Dark magic has infiltrated the Dark Net. Which makes sense… since technology has brought forth progress, so has the power to bring forth destruction and chaos. The Dark Net is where criminals can flourish, conduct business, and satisfy their depravity. But now it is also a place where demons can possess you. A 12-year-old blind girl is the only person who can save Portland and the world from a virus that can cause one to kill and maim in a rage, just by looking at their screen, an action done by most 20-30 times a day. The girl, with her Luddite aunt, a man on the supernatural “spectrum” who can come back to life, a couple of hackers, and a dog are the only ones standing between the demons and the apocalypse.
More below on The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy.
Benjamin Percy’s very original internet horror captivates from the start. Creating a demonic virus where your electronics can possess you is a perfect storyline in our current technology-obsessed world. Each of the characters, even those in just “guest star” status, make you care about them in a matter of a few pages.
His use of language grosses you out appropriately with vivid imagery:
He hacks up a few flies. They ooze down his chest, sleeved in a yellowish drool that they crawl from.
Ewww… and nice!
One criticism (and maybe it is sort of a compliment) is that the first half of the book felt very fleshed out, while the second half seemed a little too quick. I cared about these characters, the relationships were interestingly horrifying as well as lovely (in the case of Lela and Hannah), and the buildup was perfect. I wanted them not to figure out what to do so quickly. While the ending was sickeningly gratifying, I wanted more obstacles and roadblocks. I needed like 15 percent more book before we got to the inevitable really good ending.
Hell on earth is only one click of a mouse away”¦
The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now an ancient darkness is gathering there as well. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew:
Twelve-year-old Hannah — who has been fitted with the Mirage, a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness– wonders why she sees shadows surrounding some people.
Lela, a technophobic journalist, has stumbled upon a story nobody wants her to uncover.
Mike Juniper, a one-time child evangelist who suffers from personal and literal demons, has an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he runs.
And Derek, a hacker with a cause, believes himself a soldier of the Internet, part of a cyber army akin to Anonymous.
They have no idea what the Dark Net really contains.
Set in present-day Portland, The Dark Net is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in, a timely and wildly imaginative techno-thriller about the evil that lurks in real and virtual spaces, and the power of a united few to fight back.