Friday, 27 June 2014

{Review + Author Interview} Dark Days by Kate Ormand

17562413Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 17th, 2014
Finished Date: June 24th, 2014
Publishers: Sky Pony Press
Genre: YA, Dystopia 
Source: For Review
Format: eARC 
Pages: 256
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US / The Book Depo

The future world has been divided into sectors--each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors' thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what's coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future. 

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she'll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.


The Review: Fast paced, thrilling and very enjoyable, Kate Ormand’s Dark Days is a YA dystopia story that everyone should read! 

The clock is ticking for Sia. She only has two weeks left before the Cyborgs come invade the sector that she lives and destroys everyone who hasn’t been picked to go live in the New World because her and her family have been deemed to be too ordinary. Determined to spend her last days enjoying life by doing the things she’s never done before, Sia isn’t prepared to meet a boy called Mace, because Mace makes her start questioning things and opening her up to what’s really going on around her. Suddenly Sia has to do the impossible and try to stop the Cyborgs before they invade her sector, but it is a job that is doomed from the start? 

I loved the concept of Dark Days! When you first meet Sia she already knows her fate, so we don’t actually see the announcement about Sia’s sector being the next to be destroyed. The ticking clock at the start of each chapter really pumped up my excitement levels, because with each day you know that time is running out for Sia and her family and I so desperately wanted her to have a happy ever after. I really enjoyed the entire story, there’s always something going on and Kate Ormand wrote it in a way that makes you question even the smallest things and by trying to figure out how the story will end. The plot was fast paced and intriguing, and there wasn’t a dull moment. 

I really liked Sia and Mace. I thought they were great together – not just romantically – but as friends too. I liked that they could open up to one another and experience new things together. But what I loved was how Mace introduces Sia to a new life, one she’s never really wished for until she met him because she didn’t think that hope existed. For a young girl, Sia goes through so much. Most of the people she loves have been taken away from her and I really felt for her situation. It really makes you hate the bad guys in the story even more. 

What else I loved was the fact that this is a standalone book. There are simply just not enough standalone dystopia stories, they all seem to be trilogies and I’m glad Kate Ormand decided on just the one book. I think it worked well and ended well enough that as a reader I was very satisfied.

In all, Dark Days was a pleasure to read and a great addition to the dystopia genre. Welcome done Kate and I can’t wait to see more from you!

Thank you to Sky Pony Press for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 
And don't forget to check out the author interview with the lovely Kate Ormand!  If you have any questions for Kate, please do leave a comment below! 
Kate Ormand
Could you tell us about your new release?
Sure! DARK DAYS is a YA dystopian action-romance novel about a sixteen-year-old who only has fifteen days to live before a cyborg army destroys her sector. Sia accepts her fate, knowing she can’t escape it. Then she meets Mace, who refuses to give up without and fight, and her view of the whole situation starts to shift from then on.

How did you come up with the idea for the new series?
It’s hard to say. Because I don’t remember!!! Images tend to be the best source of inspiration for me, or things I see day to day. But it’s not like I saw a cyborg walking down the street! Or did I?
I can’t fully remember what triggered the idea for DARK DAYS, but I CAN recall picturing the digital clock counting down, and the army of cyborgs. So I suppose that’s where my journey began with this story. I’ve put it down to a love of dystopian books and action films!

How long did it take to write?
Around three months for the first draft, and lots and lots and lots of editing after that!

What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?
There were plenty challenges. I think the restriction I gave myself having it set over a specific timescale, and a short one, too. It put the characters in a “try or die” situation and made everything really immediate. I like that aspect, but it was hard.

Who is your favourite character?
Sia. She was so interesting to write. I like her a lot.

What is your favourite quote?
Ooh. Tough one. I’m not sure it’s my favourite but I like this from the first chapter:
It’s hard to believe that this is actually happening sometimes. Other times the reality of it hits me so hard I can’t breathe.

What’s next for you?
I have THE WANDERERS out next year – a YA paranormal novel about a traveling shapeshifter circus and a betrayal in camp that threatens the lives of them all. Loving editing this at the moment. It’s out Fall 2015 with the same publisher as DARK DAYS. I also have three picture books set for release in 2015 under the name Kate Louise. Anddd I’m currently working on another picture book idea, and playing with a MG idea. 2015 is going to be a busy year!

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Well, I’m preparing for a little DARK DAYS celebration party with friends and family, so there’s A LOT in there right now! Let me see . . . prawns, lemons and limes, strawberries, lots of cheese, raspberry lemonade, mojitos – it’s too stuffed to see much deeper without knocking it all out!

If you were to purchase a book, do you prefer to buy your books online or in store?
I like to buy in store when I can. It’s a nicer experience. I think I do buy online more often, though. I guess it depends what it is (e.g. US hardbacks).

What are some of the most recent books you’ve bought? 
It was my birthday last week so I got a nice big pile of books – FEATHER BOUND by Sarah Raughley, NEVER FADE by Alexadra Bracken, AFTER THE END by Amy Plum, THE ONE by Kiera Cass, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY by Julie Murphy, BREAKABLE by Tammara Webber, and DEAR KILLER by Katherine Ewell. Awesome haul! 
And I recently bought DIVIDED by Elsie Chapman and CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare for myself. 

List 3 books you have recently read and would recommend?
STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen is one I recommend constantly. It is truly magnificent. I’m obsessed with it. Seriously. I love it so much it hurts. Moving on . . . I would also highly recommend the amazing THE FEARLESS by Emma Pass. The story takes you on an exciting ride and leaves you breathless by the end. It’s thrilling, creepy, and very dark! And I just finished DOROTHY MUST DIE. Danielle Paige creates Dorothy’s unhappily ever after in this spectacularly dark retelling. It’s fantastic!  
Ah! Only three is too hard. Can I do some “honourable mentions”? I’m going for it: FIRE & FLOOD by Victoria Scott and IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta. I’ll stop there. Read them all!

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
New York! So bad! I’ve been to the US plenty times, even to New York airport, but never got the chance to step outside!

And finally, who is your ultimate book boyfriend?
Peeta! It has to be.

AUTHOR BIO:  KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. 

You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).

3 comments:

Natalie Cleary said...

So glad you liked this!! I really enjoyed it too! I agree with the clock at the start because it really amped up the tension. Great review!!
I'd like to ask Kate why she decided on cyborgs?

Kate Ormand said...

Hi Natalie! Thanks for your kind comments!
The cyborgs at the clock were the first parts of the story that came to mind. Out of the blue, it would seem. I was drawn to the cyborgs immediately, knowing how terrifying robots (such as the Terminator) can be. They're difficult to destroy, they don't slow down, they don't feel anything. I wanted to use that vision I had of them marching on the sector, but make it even scarier! ;)

Natalie Cleary said...

I agree about the cyborgs! They gave me chills when I was reading about them! The clock was a brilliant idea as well because every chapter made you realise how little time was left and as you go further into the book, the tenser you feel!!