From School Library Journal
Grade 5–9—In this suspenseful, supernatural tale, Jonathan Starling, 14, has a talent for escaping notice. This ability, combined with his father's inattentive parenting and frequent periods of illness ("darkenings"), makes playing hooky to explore London easy. Then, a frightening home invasion takes him to an unfamiliar part of the city. Pursued by a fluorescent-haired, oddly persuasive bounty hunter and her two henchmen, Jonathan escapes through a gateway into "Darkside." Old and new dangers await him in the sinister, grimy, and hidden place founded by Jack the Ripper. It's populated by supernatural beings and fiendishly evil humans. There, Jonathan befriends the growling (though ultimately good) wereman Carnegie, a vampire's gutsy servant, and a kidnapped teen who shares Jonathan's unique "part-Darksider" heritage. With help from "Lightside" allies, they find their way to safety, but unvanquished dangers suggest that it's temporary. The plot is engaging, but the descriptive prose is Becker's real strength. "Darkside" is imaginative and "Lightside" is a fine description of London. Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere
(HarperCollins, 1997) boasts a dark and dangerous sub-London, but Darkside
is for a younger audience and Becker's shadowed, deviant district stands on its own. Typical of a series, it leaves threads untied, laying the groundwork for future installments.—Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJ
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About the Author
Since Tom Becker learned to hold a pen, he wanted to become a writer. Tom studied history at Oxford University and was inspired by the otherworldly atmosphere of this academic institution. He used to spend long days studying and reading in the University library, but now he spends long days writing. He is the author of the first two books in the Darkside series. His first book in the series, DARKSIDE, was awarded the 2007 Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, which celebrates new talent. He lives in the UK.