Burn the Dark: Malus Domestica #1 by S.A. Hunt
fulfills the category “Book
About or Involving Social Media” for the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge. The
novel highlights YouTube as a medium for earning money while hunting witches.
Good work, if you can get it.
Robin is a young woman on a mission. She knows there
are dark things in the world, and she wants them dead. Even at the young age of
twenty, she’s become a
formidable witch hunter. The witches of her universe prey on the people and the
surrounding towns, sucking all the happiness away and living on the misery.
films her escapades/adventures with her cell phone and posts them to YouTube. Her vlog (video blog) not only chronicles
her life but earns money through sponsorship. (My daughter explained that part
for me. Popular YouTubers can get sponsors for the number of views. It’s
all complicated and algorithm-ey. But it’s a real thing that works for our
The book jumps back and forth between Robin and the
family who have moved into her old home. Robin is on her way back there to deal
with the problem that killed her parents. Unfortunately, it seems another witch
she dispatched placed a curse on her. Something is following her, intruding in
her dreams, and popping up in real life too. Robin must battle with these
supernatural forces on two fronts with a team of kicky preteens, a friend from
high school, and a teacher.
I enjoyed this novel until the story ran out. It was
well-written, action-packed with so many good emotional moments. The adventure
was plausible with the supernatural elements well thought out and integrated.
It has a kick-butt female protagonist teamed with a family of color.
But then it ended.
The tale just petered out. I realize it will be a
series. The author left some plot issues for the next two books, but there was
no resolve. It just stopped mid-story. We had a somewhat climactic scene in
toward the end, but it didn’t
feel like the end. No answers, no good feelings, no sense of accomplishment. I
I write in series. But I ensure each book ends with
some sort of finality. If a reader walks away and never picks up one of my
books again, at least they had a happy ending. (Romance must have that happy
ending.) I’ve read so
many sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy novels that follow that model. They end
with “Hey, the whole story isn’t over. But this one is complete.” Look at
Charlaine Harris, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jim Butcher, Laurell K. Hamilton.
The novel ends with satisfaction. (Well, except the latest Harry Dresden by Jim
Butcher. It was the same as Burn the Dark, finishing with “we got this
other stuff that’ll be in the next book.”)
Cliffhangers are fine, a tried and true way to tease
the reader. It’s a
great way to keep people reading and get them excited, talking, speculating.
But Burn the Dark ended with a fizzle.
not saying don’t read this fast-paced, fun, interesting, well-done urban
fantasy. Just wait another month. Book two dropped in July and number three
will be out in September. If you read it, you’ll want to autobuy the next one.
(But I haven’t yet…I will…eventually…)
I give Burn the Dark Malus
Domestica #1 by S.A. Hunt Four Cell Phone Cameras.