The Dark Days Series Book One

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
278 Pages
Reviewed on 10/05/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Edilyn Trinidad for Readers' Favorite

Christopher Cole’s Outbreak is a novel about Sonny Daniels, a kid who had the misfortune to be alive during a zombie outbreak. Life as he knew it was turned upside down as panic gripped the world, leaving carnage in its wake. In the search for a relatively safe shelter, he had to adapt to survive and watched the plague diminish the population. Outbreak is full of terrifying scenes highlighting the best and worst aspects of humanity at a time of crisis. A break from the typical zombie story, this action-packed novel takes readers through a youngster’s point of view as he forced himself to grow up beyond his years to stay alive. Book 1 of the Dark Days Series is an exciting introduction to Sonny Daniels's dystopian world.

Christopher Cole’s Outbreak is a page-turner! It’s been a terrifying and awesome read for me. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the story did not revolve around the typical military/cop lead character. I loved how Sonny evolved from a sheltered son to a tough young man intent on protecting those he loved while trying to keep his humanity intact. His crash course in survival is chilling and realistic. Outbreak is also full of interesting characters which I’m excited to read more about. Some gripping and gruesome scenes made me bite my nails, they were so intense! It made me think about how I would fare in a zombie apocalypse. I would definitely love to read the next book and can’t wait to discover what becomes of Sonny and his friends.

Christian Sia

Outbreak is the first book in The Dark Days Series by Christopher Cole and it is a wonderful story for fans of young adult science fiction. If you love the zombie apocalypse, then this is a book that will give you a great reading experience. Set in upstate New York, the story follows Sonny Daniels, who wakes up normally and quickly discovers that a new existential threat hovers over the city. Instead of sleeping during the summer vacation, he and his family as well as friends are confronted with a deadly outbreak that is changing people into zombies. They need to get to the checkpoint as quickly as possible. With the increasing number of zombies, his parents arrange for him and his friends to escape to Fort Denver on a military plane. But when the base is overrun by zombies, can they survive and what protection can Sonny offer his friends?

I have always loved stories that are well-written in prose that is fluid and a style that is atmospheric, and Christopher Cole delivers. From the start, the conversations as well as the descriptions fit into a normal family setting. But the conflict is introduced very soon and lives are upended. The crisis is well-described and the characters are real, facing the odds to survive. The story is filled with pulsating action, a plot that is ingeniously written, and characters that feel real. Outbreak is a novel that melds different genres — coming-of-age, dystopian, and science fiction. The characters are rock-solid and readers will be rooting for the young protagonist as they watch him and his friends struggle to survive in a world of chaos.

Vincent Dublado

Outbreak is the first installment in Christopher Cole’s “Dark Days” series. This novel is written from the first-person point of view of its main protagonist, Sonny Daniels. The story begins with an uncontrolled disease rapidly spreading across the state of New York that blows up into a widespread epidemic. This turns anyone infected into one of the living dead. Daniels will not only struggle to survive against this menace, but he will also contend with emotional and mental struggles to protect the people he loves. As if zombies are not enough, bandits add to the problems as the world becomes a dog-eat-dog place. At his parents’ behest, he will travel halfway across the country by plane to Fort Denver Colorado on a military plane along with Ashley and Carrie, his orphaned childhood friends. But Fort Denver, despite its fences and firepower, is not enough to hold against a massive zombie attack. Left to fend for themselves in a desolate wasteland along with other desperate survivors, Daniels will exhaust any means necessary to protect his childhood friends.

Christopher Cole’s tension-infused narrative is filled with plans and preparations against a zombie attack, which a reader would expect in such a story. As Outbreak upholds the tradition of keeping the zombie genre alive, this story will likely spark your imagination to create your own zombie apocalypse team: You designate who among your friends will be the medic, the strategist, the fighter, and who dies first. It is a strangely entertaining read that will make you wonder if the current global pandemic could lead to this. For anyone who has a taste for zombie thrillers, Outbreak will not disappoint as it reads like a cross between I am Legend and World War Z.

Romuald Dzemo

Outbreak is a spellbinding opening in The Dark Days Series by Christopher Cole and a wonderful read for fans of young adult science fiction. Sonny Daniels wakes up to a normal day and within a few hours, everything changes. There is an outbreak turning normal people into zombies. When their base is attacked, Sonny’s parents arrange for him and his childhood friends, Ashley and Carrie, to be flown to Fort Denver, Colorado on a military plane. But then Fort Denver is eventually overrun by zombies and Sonny finds himself fighting to survive as well as protect his friends. Can they make it despite the odds that are stacked against them?

The first thing that pulled me into this story is the author’s great storytelling skills. The protagonist is a young character who is looking forward to “sleeping in” because it is already summer vacation, but soon everything changes and he finds himself in a struggle to survive the unspeakable. I loved the way this character is developed and how the author writes his relationship with his parents and his friends. It is interesting to follow the characters as they learn to stand up for each other and to be creative as they face the onslaught from zombies. The narrative is filled with realism and humanity and the characters capture the sympathy of readers. The writing is impeccably good and the imagery takes on a life of its own in the pages. Outbreak is a wonderful story that made me long to read the next books in the series.

Rabia Tanveer

Outbreak is the first book in The Dark Days Series by Christopher Cole. Living in upstate New York becomes hell when a zombie outbreak wreaks havoc on the lives of Sonny Daniels and his parents. Families are evacuated from their homes, and they now have to live in communes out of the reach of these mindless creatures. The illusion of peace shatters when his parents send him off to Fort Denver, Colorado, along with his childhood friends, Carrie and Ashley, in the hopes of keeping them safe. However, that turns out to be a pipe dream. Zombies attack Fort Denver and soon Sonny and his friends are out there alone and scared out of their minds. They have to do whatever it takes to stick together and protect each other in this chaotic world. But what can these young children do against rabid zombies?

Outbreak is a unique coming of age story that gets raw and heavy pretty quickly. The flow of the narrative is phenomenal, and Christopher Cole does a great job of keeping the pace fast while ensuring his characters get enough time to grow. Sonny is a natural leader; he is the kind of character that leaves a lasting impression on readers. There is an innocence in Sonny, Carrie, and Ashley, and the author capitalizes on that well. They mature quickly, but I am glad that they kept their innocence too. The bond between them feels real, and the natural dynamic between the three is interesting. I am sure as more books are published we will see these three characters turn into heroes that save the world. The plot itself is very powerful, something that young adult readers will enjoy. This is a page-turner and I cannot wait for the next novel in the series.