Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars
The protagonist’s name in “Not Dark Yet” is Brandon Minamoto. If you’re going to read this book, remember that because it is only mentioned in the very first sentence of the very first chapter. In fact, I thought the main character was nameless throughout until I read someone else’s review and they said his name was Brandon. I had to actually do a search of the ebook to see if the author actually did name him. I can’t recall how far into the book I had read before I realized that I didn’t know this man’s name, but I do recall finally getting the style of the prose after I realized he was repeatedly not named. It’s an interesting style and it reflects nicely the nothingness feeling of the character. Until that point, I was quite confused and it was an ah ha moment that made me enjoy the novel much more than I otherwise would have.
The setting is somewhere in the near future and the planet is beginning to reap the whirlwind of global warming. States and countries are mostly a thing of the past, though governments still exist. Food and water shortages are rampant. Riots are a daily occurrence. The weather grows more unpredictable and more violent. This is the world that Brandon is floating through.
The novel starts with a jumble of stories from random moments in Brandon’s life. Only with some thought can you later piece together those snippets into some sort of chronological order. By the end, the pieces are all there to figure out, but it’s quite the jumble. The problem is there’s not much reason for you to want to care about reassembling the jumble since nothing really exciting happens throughout the book to make you want to care. If you bother, you will see that despite the book’s bleak ending, the real ending is possibly hopeful.
Despite the zero-sum nature of the novel, I found it enjoyable to read, if slightly disappointing given the abundant attention to detail without the corresponding fleshing out of any real connection of the main character to anyone or anything. For that reason, it’s difficult to recommend the book to those who are looking for a more novelistic read. If upon reading my review, it still sounds worth it, I don’t think you will be disappointed reading it.