When I first stumbled across The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy on a list of summer releases, it jumped right up to the top of my TBR pile and became one of my most anticipated reads for August. After reading a few other novels that discussed the dark net and the secret underbelly of the web, I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and creep myself out reading about this anonymous and criminal arena.
This book ended up being 100% completely different from what I was expecting.
The novel follows several characters: a young girl, Hannah, who is blind. She is being fitted for a high-tech visual prosthetic that is supposed to help her see. There is a journalist, Lela, who stumbles across a dark story that should have been kept hidden. There is Mike Juniper, a man who runs a homeless shelter to try and make up for the sins of his past and Derek, a hacker. This random array of people comes together to try and fight literal demons that are hiding within the web.
Marketed as a horror novel, I was completely shocked to find out this one read more like paranormal sci-fi; I didn’t expect actual demons (who appear sometimes are dark orbs and other times in physical manifestations) to be plaguing these characters. The first place my mind jumped to was that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the demon is using the school’s computers to manipulate students and try to gain power (anyone else remember that one?). Now, just because this one was completely not was I was expecting, didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.
This one did have an Ania Ahlborn vibe; sort of that manipulation and the walk of the fine line between paranormal and realism. It also sort of reminded me of The Twelve by Justin Cronin. The Dark Net had that ominous tone; it felt like something was always lurking around the corner or that doom was approaching.
I was thoroughly entertained throughout as I watched all of these mismatched characters come together and I felt like Percy did a great job at creating their connections. Fast paced and addictive, it didn’t take me long to fly through the pages and it had several spine-chilling moments that I relished in; there was a particular moment on page 144 that had me creeped right out.
Overall, I feel like whoever wrote the synopsis of this book did it a disservice and I feel like there will be several readers who will feel mislead, but, if you are able to get around that and read this novel for what it is: which is deliciously addictive and creepy fun, then I would say you will enjoy it!
This one releases today!