natural.

There are a wealth of others within The Evil And The Pure, all just as engaging, developed and well-written. I can't help but wonder if any book will top this cast of misfits.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Different from Dash's (Shan's) other work, if I haven't already made that obvious. It's great, graphic without being too gratuitous, toeing the line between acceptable and too much.

Smooth, not as fast as the author's other works, but just as mesmerising, and well worth the time.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

The Evil And The Pure is a novel I am not going to forget, ever.

For more Darren Dash (Shan) reviews: Index

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