Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Review: The Dark Inside - Rupert Wallis

The House on the Hill has been abandoned for as long as James can remember. So when he discovers Webster, a drifter, hiding there, he's instantly curious about the story behind the homeless man. What is he running from?

Afflicted by a dark curse, Webster is no longer who he used to be. But there is said to be a cure and it might just be that by helping Webster, James will find some solace of his own. Together they embark on a journey, not knowing that what they discover will impact them both in ways they never imagined...

A gripping and haunting story about loss and hope, perfect for fans of Patrick Ness and David Almond.

Visit Rupert Wallis's page on Goodreads for more information

James is a 13 year old boy who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother. He doesn't have the best home life and is stuck living with a step-father who drinks too much and can become violent. Everything changes for James when he meets Webster, a homeless man who is staying in an abandoned house that James spends time in when he needs an escape. Webster is running from something and claims to have a dark curse hanging over him but can James help him find a cure?

I have to admit I wasn't too sure what to expect from The Dark Inside, it's not the kind of book I would usually pick up but after hearing a reading by Rupert Wallis at a Simon & Schuster blogger event I just had to try it and I'm glad that I did. Sometimes it's nice to step out of your comfort zone - especially when you find a gem like this book! If I had any fears that I wouldn't be able to relate to a 13 year old boy they were quickly proved unfounded and within the space of a couple of chapters I was fully invested in James's story. He is such a sweet boy and he reminded me of my younger brother at that age, they have the same curiosity about the world and eagerness to find adventure. Even though James has been through a lot and has been let down by the people who should protect him he is still the kind of boy who sees the good in people, he wants to help Webster even if he isn't sure what to believe about Webster's curse.

One of the things that is done particularly well in this novel is the paranormal element. Nothing is ever completely laid out so although you are given strong hints about what happened there is enough ambiguity for the reader to be able to make up their own mind about things. You can choose to take the paranormal events at face value or you can decide that they are the product of an incredibly over-active imagination. I'm not going to tell you my decision though - you'll just have to read the book and make up your own mind.

I loved the characters in The Dark Inside, both James and Webster are both well developed and have intriguing backgrounds that make you want to spend time getting to know them but we also meet some other interesting people along the way. I don't want to say too much about them for fear of giving spoilers so I'll just tell you that Ma was one of the creepiest old ladies I've ever come across! The story touches on some difficult subjects dealing with James's grief and his sense of loneliness and Webster's anguish about things that happened in his past but there is also plenty of action and danger from more than one direction. This is the kind of book that it is easy to get lost in and the short chapters make it an incredibly quick read - I kept telling myself I'd read just one more chapter and before I knew it I was at the end of the story. This is a fantastic debut from a new British author and I'm looking forward to seeing what Rupert Wallis comes up with next!

Source: Received from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Hardback / Kindle:


  1. I've only just started reading reviews of this one - but I'm already intrigued. Really need to read some S&S books full stop! Great review :)

    1. This one is really good Jesse, it's definitely a book I'd recommend :o) S&S have some fabulous titles on their list!



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