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Darkside: Book 1 Hardcover – February 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Series: Darkside (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; First US Edition edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545037395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545037396
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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One may wonder how a place can change so much, especially since the Victorian Age.
London, England, is known around the world for its historical sites and tourist attractions, as well as for its thriving metropolitan atmosphere.
Teen Reads
Darkside is an easy to read, attention-grabbing work that will keep teen readers interested and looking forward to the next book in the series.
Armchair Interviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on February 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jonathan Starling cannot remember his mother, and his father barely speaks to him when they pass each other in the hall. Most of his father's time is spent in the study, behind the only locked door in the house. Jonathan would give anything to get into that room and find out what keeps his father in such a secretive state of mind. That is, until the day his father is placed in an asylum and Jonathan finds himself trapped in the very room he wanted to enter. Barricading himself behind the door to escape the claws of his attacker, Jonathan calls his only friend, Mrs. Elwood, for help.

Finding an old photograph of his mother in the study prompts Jonathan to follow mysterious clues his father has scribbled on little scraps of paper, tucked away in ragged books. A rare text located in the British Library gives Jonathan the nudge he needs to confront his dad about his mother's disappearance and a hidden part of London called Darkside.

As Jonathan visits his father in the hospital where he is recovering from "the darkening," he begins to uncover secrets that will lead him into unraveling the mysteries of his past and ultimately force him to try and save his father's life, and his own.

British author Tom Becker wanted to become an author as soon as he learned to write. At 25 years of age, he has created a wonderful teen novel in his first book, Darkside. From Carnegie, the werewolf detective, to Mrs. Elwood, the neighbor who is more of a mother to Jonathan than a friend, Becker's characters are imaginative and well thought out.

Darkside is an easy to read, attention-grabbing work that will keep teen readers interested and looking forward to the next book in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the book Darkside, Jonathan Starling(a boy who is 14 years old) lives in London, England. He also has never seen his mother. Though he has his dad, Alian Starling and a lady called Mrs. Elwood, his dad never spends time with him. He is always locked up in his study room which Jonathan has never been in before. Since his dad never really comes out of the study room,(except to go to the bathroom and maybe grab some food) Mrs. Elwood drives him to the places he needs to go. Sometimes, Jonathan doesn't even know that his dad is there.
One day, Alian got ill(which is quite normal for him) and got taken to the hospital,so Jonathan wanted to go look in his father's study room. He knew that if anyone had gone in and his dad found out, he would get mad because all of his personal items are inside here. So Jonathan knew Alian would be at the hospital for a while, so he took a look inside.
There were so many things in there. Although everything was scattered, all the important things really stood out to him. He look through one of his books which had details on a book in the London Public Library. It gave a good amount of information about Darkside.(a place where everything is very dangerous) There are ordinary place in London(which are located in the book) where one from "Lightside"(the normal world) can cross to Darkside. But at the library where Jonathon Starling was reading the book, an undercover bounty hunter named Marianne sent from Darkside by Grimshaw(a vampire) is supposed to capture Jonathan Starling and Ricky Thomas.(who has also crossed from "Lightside") Now they try to make their way to escape Darkside alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Bennett VINE VOICE on March 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book. It took no time to finish it (probably because I didn't want to put it down). The story takes place in London. There are two places to live in London. One is the Darkside and the other is the Lightside. Usually everyone lives in the Lightside. Most people don't even know of the Darkside and the ones that do tend to go a little crazy. Darkside was made a long time ago when they decided to get rid of all the 'bad' people. Now it's a very scary and dangerous place to go especially for a Lightsider. But Jonathan has to do just that. There he meets many interesting people/creatures, has many close brushes with death and is on the most scary adventures of his life.
This is the first book of what I'm sure to be a wonderful series. If you like a bit of horror and something that gives you chills in the night, then you'll love this book. Not for the timid though.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Picture a windy dark night. The rain is hammering against the house. The lights are flickering from the wind pounding the power lines. The rest of the house is asleep. The clock slowly inches towards 2:00am.

Does that catch your attention? Well, I had to set the mood for how I found myself last night with the horrible weather and DARKSIDE in my hands. I had spent the better part of the day in bed with a migraine. So, finally feeling better, the rest of the family was asleep, and I was wide awake. And in more ways than one.

DARKSIDE had my pulse racing from page one, and with the weather conditions going on outside, I wasn't sure if I should keep reading or put the book down and wait until the sun came out the next day. But I was already wrapped up in the developing story of Jonathan Starling and his journey to Darkside.

Jonathan is fourteen, a loner, and can pretty much do as he pleases. His father is often hospitalized for what he calls "the darkening," leaving Jonathan to fend for himself. After his father's latest hospital admission, Jonathan and their neighbor, Mrs. Elwood, venture off to find Carnegie.

Jonathan has never heard of this Mr. Carnegie before, and Mrs. Elwood is evasive. Driving toward the Thames River, Mrs. Elwood's car is attacked. The passenger door is literally ripped off the side of the car. Mrs. Elwood tells Jonathan to run, and the heart-pounding adventure begins.

Jonathan has investigated his father's study (which he has usually found locked) and discovered references to this Darkside. His father has never mentioned it before, and Jonathan can only surmise it is the reason behind his dad's illness. Following hints he's uncovered, he is able to find his way to Darkside and to the well known Mr. Carnegie.
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