Normally this pedometer geek only does extensive reviews of books received through giveaways, but every once in a while, a book or an author needs to be highlighted. This is especially true of books that are not published through traditional presses. Indie authors and books are some of the best books being written and published, yet don’t get the respect or recognition that they deserve. This is one such author, and this is an extensive review of his latest novel, The Dark Lights.
The Dark Lights
by Nick Shamhart
Published by BookBaby, 2015
ISBN: 978148355872 and 9781517178024 (depending on the format)
A fantasy novel, The Dark Lights, is the story of Erik, a young man who, from a young age, saw things out of the corner of his eye and finally (in what he describes as sheer cowardice) escapes through a door into other worlds. In so doing, he sets off a chain of events that includes the Dark Lights, monstrous creatures who chase him from world to world over a long period of time.
How long he has been running from them; how many worlds he has visited in his quest to return home; how he has managed to escape and stay alive, the story doesn’t totally indicate. This is Erik’s reality, though. The Dark Lights are after him, and the story, narrated by Erik himself, begins when he sees things others don’t and frankly, it scares the heck out of him.
Calling himself primarily Erik the Runner, Erik is a self-deprecating, sarcastic, philosophical male, making him a narrator with a point of view that is sometimes hilarious, sometimes ironic, and always reliable (or not). For Erik, his reality is described in pop cultural references…from the Three Stooges (and yes, Erik believes that Larry Fine is the ultimate Stooge, yet he is not the only one to feel that way even though Moe was my favorite, but I digress) to the Kardashians to Hee Haw to SPAM to Descartes to everything in between. Added to all these references are wise (and not so wise) observations and reflections about the world.
Along the way through various worlds, Erik becomes acquainted with Janus, a goddess, and picks up Kiva, a young woman from a visit to one of the worlds he visits. He discovers more about himself, too, and what it means to be human.
The novel is worth reading for all the pop culture references alone, but the humor of the protagonist’s thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and actions add to the enjoyment of the material. Frankly, there are some real laugh-out-loud moments as this reader frequently discovered. Rooting for Erik and Kiva, understanding the duality of Janus, and then solving the final mystery makes for a fantastic read.
Does Erik ever get back home or do the evil Dark Lights finally catch up to him? There’s only one way to find out…read the novel!
The only downside was that in the Kindle e-book copy, there were a few typos/errors in the text; however, the fact that the author used the Oxford comma offset this reader’s irritation. Of course, this reader loves the Oxford comma; consider it one of many of this pedometer geek’s quirks.
This reader has read most of this author’s works. Nick Shamhart doesn’t write in any particular genre. He has written a metaphysical series called The Balance*, a non-traditional romance called The Knight’s Wife, and a YA novel called The Fog Within, which is a highly recommended personal favorite. Be sure to check them out, too, as he is an indie author worth reading.
* The Balance: Grey is the only one of The Balance series read, but there are three others that still await this pedometer geek. The others referenced above have all been read and enjoyed.