(I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own)
Title: The Never Dawn
Author: Roy Palmer
Published by: FrontRunner Publications
Publication date: 5th August 2016
Pages: 212, kindle
All his young life, Noah has longed to see the sky he’s only heard about in stories. For over one hundred years, Noah’s people have toiled deep beneath the Earth preparing for The New Dawn – the historic day when they will emerge to reclaim the land stolen by a ruthless enemy.
But when Rebekah, the girl of his forbidden desire, discovers a secret their leader has been so desperate to keep, Noah suspects something is wrong. Together, they escape and begin the long climb to the surface. But nothing could prepare them for what awaits outside.
As soon as I heard about this book from the author, I was intrigued – the concept story is loosely based off of Noah’s arc. And although the similarities end at the fact that the protagonist is called Noah and he lives underground on the Arc, I am always drawn to books that are retellings of other well-known stories. It also kind of reminded me of Seed by Lisa Heathfield, with the whole cult-element, and the total indoctrination of all the characters, which made me very interested to find out more about the story!
I found that some of the events became quite repetitive. There were multiple occasions of there being a problem with Mother, or the prefects, or within Noah’s team; in my opinion some of them may have been unnecessary, as it didn’t seem to further the plot and made it quite samey at times. That said, because the events in the novel were drawn out quite a lot, it allowed Noah’s characterisation to be very in depth, and his change in mind-set was very subtle. Each time something significant happened, Noah’s internal response would be less indoctrinated, and I really enjoyed reading his detailed character development.
Some of the elements in this book were quite unusual – obviously, as the Arc is essentially a cult of sorts, it has its own norms and traditions, almost as if it were its own world. A lot of these features were toeing the line between being interesting and odd, and for me, I found some of the ideas quite weird at times (specifically, the reproductive process in the Arc). That said, overall I thought the concept of the book, and the Arc, was very engaging.
I wasn’t sure what to make of Noah’s relationship with Rebekah. I thought that Noah’s preoccupation with Rebekah was slightly unrealistic, as he does not really know her at all until nearer the end of the book. However, the blurb does state that Rebekah is the women of his desires, which is definitely an accurate description of how Noah views her. As I was reading, I also came to see her as more of a symbol – as they didn’t know each other well, I thought she began to take a more central role as Noah’s doubts increased, which I found quite thought-provoking.
I really enjoyed the ending of The Never Dawn. I felt that the whole plot tied together really nicely in the last quarter of the book, and the pace of the book picked up a lot. Without spoiling the ending, I will reveal that I completely didn’t expect the plot twist, but I thought it was a really clever turn of events. It gave me a real ‘oh my god, what just happened?’ moment. It was a really intriguing way to end the book, and it was the kind of ending that leaves the reader wanting to find out more.
This book was an interesting read, and very different from what I normally read. I wasn’t entirely keen on the writing style, but in general I found the plot gripping and all the characters were portrayed vividly. If you are a fan of dystopian or cult-focused books, I would definitely recommend this for you!