Initiate of Darkness

From the Darkness

Fiction - Horror
311 Pages
Reviewed on 04/08/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Initiate of Darkness (From the Darkness) by Barb Shadow is suspenseful horror fiction. Olivia is close to her foster brother, Seth, and always has been. But when his friend dies, Seth struggles to cope, becoming angry and depressed. Olivia has a fascination with all things paranormal, and when she is given a voice recorder as a gift, she places it in Seth’s room as an experiment. What she hears is enough to convince her that Seth has been taken over by a bad entity, a destructive force that is causing his anger, and only she can save him. When she makes contact with a spirit who says he can help her, she accepts his offer to train her – his name is Black, and he is now Olivia’s most powerful ally. Can they save Seth?

Initiate of Darkness by Barb Shadow is the fifth book in the From the Darkness series. This book can easily be read as a standalone but one of the main characters, the entity called Black, does feature in all the books. The narrative starts strong and just gets stronger as you read. You can’t help but be glued to the pages as the tension ramps up, along with the terror. The characters are great and developed into real people that you can relate to, but whether you’ll be rooting for them or not depends entirely on your perspective. There is plenty of action and suspense in these pages, and I recommend it for those readers who love horror stories with a paranormal twist.

Lex Allen

Seth is struggling with the tragic death of his friend. He's depressed, anxious, and angry, raging at the world in general. Initiate of Darkness, Book 5 in Barb Shadow's From the Darkness series, finds Olivia, Seth's sister, through the foster home system and a student of the paranormal, ghost hunting, and rituals to communicate with the dead, in a paranormal battle against a dark, destructive force that could be at the root of murder and Seth's emotional state. Using an Ouija board, Olivia discovers a spirit that promises to rid her brother of the demonic source of his problems.

It takes a special kind of talent to write a series of novels that allows a reader to jump into the middle of the story and become comfortably embedded in the plotlines and characters within a few pages. Reading Initiate of Darkness, I discovered a surprise in the writing style that worked contrary to editorial norms: sentences that do not always conform to the standard noun, verb, adverb, preposition, etc. The effect creates a sense of reality in dialogue between several often competing characters to get a word in, or typical of a group "talking at the same time." Though Initiate of Darkness is clearly in the middle of a continuing series, it does stand alone while simultaneously urging the reader to continue with the next book or even go back and start at the beginning. In Initiate of Darkness, author Barb Shadow has written a piece of a continuing horror story that creates all the emotional and scary facets of the genre while avoiding the blood and guts typical of the typical demonic/slash horror genre style. As such, this fits perfectly into the young adult reading market.

Laura R. Brush

In Initiate of Darkness, Barb Shadow weaves a narrative around an unspoken bond between Olivia and her foster brother, Seth. However, a malevolent shadow has latched onto Seth after the untimely demise of his best friend. Beset by depression, desperation clings to him. His once vibrant world is now muffled by a grey veil of anxiety and rage. While Seth suffers, Olivia has a deep-seated fascination with the ethereal, an unwavering zeal for pursuing phantoms, and a scholarly interest in arcane ceremonies to commune with the dead. When she stumbles upon an Ouija board brought to her home by a mysterious newcomer, Olivia breaks through the veil between worlds. A spirit presents her with a path to liberate Seth and guides her to expand her latent powers. No longer a bystander to her brother's suffering, Olivia embraces her newfound potency. Yet with each incantation and flicker of the unseen, questions linger: what cost will be exacted by this dark assistant?

The supremely talented Barb Shadow displays how Olivia musters inner strength and ingenuity as she tackles disturbing situations arising from Seth’s distress. Shadow paints a vivid and troubled picture of the siblings’ unsettled agitation. Initiate of Darkness is a testament to the author's ability to weave a dynamic and enthralling story. It is a tale that triumphs in suspense, a gripping journey to the heart of a dark and mysterious essence. Through layers of emotional entanglements and duplicity, the author guides readers with a deft hand, ensuring they are utterly entranced until the story's breathtaking conclusion. Each page demonstrates the author's exquisite storytelling prowess and envelops readers in a world that both dazzles and thrills.