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Burn the Dark

(Malus Domestica #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  752 ratings  ·  239 reviews
Supernatural meets Stranger Things in award-winning author S. A. Hunt’s Burn the Dark, first in the Malus Domestica horror action-adventure series about a punk YouTuber on a mission to bring down witches, one vid at a time.

Robin is a YouTube celebrity gone-viral with her intensely-realistic witch hunter series. But even her millions of followers don't know the truth: her s
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Tor Books (first published July 20th 2015)
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witchyreader13, It's pretty adult in nature and incredibly creepy. So if you're a parent who censors that kind of stuff, I wouldn't suggest it.…moreIt's pretty adult in nature and incredibly creepy. So if you're a parent who censors that kind of stuff, I wouldn't suggest it.(less)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Chelsea Humphrey
3-3.5 stars

This was a fun and crazy ride! On the whole I enjoyed this, although it did feel like the pacing halted a bit towards the middle, but picked up spectacularly from 70% on. If you enjoy a nice blend of high fantasy and dark urban supernatural (I.E. Buffy-esque storyline), give this one a try!

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley!
Schizanthus Nerd
“The Red Lord will find you.”
Robin has a mohawk, a cherished fifteen year old stuffed mosquito called Mr. Nosy and a popular YouTube channel called ‘MalusDomestica’. Her subscribers think what they’re watching is fake, but it’s anything but. [If you’re wondering, ‘malus domestica’ is Latin for “the common apple tree”. You’ll learn the significance of this name during the book.]

Robin travels around the country in her van hunting witches. Robin’s father was convicted of killing her mother but R
3.5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Malus Domestica, from the kick ass heroine that didn't need a guy to save her to the fact that there was multiple black folks in it. It was a lot of fun to read. I took away some stars because the book got a little too convoluted and unbelievable towards the middle, and yes I say unbelievable even for a fantasy/horror novel. To me any book with supernatural or fantasy elements still has to have some base in facts or, if the facts are made up, they need to be explain
Mel (Epic Reading)
This reads more like a preview of book 1 or maybe even a prequel. Generally we get a lot of set-up for the overall world (ours plus magical elements). S.A. Hunt establishes the history, characters, present day situation, and what is likely to be plot moving forward in the series. Sadly Burn the Dark lacks a depth and ends up feeling too generic for me; like many common stories pasted together into one.

Urban Fantasy with Humour
I will confess I much prefer a whole new world different from our own
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, horror
If you like good books and you aren't reading S.A. Hunt, you're fucking doing it all wrong. Forget the authors that line the aisles of the brick and mortar giants. Read S.A. HUNT. This guy is one of my favorites and this book will not disappoint you. If it does...get back to your Koontz and Patterson. Go back to the kid's table...I'll be over her eating this fucking turkey and green bean casserole like a damned adult! ...more
Matthew Cox
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Malus Domestica by SA Hunt is a masterful tale of supernatural horror told with an ensemble cast. The mythology/setting that he’s created is fantastic, deep, and creepy as all hell. This author has a gift for description that paints vivid (often disturbingly so) images in the mind. One caveat―if you are a cat lover, this book is going to be quite disturbing. Some parts were hard to read.

The description on the jacket makes it sound like Robin is the "main" character, but in the beginning of the b
Lollita Ann
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways, arc
I received a copy of this book through giveaways. Well it wasn't terrible but it wasn't for me. I couldn't get into the story or the writing, I also didnt really like or connect with any character. Ended up skimming the last half of the book. ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've got a lot to say about this one, so for those who don't want to read this whole thing, I'll sum up: this book is really good. Go read it.

Now, more details. First thing I want to say is that, thanks to me winning a little contest on Reddit, there's a character named after me in Malus Domestica. And that character gets brutally murdered, which is AWESOME. My mother didn't seem to appreciate it all that much (philistine), but I love it.

As for the book itself, I'll start with the setting. I gre
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Meet Robin Martine, a social media personality and self-styled witch hunter who achieved internet fame with her wildly popular YouTube channel, Malus Domestica. Traveling around the country, Robin leads her followers to believe that her videos are nothing more than a cleverly acted, special effects laden mockumentary-style series depicting her witch hunting adventures—a fiction she’s more than happy to go along with, becau
Ashe Armstrong
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
2021 EDIT: This review is for the original, self-published version of the book. I'm leaving it up and also correcting Samara's pronouns.

Whoo boy, where to start. I was looking forward to reading this one for a long while. Ms. Hunt would post snippets for all of us to gobble up and it just made it worse. And now, here I am, after glow, typing this up for anyone who might want a little more thoughts on why they should read the book. This was one helluva ride. I'm already a fan of Sam's. I've read
Rating: 7.0/10

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Burn the Dark (Malus Domestica #1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

I remember purchasing Burn the Dark when it was first released in 2015 under the name Malus Domestica (Malus Domestica #1). It was a release that had circled around my social media pages for a while and I picked it up solely based on the synopsis and original cover art.

Holly (The GrimDragon)
"If you got any doubt about what I'm doing, you gotta get this in your head right now: these fuckers ain't Wiccans or hippies, they ain't those chicks from The Craft, they ain't Sabrina or the chick from Bewitched. These bitches are the real deal. Lieutenants of Hell on a vacation to Earth. Soul-sucking hag-beasts."

Burn the Dark, the new novel from S.A. Hunt, was originally self-published in 2015. Then along came Tor Books, who picked it up and has since turned it into a series.

Following Robin M
Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany)
A punk witch-hunter with a YouTube channel on mission of revenge plus a group of kids with Stranger Things vibes in the American South, where the horror is sometimes less evil witches and more racism and homophobia. Burn the Dark is a fun and cinematic horror novel from a fresh new voice and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. And I need book 2 after that cliffhanger of an ending! I would love to see Netflix pick this up because it would make a fantastic series.

Robin takes down witches on her
Lilly Raines
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book pulled me in from the very beginning. I’ve never read a story quite like it, and that’s what hooked me: it felt unique, different in the best way. And it never shied away from being different; it embraced it. The author snapped the reins and said, “Onward, to Differentland!” and I hopped into the sleigh like a giddy little elf, eager to be carried away from a world fill with stale plots and forgettable characters. Malus Domestica offers a fresh take on witches and magic, and a diverse ...more
Romina Nicolaides
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book of truly revolting but thoroughly convincing witches. The scenes are set with extraordinary detail, building a very atmospheric plot of corruptive and enticing magic. The characters were human and at times you wonder if anyone is safe from Cutty and her cronies. Absorbing and entertaining; my only criticism would be the exaggerated use of popular references.
Dylan Hearn
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You have to have some balls to put your work in the same company as Stephen King and Clive Barker (sorry, I’ve not read any Charlaine Harris), either that, or unswerving confidence in your own talent. My guess with S. A. Hunt it’s a bit of both, and in Malus Domestica I can see why. This is an excellent book, with a strong, character-led storyline that’s as unsettling as a childhood nightmare yet twice as entertaining.

A young woman, Robin Martine returns to her hometown, Blackfield, for the firs
Stephanie Embry
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is hands-down my favorite horror novel since…I’m about to verge on blasphemous here and say since Lost Souls. (Lost Souls is a religious experience, yes.) Guys this book. THIS BOOOOK. I don’t know how Hunt can have such an amazing grip on both the fantastic and the mundane. The real world looks real. The small town, the people, the flies on the wall, the pizza-grease stains on a paper plate…every detail you can name is in 3D technicolor when Hunt is behind the wheel. And yet, while it’s all
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, action
Nightmares of things they saw as children they have forgotten as adults, their recognition stolen by smiling hags with chips of ice in their eyes, hobgoblins who would have stolen their hearts for an ageless star-beast if not for hungry Robin and the gleaming silver dagger in her hand.

I need to finally write this review so this book can go back on its shelf at last; it's been next to my bed for months, to remind myself that I owe it a review.

Actual rating 3,5 stars, but I'm feeling generous, so
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like urban fantasy, but feel like the fact that characters know about magic and monsters takes away some of the fear and power, this book is probably for you. If you're into horror but wish the main characters had a bit more agency, this book is probably for you.

The story opens with Our Heroine, Robin Martine, coming back to her home town. She's been hunting down witches, which very few people know really exist, and posting videos of her exploits on YouTube. The populace thinks she's just
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, queer
What a book! It's been a while since a book has grabbed me like this one. I was a little hesitant to try "horror" but now feel much better about the genre!

First off, a warning: horrible stuff happens to cats. brace yourself. Some of those scenes were REALLY hard to read.

Loved the characters. Hunt did a superb job fleshing them out, and they all seemed very real to me. I really appreciated the diversity of characters, too. I never expected to get teary over a horror story, but there was more than
Stacy Koster
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. The story telling was good. I’m looking forward to reading book two.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Malus Domestica by S.A. Hunt is a tale of revenge, remorse and regret. The story of a young girl in search of the past that was stolen from her and the unveiling of the hidden secrets that will change her world forever.

"...You needs to stop playin. I assume huntin witches means killin witches, and there ain't no way you're videotapin that shit. And I want to talk to you without this camera here. Backstage, so to speak. Off the record. Cause I can tell you just puttin on a show for the people at
Matthew Galloway
I am wanting book two so badly.

Now, I listened to it and I think that probably elevated the book because the narrator was phenomenal. But I bet the book stands on its own too. It's clever and creepy and not exceptionally gory. It's a little here and there, but in such a way that it definitely straddles the YA and adult fantasy divide. In fact, it even has kind of a MG story tucked inside since once of the characters is young. This isn't to say it's not a sometimes horrifying tale -- I wouldn't
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy Creepy Cool

This was my first book by S.A. Hunt. After reading this one, I've realized I'm not done with this author. This was pretty cool.

This is a thick, meaty book, full of all sorts of crazy goodness. It's more creepy than scary, but the author has a sense of humor and pulled some genuine laughs out of me (not an easy task). By the way, Afro-cadabra is now a part of my permanent lexicon.

The faint of heart will want to know that this is definitely horror - of the sex, blood and rock and
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
S.A. Hunt is an incredible talent in writing. Reading this tale is akin to sampling a perfectly aged Bordeaux after being forced to drink boxed red blends for years, it's a bloody epiphany. The pacing is tight and flows smoothly from point to point and character to character. The dialogue is masterful giving each character an incredibly unique voice and tone that is maintained throughout the story and even reflects the individual growth of the character as they progress. The style of writing aga ...more
Easily comparable to the work of Stephen King, this sizable chunk of paranormal goodness boasts some downright horrifying literary set pieces. However, the best by far comes in the prologue. I remember once hearing on the radio about a little thing Netflix did to calculate how long it takes to get hooked on most shows (like, two episodes for Breaking Bad, three for The 100, that sort of thing.) With this book, if it were to be made into a TV series, it would probably be one just for the prologue ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i am not normally a fan of horror but i really enjoyed this book...
i have read all the books in the outlaw king series and became addicted to his wit and quirky style of adding in details that fit with my generation and culture (something hard to find as i am currently living in a different country)...
i really hope that his books can hit the silver screen and that he keeps writing more and more...
i cant wait to travel through his next adventure
Michelle Kenneth -
[Thank you to Tor Books/Netgalley for the advanced copy.]

I absolutely loved this book. Sure, it didn't tie things up at the end, but that's ok. It makes me ready for the next book.

There are a lot of characters in this book, but I love what S. A. Hunt has done in this first book. Hunt has provided us with the back story first for all of the characters. A young woman is cast as the witch-hunter (think Lisbeth Salander from "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series). She's trained by some big, scary dud
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
I received a copy of Burn the Dark through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Burn the Dark is the first novel in S.A. Hunt’s Malus Domestica series. Technically speaking, this isn’t a new series. It’s just that this is the first time we’ll be getting a chance to read it in English. Which is great for me!
The series is an action-adventure horror series, much in the same tone as Stranger Things. Basically, picture a bunch of kids/teenagers off on a witch hunt, and you’ve got an
Zeke Gonzalez
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Burn the Dark is a fantastic first entry in the Malus Domestica series. It sets up a great cast of diverse characters, builds a unique mythos rooted in tropes of dark urban fantasy, establishes tense stakes, and is punctuated throughout with action & horror. I quite enjoyed the book and gulped it down, but must admit that I did not find it to be a complete story. Most of the novel is rising action, which builds to a climax that never arrives. It makes me very excited to dive into book two, but i ...more
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Samara Abigail Hunt is the Georgia-born author of the Amazon Top 10 Horror Malus Domestica series, and the Outlaw King fantasy series, winner of's /r/Fantasy "Independent Novel of the Year" 2014 Stabby Award. She is also a "Mentor of Poetry, Prose, & Performance" with the National Creative Society.

​In 2005 she joined the Army and after an ill-advised stint in the military police (ACAB),

Other books in the series

Malus Domestica (3 books)
  • I Come with Knives (Malus Domestica #2)
  • The Hellion (Malus Domestica #3)

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