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This Time of Darkness
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This Time of Darkness

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  367 Ratings  ·  52 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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(showing 1-30 of 905)
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Jul 25, 2012 Issendai rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
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
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
May 28, 2011 Jessie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
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.
Nov 02, 2014 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books stay with you in your mind, even years later. Some books even help shape who you are. When I was about 10 or 11 I read “This Time of Darkness” by HM Hoover. After the “Hunger Games” the plotline sounds cliché, a dystopian setting after the fall of civilisation, a young girl defying the system – of course it was published in 1980 so it beat the Hunger Games to it just a little.

I just re-read the book, I was all prepared to enjoy it purely as nostalgia – but by Jove! (I'm refusing to us
May 16, 2014 Joleen rated it it was amazing
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
Stylo Fantome
Sep 05, 2014 Stylo Fantome rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my all time favorite books. I probably read it at least once a year.

This is set in the future, where EVERYONE lives in the City. "The City is old" is something that is said often.

I loved it cause it was dirty and gritty, and people were weird and creepy. It was like Logan's Run and The Giver had a dirty, more realistic baby. Pseudo-Utopia isn't always so sparkling clean. Sometimes it's covered in filth and roaches. I mean, what else would you expect if you took all of civilization
Diana Welsch
Dec 26, 2013 Diana Welsch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jan 30, 2014 Melissa Faith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread, read2014
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
Jul 22, 2011 Lee Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-friends
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!
May 23, 2008 Erin rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 09, 2014 Stacy Fischer rated it it was amazing
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!
Casi Leahy
Aug 18, 2013 Casi Leahy rated it it was amazing
The original City of Ember--I still think about this story.
May 13, 2009 Stormclouds rated it it was amazing
My favourite book ever.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Apr 07, 2014 Claire rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 11, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it
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
Apr 30, 2016 Deborah rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that still resonates with me like it did when I first read it. A girl,who has only ever known her underground dystopia life, believes a boy's claim that there is a better world above them, and together they set out to defy the authorities and escape from their world of darkness.
Feb 22, 2016 Erin rated it it was amazing
Oh my God, I'm glad I ran across the title of this book again because I read it as a kid and let me tell you, it was THE BEST. Why is there not more female-protagonist dystopian children's sci-fi? BECAUSE THERE SHOULD BE.

I wish it was available on kindle. Gonna have to track it down in hardcover.
Erika Worley
May 30, 2016 Erika Worley rated it it was amazing
This is a pretty simple read and in some ways not particularly visionary, but I have read it at least 3 times. The two main characters provide a good perspective on a future world completely devoid of joy, creativity, etc. If you enjoy post-apocolyptic-style stories, this is a good one.
Sarah Briggs
(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
Apr 20, 2016 Hunter rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books as a kid. The protagonist is able to break free of a dystopian existence because she can read. What more does a nine year old need in a book?
May 24, 2016 Martina added it
Shelves: kids
I'm sorry I haven't read this book as a child. It was cutesy, yet there was still enough bleakness to make it an appropriate kids' book.
Mar 12, 2015 Zakir added it
I read this Book when I was ten and never forgot it. Now at twenty eight I've reread it. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time
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
Feb 16, 2016 LeAnne rated it really liked it
I found the four distinct cultures in this book fascinating. Each knows little or nothing of the others and so their views of the world are distorted.
Mike Henry
Jan 02, 2008 Mike Henry rated it liked it
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
Emily Crow
Aug 19, 2013 Emily Crow rated it really liked it
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
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