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Darkest Hour Paperback – March 7, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Russo writes an engaging, high adventure story featuring a well-intentioned, likeable young heroine. Briley is courageous and loyal, and her open-mindedness allows her to identify and confront injustice. This story is a great mix of action and teamwork, although the author missed the opportunity to fully flush out the group dynamics of the pilots. This doesn't detract from the overall novel, however. Briley is a true role model through and through."
SUMMARY: Teenaged Briley Bannatyne escapes her provincial life in rural England to pursue her dream of flying for her country. Against her mother's wishes, she takes her brother's place in Britain's Royal Air Militia after he suffers a crippling accident. She battles her way through training by sheer determination and her ability to befriend allies. She graduates just as her country is thrown into war. Briley's flying skills keep her alive in battle, but it is her ability to connect with a downed enemy pilot that helps England win a crucial battle. (DIVERTIR PUBLISHING, LTD., Mar., 230 pp., $9.95)
About the Author
TONY RUSSO was born in Queens, New York. First published in Aboriginal Science Fiction magazine, Mr. Russo was a contributing author for West End Games, LLC, license holder of the official STAR WARS roleplaying game system. He appears in TALES FROM THE EMPIRE, published by Bantam Books. He took 2nd prize in the 2003 New Century Writer Awards for Novels judged by Ray Bradbury. ZAK CORBIN: MASTER OF MACHINES was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards for Young Adult fiction. In March 2016, his teen historical adventure, DARKEST HOUR, will be available through Divertir Publishing.
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Top customer reviews
I think it fair to say at the beginning, I found this book challenging. Initially I believed it to be a work of fiction set against a historical backdrop. However I soon realised I was mistaken as the timelines didn’t work. I then realised I had to suspend reality and start again.
On my second attempt, I was open to all possibilities without worrying too much about the facts fitting. At a pinch, I could also overlook British characters using American-English, such as ‘railcar’ and one telling another to ‘wait up’ as it’s possible in this parallel world, British-English may have disappeared.
The cover has been very well designed and full marks to the illustrator who has created a look of resilient defiance in Riley’s expression, which encapsulates her personality perfectly.
From the outset, Briley is a strong-minded free-thinking person who is determined to not to be pigeonholed by her mother in a gender typical role. She is ably assisted along the way by her supporting cast. We watch the dynamics between the various players unfold and witness ridicule being replaced by respect as she finds her feet among her cohort.
From about half way, the tone changes a little as Briley moves from trainee to qualified pilot in the Air Militia. We see a new found confidence which at times is tested by her feelings of inadequacies which stem from her humble beginning.
The writing style is free-flowing and the structure strong. I was impressed with Briley ‘swearing the filthiest words she knew’, probably far more effective than printing a load of profanity. I also loved the name of the pub near the airbase; ‘The Right Full Rudder’. Russo has a good command of literary devices to get his story across. We have some beautifully descriptive passages, along with a degree of pathos as Briley’s strength of character is tested to the full. The fast-moving pace was consistent throughout with tension and drama aplenty and the plot, whilst quite straightforward, kept me fully engaged.
I have no idea of the skills needed to pilot a vintage plane (or indeed a modern one) so I don’t know how technically accurate the flight and combat scenes were however, they read very well and were a highlight of the book.
This was a fascinating novel. After my initial confusion, I found the idea of an alternative history rather intriguing and commend the author for his innovation. Perhaps a little more depth to explain the fictitious history would help anchor this tale in time and place but nonetheless, Russo has created a very readable story.
As with many books I review, I would not have chosen this genre and I’m clearly not in the author’s target audience but am pleased to have been given the opportunity. Tony Russo is an extremely competent writer, I believe this latest offering will be very well received and I’m delighted it leaves the way open for a sequel. I award ‘Darkest Hour’ four-and-a-half stars.
Reviewed by Julie at Whispering Stories Book Blog
**I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed**
We see headstrong Briley lie her way into the military and put herself out there for failure at every opportunity. She's definitely not a Mary Jane. Not everyone likes her right off the bat. She's a farm girl, she's small, she's born out of poverty, there's probably dung and grass still matted in her hair! Briley is forced to prove she's good enough - that's something we do every day of our lives. Briley even has to prove to HERSELF she's good enough. As a reader, I felt as though I was along for the journey. There was just enough military jargon and plane dynamics to make her world feel real. When she's flying around in the plane, Mr. Russo's description of what she did made sense. I saw her pull the throttle, trying to keep ahead of the crazy flight instructor. I saw the massive city where pilots fly over to salute the residents. I even loved that hint of romance. It was done well without being overwhelming.
To me, believably is my biggest pet peeves. Mr. Russo does that well.
I am a fan - please finish writing book 2 because I want to see what happens - especially between her and that handsome pirate!
...read the complete review at UndergroundBookReviews(dot)org