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Intriguing ARC Review: Dark Age by Naif Makmi

About Dark Age by Naif Makmi

Dark Age by Naif Makmi
In this dystopia, artificial intelligence has taken over society, and enslaved humans are bred like cattle and relegated to work extenuating jobs under the watchful eyes of their facility masters.
The feared Dylan is the head of Armageddon, a large human prison and experiment facility. He runs the compound with an iron fist and does not refrain from using violence to separate children from their parents to be sold to the highest bidder, or from pouring arsenic into the wounds of uncooperative slaves. The ground floor – known as the “torture” one – is his personal playground.
However, Dylan is human and, as adamantly as he deems his kin to be flawed, soft and imperfect in comparison to the AIs he masterfully creates, his traumatic past catches up to him when he meets a strong-willed human slave that challenges his authority. Vivien refuses to be called ‘120’, her assigned number. Kind and caring of her fellow enslaved humans in Armageddon, she does not hold back from rushing in the aid of her closest friend, Derek, and standing her ground against Dylan’s orders.
A wrathful Dylan commands unspeakable punishments to be administered to both, but cannot get 120 off his mind. When he realizes she might be a useful instrument to face the imminent attack by his nemesis, Phineas, his encounters with Vivien draw the two closer. When the compound is ambushed and the two are separated from one another, Dylan is sent to a labor camp where he finally experiences the horrors that he had previously inflicted on his kin; although under the stress of his childhood memories and overworked by the guards, he is sure he will find a way to track down Vivien.
Embark in a dark age where obscure undertones permeate the lives of those held against their will in a positivist society that turns a blind eye to expendable assets such as human lives.

Dark Age Review

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I was compensated by the author for writing this review. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are based on my honest personal experience reading the book. Nor did the author in any way shape or form ever pressure me to give a positive review.

3.8 stars. 

Dark Age takes place in a bleak dystopian future where artificial intelligence overtook society and relegates human lives. Think of the really prevalent AI taking over the world fear that people commonly have these days, this book is pretty much the epitome of that. The story revolves around the oppressive Armageddon facility that is ruled with brutal efficiency by the feared overseer, Dylan. In this nightmarish world, enslaved humans are stripped of their identities, referred to only by numbers, and subjected to inhumane conditions.

Our plot catalyst occurs when Dylan encounters a defiant human slave named Vivien, who refuses to accept her assigned number, ‘120’. Vivien, as resilient and compassionate as she is, tries very hard to lead her fellow slaves to challenge Dylan’s authority. Sparking a complex and tumultuous relationship. As the story unfolds, the plot thickens with the looming threat of an attack by Dylan’s nemesis, Phineas. We follow down a path of violence and romance in this technologically advanced and apocalyptic futuristic world. The juxtaposition of violence, humanoid robots, self-operated drones, and the possibility of love creates an inviting atmosphere.

Dark Age is a very easy-to-digest dystopian AI story. The book’s conciseness and condensed chapter lengths made the narrative more fast-paced and therefore easier to get through. Contrary to longer more grandiose works with similar themes and stories out there, Dark Age takes a more manageable direction by concentrating on humanity’s plan to fight AI dominance with its quicker pacing.

One fun thing I came across was the many traditional “villain speeches” in the book. There were a lot of “ha, you didn’t expect me to be alive did you” moments that I found pretty funny (I do apologize if it’s not the author’s intention, it’s just the way the dialogue written almost made me imagine them bursting out with a dramatic body language and confetti). Even if they occasionally verge on cliché, these scenes provide the plot drama and tension. These speeches, in which the adversaries proclaim their fortitude and newly discovered power, are useful story devices and aids for character growth.

But an issue I have in the book is actually the romance between Dylan and Vivien, I felt like their interactions were a bit awkward and there wasn’t a lot of chemistry between them. The development of their romance could’ve been better paced too in my opinion.

Ultimately, the riveting narrative of this AI apocalyptic book keeps you reading to its unexpected and suspenseful finish. Without giving anything away, it’s safe to state that the book ends on a cliffhanger and a “bad” ending that defies readers’ expectations. The suspense of the novel lingers in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned because of the engaging storytelling, which keeps them looking forward to the next chapter. This unpredictable and suspenseful writing style was what kept my attention to the conclusion.

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About the Author of Dark Age

Fantasy, science-fiction, and thriller writer Naif Makmi lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he is known for his extremely imaginative fantasy, sci-fi and game writing, he is a cofounder of the Game Legends Studio. His science fiction debut novel 2059, a mind-blowing post-apocalyptic sci-fi, packed with action and adventure, alien contact and zombies is now gaining momentum on Amazon and other book sellers worldwide. 

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