Book Reviews

Book Review: Sunburn

The renowned children’s author Darren Shan writes books for adults under the name Darren Dash. Sunburn is akin to the horror tales we loved as children but can enjoy as adults.

What is Sunburn about?

Book Cover of Sunburn by Darren Dash

Sunburn follows a trio of 20-somethings on a holiday to Bulgaria. Sick of spending holidays in pubs and partying, Martini wants to experience some culture. She decides to bring her boyfriend, Dominic, and his best friend, Curran, along for an adventure in the wilderness and to soak up new signs. However, the boys, drawn to pubs, put a damper on Martini’s dream holiday and abandon her to drink in the woods with local teenagers. After Curran tries to make a move on the younger sister of one of the locals, the boys are left beaten up, drunk, and naked in the wilderness. Dominic wakes up with Curran nowhere to be found. His search for him leads him somewhere where an evil like no other lurks.

What I thought:

Overall, I liked the book, I enjoyed how he built up the characters enough for you to actually care what happened to them. It’s often the case with horror where the plot and characters are sacrificed for jump scares. What I like about Darren Dash/Shan (and Steven King too), is that they make us care.

He also managed at the same time to build up suspense with the presence and narrative of the monster. There was a perfect balance of horror and good storytelling.

I felt it was a bit too crude for me at times, but I guess monsters are cruel creatures. I still like to read YA, and I think most of that is because adult books go a bit heavy in being allowed to write about sex. This is more of a me thing than an actual reflection on adult fiction.

The ending was also a little too good to be true, but aside from those two points, it was a strong book nonetheless.

If you like Sunburn, I’d also recommend Midsummer’s Bottom and Procession of the Dead.

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