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Summary

In the strange labyrinth of pipes on the planet called Dark, things are falling apart. Dun doesn't want to be a hero, he just wants to find an answer to the terrifying dreams he's been having. But the answers, the real answers, are going to take him places he's never imagined and tear him from the only home he's ever known.

With a half-finished map from his missing father, an old friend, a new friend, and the mysterious Myrch to guide him, he journeys through parts of his world he's never imagined. Are his dreams real foretellings? Who can he trust to be who they say there are? What are the strange forces that seem to be literally pulling their world apart?

As he travels through a world that is much bigger than he thought it was, what he won't know will kill him. And everyone he knows.

©2016 Paul L. Arvidson (P)2020 Paul L. Arvidson

What listeners say about Dark

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It’s alright but not exciting

It’s an ok story but just not that exciting. The characters are well presented and interact with each other well. It’s an interesting premise of a story it’s just sadly not that engaging. The narrator was fantastic and was the saving grace of this book

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"Are you soldiers, spies or stupid?"

Isn't it strange that, unless told otherwise, we assume that the main characters of a book are like us, human? The planet Sirius 4, is better known as Dark, because that is what it is, and it's inhabitants have evolved, adapted to life there. Without light, they cannot see and so their other faculties - smell, touch, hearing and the ability to feel changes around them in air movement - are far more accute. Additionally, like moles, they live underground in pipes and tunnels. This was, for this reader, the intriguing part of the story which, for a long time, fuelled any interest. Author Paul L.Davidson skillfully paints vivid pictures of environment using just these senses: it was some time into the story before the realization of darkness translated from page to this reader's head and, after that, any interest was lost.

It had drawn me in with the opening paragraph, a distress beacon message from a serviceman, Lieutenant Myrch Western, last of the mission to the deep space colony, and found in 2610. Immediately the question - what had happened to the rest of the mission? And to Lt. Western? Was he ever found or did his distress call not reach responders in time? I read on with anticipation, only to be plunged into the world of Dun, missing fish, and his prescient dreams. This is his journey, sent, with two friends from his people, to find out why the e!here hadn't heard from their neighbours recently. My interest was lost, then, other than the oddity of the descriptions. Was the mysterious Myrch in the story the same one who had sent that emergency message? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

I was fortunate enough to receive a freely gifted complimentary copy of Dark, at my request, from the rights holder via Audiobook Boom. Thank you. I am finding it hard to rate this book. Although cleverly written with an original idea at the heart of the background story, I found it difficult to form a relationship with any of the characters and, therefore, with their quest. But the narration by Benjamin Fife was excellent, interspersed with occasional, and well sited, sound effects, which helped carry me through to the end. I can see the attraction of such a story, both the public quest and inner changes, a sort of litRPG fantasy without the levelling up gaming aspect, but not for me. I kept reading not for any interest in Dun and his friendships but because, once started I hate to give up on a book, and in the hope of some sort of resolution which didn't occur. Perhaps in the latter stories to come.

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characterisation

the story is hypnotic and the characters well described early on so that I quickly became invested in their well-being. The story is well written and easy to read. It appealed to my love of science fiction and mystery as well as a good adventure. It took me a while to reconcile the narration by Benjamin Fife to my own imagination as to how the characters sound. I was initially thrown by the American accent but I soon got over myself and enjoyed being read to.

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Adventures on a strange planet

On a strange planet called Dark, Dun has been having strange dreams. Is he becoming a foreteller? Are the dreams a vison of what will happen some time in the future? He is given a mission and must journey to find the Machine Folk. With his friend Padg and the alchemist Tali, he sets off to find answers. Will he find his missing father and what dangers must they face on the way?

The Dark is an exciting tale of adventures on another world.

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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 14-02-21

Gentle Ramble of an Adventure

Dark is a fun mix of fantasy and science fiction. The story starts us off on a quest with a crew of quaint, mannerly people who have shamans and a little spiritual or ritualist magic. The quest leads them further and further afield and each new encounter shifts the world a bit. More and more tech enters the scene and by the end, we a solid science fiction tale happening.

Dun is our main character and he’s just coming of age, an apprentice shaman to his people (the Bridge Folk). Their rivers are drying up & that means no fish which will mean eventual starvation. Someone must find the reason for this and fix it, if possible. This quest falls on his shoulders and he’s happy to take it on as it gives him the chance to find out what happened to his father, who left many years ago on his own quest. Along the way, they (Dun. Padj, and Tali) meets others. Among these, I found Myrch to be the most interesting. He’s not like Dun and his other companions in stature or mindset. In fact, he’s a bit shady. He certainly seems to know more than he lets on and that keeps his companions guessing about his true purpose.

Tali was a good addition to the group from the start because she’s an alchemist. This means she’s got healer skills as well as some chemical weapons up her sleeves. I also liked that she was so down to earth, keeping the guys grounded and on target.

Here and there in the story we get some observation notes, as if a scientist is able to peek in on our adventurers and is keeping tabs on them. This gives us some good hints that this is indeed a science fiction tale and it’s just most of our characters don’t know much of science… and any sufficiently advanced technology appears as magic, right? We also get hints as to what kind of species Dun and his folk might be, such as having fur and not being very tall.

The Chakka people were the most disturbing to me, being deliciously creepy indeed! They all seem to be afflicted by some ailment or injury. Tali isn’t exactly sure of the source of their misery but she does her best to help. Meanwhile the story gives us hints of who the meanspirited Overlords might be, though Dun has never met one. In fact, later in the story when the action heats up and there’s some real danger, Dun kind of goes around asking ever so politely, ‘Are you an Overlord?’ to anyone who is particularly cruel. Really, it’s quite quaint and charming.

The story over all has a gentle ramble for the bulk of it. It’s a little slow here and there, though enough troublesome things happen to keep me interested in the welfare of the main characters. Finally, in the last fifth of the book we get some real action with some real consequences. It seems that as more and more tech enters the story, the pacing picks up until by the end we are just going full speed. In fact, one newish character dies and I was like, ‘Hey! What? How?’ I felt I needed a bit more info or build up or some suspense. The death leaves Dun shattered but that seems a bit forced to me because he didn’t know this person long at all, and we readers knew them even less. So there’s no real emotional impact at the end for me. The story does leave everything on a cliffhanger on the edge of a battle. Overall, it was fun. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Benjamin Fife was a great pick for Dun, sounding like a polite young man who will have his patience and courtesy put to the test again and again. Fife’s female voices sounded like ladies and he various voices for all the characters so that each was distinct. He added in just a handful of sound effects in the second half of the book, like for chattering teeth (which was definitely spooky in a few scenes, as intended) and a few horn sounds too. They worked good with the narration & didn’t drown it out. The pacing was good with the exception of a few odd pauses in the last fifth or sixth of the book, though I was pretty wrapped up in the story at that point so they didn’t matter much. Overall, 4.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Paul L. Arvidson. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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  • sander
  • 02-11-20

Great worldbuilding with several twists and turns

Dark is a promising start to a unique trilogy. Arvidson sets up a world with various cultures and shows their influence on each other, all while sticking to one basic premise - the nonhumanoids he focuses on are without sight. It's interesting how that develops into a people who discuss things in terms of smell, feel, sound, and "air-sense" which is basically them sensing how things around them displace air.

The last fifth of the novel really takes a turn, breaking off into engaging developments that deconstruct a lot of the prior novel. There's a couple of great twists I didn't see coming, but like a great twist, makes perfect sense with hindsight. Can't really explain better without spoiling things, but I'm really excited to see how the next novel progresses.

Fife's narration is top-notch. I've listened to his books before, but he really brought his A-game to the novel's wide cast of characters. The chattering folk were especially creepy, thanks to him.

I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Sara
  • 24-10-20

Very Unusual

This is one of the strangest books I've ever read. On one hand, it's an adventure story where the Hobbits go on a quest to find out the Machine Folk who can tell them why the fish are gone, update a map, and possibly even find Dun's missing father, but these aren't hobbits. The River Folk as they call themselves are short, furry humans(?) who live in a cavelike environment. They also have different mystical abilities, such as Dun who has "foretellings" of the future.

Dun and his two companions go on their adventure, being joined shortly by Myrch, a man who isn't quite like them, although it's not until much later that they learn why. As they travel, they meet different groups of people with different forms of government, almost as though we were progressing through historical eras with each group they met. This reminded me a bit of Gulliver's Travels. Each society thinks they are superior and does not trust the other and so the companions find themselves on the run frequently. When they reach the land of the Machine Folk, things start to fall apart. The Machine Folk are gone. And nothing is as it seemed.

There are of course many more secrets and discoveries, but I don't want to spoil it for you. I do think it's a book that needs to be read more than once to be able to fully grasp the story. As always, Benjamin Fife's narration was superb and it will be no hardship to listen to the book all over again.

I received a free audiobook from StoryOrigin and have reviewed it willingly.

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  • Zoe
  • 16-10-20

Amazing!

It's audiobook time! And I just KNEW that this was going to be an amazing one to listen to! This story was everything I wanted it to be and I was pulled even further into it by listening to this wonderful narration. It's dark (teehee, I HAD to eek that in somewhere!), gritty, and sometimes a little spooky. And it was just the right mixture of fantasy and science fiction to fit my extremely niche adoration of this power genre combo.

I think this is my first male narrator (this might be a full on fib, my memory is terrible), and I really enjoyed the change in style that comes with a male narrator. I find that I'm extremely picky with female narrator voices and oftentimes want to speed them up, but I didn't feel that way with this one. And the narration tied in with the subject of the book was absolutely perfect! This is just one of those stories that screams "read me aloud!"

Outside of the narration, however, I really just enjoyed the heck out of this book. Like I mentioned above I tend to love books that don't necessarily fit into either the fantasy or the sci-fi genre and instead are almost a combination of the two. It tends to be that perfect pairing for me that always leaves me satisfied. It was a truly unique and interesting story that I look forward to continuing.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-01-21

Plenty of new ways of sensing things

The story took a few minutes to grab my attention. By the end of the story I wanted more. Not sure what the occasional proclamations at random points are, seem to be an observer's diary not associated with the story. A large part of the story is three or sometimes four individuals on a quest along a river which is lined by metal. I finally figured out that sight is not used by these people. Towards the end two individuals turn around and go home while the main individual continues on his quest. The end of the story is not exactly a cliffhanger but you know more adventures are in store for the three individuals. I am guessing that the world of Dark is actually a big metal spaceship where lighting has been lost and the inhabitants go from level to level through blast doors, metal ladders and long corridors.

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  • Roger Fauble
  • 20-01-21

A well-written story from a very good author

Dark (The Dark Trilogy Book 1), my first read from author D.J. Hoskins, an author I'd not previously heard of. December seemed to be my month for new authors and January looks to continue the trend. I was gifted a free copy and I'm voluntarily reviewing it. I'm not a particular fan of sci-fi but this reads more like epic fantasy than sci-fi. 383-pages/9-hours 2-minutes, but reads longer due to the detail & development of the story. Benjamin Fife's talented narration added to a good book's enjoyment. I look forward to reading more from this author. Personally, I prefer mystery and thrillers. Still, I look forward to more from this author, in fact, my next read is Darker: The Dark Trilogy, Book 2. (RIP Marley January 20, 2014 - July 24, 2018).

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  • Connie
  • 12-10-20

Dark is a 5 Star Amazing Book!!!!

Excellent book! Dark has everything a fantastic book needs!
Exciting story, fantastic narrator!!
A flash of back story, enough to feed your curiosity!
If you aren’t paying attention you’ll miss vital clues!
Like the one BEFORE the book begins! It’s before the author dedicated his book!
All I’m going to give you is a hint; Merch has a back story! But he’s not the key player!
I love this book!! One of the friends has the gift of the sight. There’s so much to tell but I don’t want to give away the book! Not that I could possibly come close to touching on a blink of it! I highly recommend this amazing story! I will be getting Paul Arvidsons’ other books! There is a book 2 coming! Yaaaaay!

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  • Katherine J
  • 24-09-20

Great Tale

This was an interesting tale; I fell into it and did not want to go to sleep. It took me a few minuets to realized that they were not human but I finally got it. They jump from the fire into the frying pan more than once through out the story and it keeps you interested. I enjoyed how the group worked together to solve their various problems and avoid death. In the end one of the group dies and it affects them all. They go separate ways at a certain point but I am sure they will meet again in the next book. The narrator did an awesome job with the entire performance. If you like different kinds of books you will find this a good read because it does not fall into the same old mold.


I received a free copy of this audio book from Story Origin for an honest review.

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  • Georgia McNabb
  • 21-09-20

Odd type of Story

This story is about a world where the people are mammals of some sort ( possible Moles) who we are lead to guess developed after humans left a area or planet ( not really sure). I found this story odd and a lot of pieces missing to truely understand where this place is. This is a unusual concept and will need to read/ listen to next book to get answers to the missing pieces.

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  • Margaret
  • 02-04-21

Interim review

Circumstances prevent me from doing a more in depth review right now, but I shall come back and update this as soon as I can. I enjoyed this book but wasn’t able to give it my full concentration. Still, I enjoyed it and the world created is interesting.