The Dark Cygnet Files

The Dark Cygnet Files by J.E. Clarkson
The Dark Cygnet Files by J.E. Clarkson

4 stars

The fourth installment in the Nemo & Company series, this book delves into The Cleaner’s family history. I liked that we learn more about The Cleaner and other characters in the series. In this book, we get some answers. Or, at least we think we do, as I’m never quite sure with this series what’s reality or what I’ll discover later was only a mirage.

“You always think you have more time in this life than you actually have.”

J.E. Clarkson, The Dark Cygnet Files

The storyline has evolved way beyond the original book. What started as a story about a woman working for an anonymous boss at a mysterious company has exploded into a haunting technothriller series about deception, a secret society, conspiracy, and deep mistrust. 

Can we spend a moment appreciating the breakneck pacing present in all of the books in the Nemo & Co series? Short chapters packed with action and intrigue always have me feeling like I can’t gobble up each book fast enough.

In The Dark Cygnet Files, like the other books in the series, the characters are constantly making their way through a maze of confusion and furiously trying to escape the present. And, again, readers are left with so many questions. Who will survive? And, will we ever learn The Cleaner’s name?

This is a series that definitely needs to be read in order, so be sure to start with The Vanishing Office. As for me, I already downloaded book number 5 – I will be seeing this series through until the end.

The Sky Looked the Same by Marissa Dike

4 out of 5 stars

The cover of The Sky Looks the Same displayed on an e-reader placed on a pink and blue blanket.

Set 60 years in the future, The Sky Looked the Same is told through the main character Mia’s diary entries. After defending her friends turns into a violent situation, sixteen-year-old Mia is sentenced to 30 years for her crimes.

However, in the world Dike has created, instead of serving time, convicts have time taken away from them by undergoing an aging process. Readers follow the first year of Mia’s life after her sentencing. 

Through its exploration of aging, death, and the human need for love, friendship, and forgiveness, this memorable book can be depressing at times (despite its cheery yellow cover). The short journal entry storytelling style helped keep the heavy story moving at a good pace. I also appreciated the poetry that is interspersed throughout the book. 

I fell in love with Dike’s writing style after reading her debut work, Liam’s Town. Her writing has an incredible depth and vulnerability to it that was also present in this novel.

One of the lines from The Sky Looked the Same that resonated with me was about how much an individual can endure in their lifetime. “It’s just a reminder that even strong things can break,” she writes.

The book has some triggering content, including references to a racial slur and rape/incest.

Marissa Dikes books are available for purchase through her website, www.writingmarissa.com.

Thank you to the author and to BookSirens for providing a free e-ARC. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Vanishing Office by J.E. Clarkson

The Vanishing Office by J.E. Clarkson

The Vanishing Office is the second book I’ve read by Clarkson. The first was The Lamb, a murder mystery. 

While The Vanishing Office, a dystopian thriller, is quite different from The Lamb in terms of genre, subject matter, and tone, Clarkson’s distinctive voice and intriguing writing style are still there.

In The Vanishing Office, an unnamed female protagonist is hired as a cleaner for Nemo and Company, where she receives assignments by text, doesn’t know any of her co-workers, and her work is shrouded in secrecy for unclear reasons. 

I thought I would hate the concept of a story being told from the point of view of a nameless lead character, but it actually worked really well. It forces the reader to almost assume the identity of The Cleaner and feel her emotions as she tries to understand what is happening around her and decipher what is real and what isn’t. 

The reader could really feel her struggle and relate to her realization that “sometimes it’s a good idea not to argue too hard with them. As long as you know what’s going on in your head, that’s all that matters.”

One of the scariest elements of the book is that, with a society that revolves around alternate facts and an isolating, impersonal work environment, there are points where it is easy to forget it is supposed to be dystopian. 

The one drawback to the book is that there are a few typos and formatting issues. Personally, these didn’t take away from the reading experience or the overall message.

I’ve already downloaded and started reading The Ghost Society, the second installment in the Nemo & Co series. To read my review of The Ghost Society, visit this link.

The Vanishing Office is available on Amazon in several formats.