Are You Afraid of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon // Book Review
First, Windmills of the Gods and then Are You Afraid of the Dark — two back-to-back books by Sidney Sheldon. While I enjoyed WOFTG, I cannot say the same for AYAOTD.
The biggest reason is that 60% of the book is cat & mouse chase, where cats have magic-like technology, while mouse have God-level luck. In a way, it was a battle between two gods – Technology and Luck. In the end, kindness wins.
A big league think-thank has all the technology, spies around the globe, and networks with powerful people — basically, they are private CIA. On the other hand, there are two recently widowed women who learn a conspiracy theory, but they don’t have proof. The enterprise wishes to eliminate these women. Women keep getting away with it — murder, poison, fire, bombing, accidents, and even gunshots.
How does kindness win in the end? To know that, you have to read the book. Otherwise, it will spoil the only edible part of the book.
Are You Afraid of the Dark set up the story like there will be three women going against a major corporation, taking revenge for their husband’s murder? But what we get is one woman dying easily while the other two keep running and then so stupidly get into the trap of the owner of the corporation.
I was readingthe book, and ion the first sentence I knew this is trap. They know they cannot rely on sound alone — and then they trust the call of a politician they don’t even know. She made it so easier to not trust her – as she called them to come to a vacant villa out of the city. They gladly follow.
Sidney Sheldon throws the established character traits out of the window, and I guess the desperation to finish the novel or find a way to bring everyone under a roof made him do it. At the end of the day, you have to bring the hero and villain against each other in a room so the villain can explain the plan and the reader can also learn it.
Sidney Sheldon follows the template, and it really crushes the story at the end. The women take the spotlight in the book but do nothing. Their contribution is valueless to the entire story. May be its the subversion of expectation, who knows?? However, the story takes itself so seriously, so I cannot say it’s subversion.
I mean, you follow the hero’s journey. During the confrontation, the villain kills the hero. While leaving the building, the villain dies in an accident. Would you say this is a good ending?
It seems like the author looted the reader from the finale… The hero deserves their heroic save after going through all the struggle. The struggle that does not translate to fruition is too real to be fiction.
But it was fast. It keeps you turning the pages, as it should, because it is a Sidney Sheldon novel. The writing is crisp, and Sidney Sheldon does not believe in prose. He believes in page-turners, and he succeeds in it every time.
Plus, he likes the action, not the emotion. He does not say the girl was afraid, but he shows the girl was screaming when the light was turned off. Many authors fail to do this, and some overdo it, making the book caricature of the story instead of a story.
Do I recommend Are You Afraid of the Dark novel?
Yes, I do. But if you have a choice, avoid it. Sidney is not at his best in this one. He seems lazy and tired, just wanting to finish it somehow.