This Time of Darkness
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This Time of Darkness

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  291 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Eleven-year-old Amy lives in a decaying underground city. Ignored by her mother and under surveillance by authorities because she can read, Amy reluctantly finds herself befriending Axel, a strange boy who claims to have come from a mythical place called Outside.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 14th 2003 by Starscape Books (first published 1980)
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Issendai
This book introduced me to arcologies and dystopias back when I was too young to have heard either word, and long, long before dystopias became a Thing in YA fiction. It changed my internal landscape forever.

The story is good--about 3.5 stars' worth on plot alone--and it holds up to the test of time. But the world...? Splendid. Using characters' own observations and vivid memories, Hoover paints a picture of a cramped, stifling, stinking city where children are taught by computer in classrooms t...more
Bill
Aug 28, 2012 Bill added it
I was poking around old children's literature for my niece a couple of months ago when I remembered this book. I must have read it sometime in elementary, and it made a strong impression on me. I googled something like "underground city children's book" and boom - there it was. Out of print, so I ordered an old library hardcover copy off of Amazon.

This Time Of Darkness is about a young girl named Amy who lives in an enormous city of the far future, who has never seen the outside world. She has l...more
Jessie
This book launched my love of all things dystopian. I feel like I owe a lot of my geekery to Helen Mary Hoover. I even took the time to track this one down with my grade school librarian years later so I could own it.
The plot is a familiar one, about some kids who live in a regimented, caste-based society. I remember that what really got me was that they weren't allowed to read books. It was like a nightmare to me.
Thanks, Ms. Hoover, you totally helped me on my path to book nerddom.
Joleen
Let me give you some background on this book. Back when i was in 5th grade my teacher, Mrs. Kofford read this book to us after lunch each day. I remember loving it, I remember laying my head on my desk, closing my eyes and just loosing myself in the story. She never read long enough for me. Anyway, I actually ran into her this summer and asked her what book that was. She didn't remember the title off the top of her head, but she was kind enough to call me once she got to school.

I have re-read t...more
Diana Welsch
I frequent sites and groups where people ask for help in identifying forgotten book titles from pieces of plots they remember. When someone's memory is "A kid lives in an underground world and escapes to the surface for the first time," there are a few things it could be. Journey Outside by Mary Q. Steele comes up a lot. Zilpha Keatley Snyder's And All Between also fits. And then there's This Time of Darkness. The cover is kinda cheesy, but the story is a very surprisingly mature, dark, and comp...more
Melissa Faith
This was probably the first dystopic fiction I ever read, when I was about 8. I gave it 5 stars because it changed my life forever, but upon reread some parts were rough and if it was my first read, I'd not be as pleased (though the story/world are captivating). I "lost" this book for 20 some-odd years, but the "whatwasthatbook" livejournal community scrounged up the title for me last month <3 Hilarious note: the last paragraph starts out like "Amy woke up from her daydream..." Well at the be...more
Lee Anne
One of my all-time-favorite books! This book might be the first dystopian fantasy I ever read and set the standard for all books of that genre that I've read since. I have re-read it and found it to still be captivating. I've read several books that use the same general theme, but none of them have been better than this one. Because it was the first? Because it really is better? I don't know... but it is a great story!
Erin
May 23, 2008 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anybody who loves a good dystopia
Maybe I'm biased because this book made an indelible impression on me in in middle school, but I just recently reread it, and in terms of writing and atmosphere it is what _The Sky Inside_ could have been, and isn't, quite.
Stacy Fischer
I loved this book enough in grade school to write to the author....and she wrote back!!! And sent me a small teddy bear to boot. I can't express how excited my inner child still is!
Alexandra Moss
LOVED this in elementary school. Been trying to figure out what the title was for ages and finally found it!
Stormclouds
My favourite book ever.
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nakee
Jun 10, 2010 Nakee added it
How I came across this book was actually by my teacher Mr. Smith. at the very beginning of the year, I didnt have one to read during SSR (Student Silent Reading). I started reading the book with very little interest because I don't read fictional books. As I read through the book page by page, I'm getting drowned in with suspence wondering about what was going to happen next. In about the middle of the book, I thought about what if our world was just like theirs in the book; a whole totally diff...more
Claire
I bought this book from a book sale at our local library as I was a fan of H M Hoover's works. Since then, it has been read and re-read. The themes in this book, like so many of her's, appeal to old and young alike. The escape of Axel and Amy to a life beyond the city is fast paced and cannot be put down. As each revelation unfolds, I found myself hooked. It is a shame that such a wonderful, beautiful book is no longer in print. I highly recommend this story
Dan
Another fun little read. It’s the story of a girl who has lived in a filthy, dark, underground city all her life and longs to see the fabled “outside”. With the help of a kid who was originally from the outside, they attempt to escape the only world she’s ever known. Fairly common theme in sci-fi, but it was well done and had me flipping the pages as fast as I could to find out how it ended (it’s short enough that I could read it in one sitting: 161 pages). The first half of the book was exactly...more
Romancefantasy Ebookmaven
This is my favorite childhood book. I loved this book so much I read it quite often. I always get transported away to a world where kids can outsmart the adults and make their own way in a world that doesn't make sense to them.

This is a grand adventure set in a science fiction setting that has themes I'm not sure the very young will understand but if you're into science fiction and fantasy then you may enjoy it.

Little Amy and Axel form a wonderful alliance in which they are both in search of s...more
Sarah
(This review may contain spoilers).

I read this book when I was quite young. As I recall, I originally got it off a website called SwapitShop. I just re-read it and found it as good as I remember.

Although the writing is quite simplistic, since it is a children's book, I thought that the main characters were well-developed. There were some surprises, but Amy's compassion did seem to make sense. The author did a good job of showing how different their upbringing was - how each of them was ignorant...more
Peggy Bechko
Young adult novel - highly recommended to me - hope I like it - starts out very well.

And continued from there. The Author did a great job with action scenes and the story overall. It was a fairly short book, a quick, excellent read involving 11-year-old Amy who lives in a decaying underground city. She's ignored and unwanted by her mother and constant under surveillance by the "authorities" because she can read. When she meets and befriends Axel, a boy who claims to have come from "outside" the...more
Mike Henry
Not a bad book. Sometimes you want a book you don't need to think about, but also has a story to keep you hooked. I found this book in a free box.

Key points: its set in the near-future, the protagonist lives in an under ground city and day dreams about going outside, a boy claims to be from the outside... you get the picture. Simple enough plot.

From page 120:
"She didn't want to talk about it. There was no reason for Axel to care, and somehow, when you told something that mattered very much to...more
Emily Crow
I used to love this author when I was in junior high, and this book was one of my favorites. In the future, people live underground, in a mechanized, consumer-driven world. (Propaganda piped in to the protagonists' mother: "Things never disappoint. Only people disappoint.") The main character decides to flee, joining forces with an abused boy. Will they find the Outside? If so, will it be worth the journey?

Looking back, I see that there was nothing really original in this plot, but the story and...more
Chris
A YA dystopian that can be enjoyed by all ages. I absolutely loved it!!!
June
Jan 04, 2010 June rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle-schoolers & up
Recommended to June by: Elissa
Shelves: sciencefiction
This was a very quick read, though parts were so depressing I would take brief breaks from it. However, I figure a book is at least 4 stars if I read it in a day, even if it is only 161 pages.

Passages that stand out in my mind.

"I've been scared all my life. I'm used to it. If I acted scared I'd never get anything else done. And it wouldn't change anything. Would it? -Amy 11

James, age 29, talking about how the teddy bear given him kept bad dreams away.
Pandora
Amy has lived all her life in the city and knows how to read. All she knows is the city but, she wonders could there be someting else. Then she meets a strange boy named Axel who says he comes from outside. This fires Amy to find out what is outside.


The story has a fast pace that makes it exciting to read. It is though sometimes hard to picture the world of Amy because it is so strange. The ending though is a great payoff.
Karyn
Mar 05, 2009 Karyn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I first remember reading this in first grade and it really, really stuck with me. So much in fact I nabbed it off of Amazon to read again! It wasn't a disappointment, but it did seem a bit trite to an adult mind. But it does cover a great concept in an easy way for children to understand: Control of Information=Control of Society.
Karla
Interesting scifi for kids. I had to interloan it because it is out of print, but it was interesting and thought provoking. I'd like to see it reissued with better cover artwork. I would really like to see a follow-up. It could be an interesting series. I'd love to find out what happened to the dying underground society.
Pat Wolf-bennett
My oldest son, now 37, read this book when he was in middle school. He could not put it down. when he was finished, I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. He and I were recently talking about it. I could not remember the title. Last night he texted me with the title. Looking for a used copt to buy.
T.R. Stoddard
I haven't read this in ages. I can barely remember what happens, but I am left with the overall impression that it was quite excellent. After many years it kept nagging me to rediscover it, and as soon as I get it from ebay I will re-read it and give it a proper review then.
Bill
This book is pretty much Logan's Run or THX-1138 for the elementary school set. I remember liking it a lot at the time, but it also kinda freaked me out.

This is one of the last books I remember being read to us by the teacher as a class, too. So there's that.
Meliaka
A lot of people say this is somewhat like City of Ember. This was *much* better. Didn't have the slow beginning of Ember and the story kept moving a decent pace. Loved it as a teen. Still liked it when my own kids checked it out of the library.
Nadine Jones
It's entirely possible that I read this. The blurb twangs a few threads of memory deep deep in my brain ... but is it because I read this, or because so many dystopians since have had a similar plot?
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