Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Darkness Visible - Pip Janssen

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The Dark Tide shall rise...


Darkness Visible is a Victorian Fantasy novel set in 1895, in a world which is identical to our own history except for one key fact: there are people, known as venturers, who can travel instantly between locations by tearing holes (Thresholds) in the fabric of reality. However, Thresholds are not entirely safe, and a bad one will cause unreality to leak in from beyond the world, with potentially fatal consequences.



I’ve been struggling with this review for some time. I wasn’t sure which rating to give it, considering the amount of stuff I liked was proportional to the things I didn’t. So let’s get to it:


The Good


  • It’s a Victorian Fantasy novel that is NOT Steampunk whatsoever. Is there an award for this?

  • The romance was pretty light and realistic.
  • It’s dosed with references of literature in general. Special mention goes to the Discworld shout out.
  • The main characters were likable and well developed. Not you though,Lewis!
  • William Hotness Marsh.
  • I enjoy stories about two men that basically hate each other and lately start to bond for random reasons.
  • The whole idea of portals that can lead you to different states on even countries is fairly interesting.
  • I’ve been on a Historical Fiction kick lately, so I was happy to notice how realistic the costumes and speeches of the past were portrayed.
  • Pip Janssen has an amazing style of writing, managing to be antique and sophisticated without being ridiculous or exaggerated. Capital!
  • I’m never tiring of novels set on England.
  • A London full of undirected Thresholds must have looked somewhat like this:


The Bad



  • I only started to warm toward the main character when I was around 30% into the book. Have you ever been in the mind of a Victorian aristocrat? It’s UNBEARABLE. Lewis was incredibly arrogant. I could forgive him considering it’s a realistic behavior, but many of his actions were simply part of his jerk personality. As the novel progressed, however, it became quite obvious that Lewis is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. So I forgave him.
  • There wasn’t much going on. Marsh and Lewis were trying to close bad Thresholds. That was basically it.
  • The villains were boringly predictable. They were murdering everyone for the Evulz. We never get deeper explanations as to why.
  • I always think that something is wrong when I manage to uncover the plot secrets before the characters do.
  • The whole ending was wrapped up in the last 4% of the book. That’s too rushed! I expected more complexity and more epicness. The epilogue was a nice touch though.


The Ugly

  • Nothing,really. There’s nothing wrong enough with this novel to make me throw my Kindle on the air or punch myself in the face.


Sentence: Decent historical fiction with a fantasy touch. If you’re looking for something slow and different,go for it!