Dark War: Revelation
When I saw Mark Walker’s Dark War series, I knew I had to read it. This was something. This was a supernatural WW3-finally the zombie sorceresses were in their element! The first installment, Revelation, was a real interesting book, but fell slightly short.
This is a strange book. The story as a whole is a desperately needed reimagining of the genre, but some of its parts, if taken totally in isolation, would resemble a formulaic Fulda Gap tale. A gritty Red Army-level one rather than a Team Yankee style action-adventure one, but still not the most original, if it wasn’t for the monsters.
But the monsters make it stand out. Unfortunately, they don’t really stand out on their own-these are very much run of the mill daylight-vulnerable vampires and silver-vulnerable werewolves.
Sadly, this has lots of rivet-counting details and the occasional inaccuracy. The conventional, non-supernatural WW3 battles are decently written, but suffer from the common problem of not being integrated into a cohesive whole that much. The whole story has a little too many rivets for its own good-too many tank gun descriptions and the like. Not too many, but still a little annoyingly.
Come on. It’s a supernatural thriller. It feels off to argue “plausibility”.
Ok, the plot and characters are rather jumbled. The prose is kind of clunky and a little too tell-not-showing. More importantly, the horror elements and the “World War III” elements aren’t mixed well. The horror parts are basically genre cliché and there isn’t really any lasting gimmick beyond “there’s vampires and werewolves in WW3 Germany”.
When the supernatural parts are mixed with the exploding tanks, they do well. But too often they aren’t mixed as much as they should be.
The Only Score That Really Matters
This achieves more than the sum of its parts by having the audacity to combine the two very, very different genres together. The pieces by themselves are not the best, though not unreadable either. It’s basically a decent but formulaic WW3 combat tale and a decent but formulaic monster horror tale smashed together like two armored divisions in a meeting engagement on the North German Plain.
But from the novelty factor alone, it becomes worthwhile. The genre needs all the shakeups it can get, and it’s an amusing, entertaining cheap thriller if nothing else.