“I live in Blackbrooke and you would have had to be living under a rock to never have heard of it before now. This town is different to most others… Humans aren’t the only residents…”
The residents of Blackbrooke share their town with the Creatures, or Crits as they are known. Grotesque, roaming the streets at night looking for food, their presence means humans have to live by the Rules, keeping them indoors and forbidding them of basic desires. The most important Rule? Don’t be a ‘walk out’!
Straight-A student, Liberty Connor, hates the Crits and the endless Rules she and her tight knit group of friends have to live by. Planning her new life on the Outside with her boyfriend, Gabriel, Liberty whiles away her days waiting to turn 18, so they can leave and be free. That is, until the world she thinks she knows begins to unravel…
Her friends start to walk out. So she’s told. However, something’s not right. Things don’t add up. Liberty faces a race against time to discover what’s going on with the Creatures of Blackbrooke. Is it them she has to fear, or something much closer to home?
Blackbrooke. A town hidden away from the outside world. One surrounded by a deep forest and thick security walls. One where the residents have to abide by certain rules. No going out after dark. Hair tidied into a bun. Blinds kept closed after dark. And what happens if they do ‘walk out’ and venture into the woodland areas? The ‘Crits’ await them; ready to gobble them up for supper like the scary greedy animals that they are.
Blackbrooke is a very clever book. I believe it’s full of metaphors. I think that the restricted nature of the community represented a prison, an institution, or even, or some other deeper level, society constrictions. I thought that the rules imposed upon the young people perhaps represent how some young folk could feel stifled and restricted by parental pressures, peer pressure and society pressure. There was a claustrophobic feel to the community.
Added to that was the creepiness of the Crits. When reading, I found myself looking over my shoulder at times, as though I’d glimpse one of those salivating horrid creatures watching me.
Then there were the number of young folk who ‘walked out’, tired of the confines and giving in, knowing that a simple step outside would throw them into a quick escape to the hands of the Crits. Surely the writer was referring to unfortunate suicide attempts amongst youngsters? The temptation to ‘walk out’ was also experienced by Liberty after disappointment in love. Perhaps the writer was expressing the absolute pain and despair that first love can bring.
Does this all sound doom and gloom? No, not at all. This is an adventure tale, each chapter throwing up another twist. The heroine Liberty Connor, has a lot of work to do, unearthing secrets and trying to get to the bottom of some mysterious goings-on. There’s romance along the way, with sensual scenes which are tastefully done.
Written in an intimate yet fresh voice, this moves along at a great pace. A must for young adult readers – your next adventure begins here!