A Step Past Darkness

A Step Past Darkness

2024 • 448 pages • 14h 38m


Average rating4.1

Jeff SextonSupporter

Deliciously Dark And Creepy Multi-Layered Tale Reminiscent Of IT And Stranger Things. This is one of those dual timeline tales where a group of six kids get pulled together as teens to fight off an incredible supernatural evil in their rural smalltown hometown, then as adults have to come back home to end it once and for all. So like I said in the title, pretty well a blatant homage, all these years later, to IT. And of course, some say "homage", others say "blatant rip off". I'll leave that to those who choose to read both my review and Kurian's work. But if you have problems with dual timeline or multiple perspectives... just know up front that this book isn't for you. It is truly a great story, but meh, even I know of what I know to be *phenomenal* stories that even I simply can't read. (Looking at you, Lord of the Rings.)

Where Kurian shines particularly brightest is in giving these characters realistic Xennial (that weird merger of the youngest of Generation X with the oldest of the Millenials) character arcs, and yes, that does include LGBT discovery for at least one character. Again, if that is a problem for you... maybe not your book here.

Particularly strongest for me personally was Maddy's own arc, particularly as a teen, as she is deeply immersed in conservative Christian culture of the early and mid 90s - as I myself was as a male just a few years behind her in the same period and in a similar small town atmosphere. (Here, our kids are Sophomores that school year, and I was in 7th grade that year - so just 3 yrs younger than our characters.) Maddy's arc in some ways has a lot of things that were specific to females in that culture in that era, but in a lot of other ways were common across teenagers of both sexes during this period, and this is where I connected with the story the deepest. Maddy's struggles as she realized what was going on and her role within it, and her desperate attempts to try to change and correct things... yeah, that was the early years of my own young adult form. So again, and particularly for any females reading this - there is quite a bit of discussion and action around purity culture in the conservative evangelical American church circa the mid 90s, including some of its atrocities being actively shown "on screen". If this is something you can't handle exploring in fiction form 30 yrs later (OW!)... maybe not the book for you.

Overall this was a deliciously dark and creepy tale that hit so many strong notes and was so very layered and multi-dimensional... it really was quite a ride. I very much enjoyed it, and I very much look forward to seeing what Kurian thinks up next. Very much recommended.

Originally posted at bookanon.com.

February 24, 2024Report this review