Burn the Dark: Malus Domestica #1

Burn the Dark: Malus Domestica #1

by S. A. Hunt

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 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 series isn’t fiction.

Her ultimate goal is to seek revenge against the coven of witches who wronged her mother long ago. Returning home to the rural town of Blackfield, Robin meets friends new and old on her quest for justice. But then, a mysterious threat known as the Red Lord interferes with her plans….

“Brilliant!” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250306432
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 01/14/2020
Series: Malus Domestica , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 313,191
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

S. A. HUNT is a U.S. veteran, speculative fiction author, and Winner of Reddit.com/r/Fantasy's "Independent Novel of the Year" Award. They live in Petoskey, Michigan. Burn the Dark is the first volume in the Malus Domestica series.

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Burn the Dark: Malus Domestica #1 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
KarenfromDothan 29 days ago
The last two years have been spent hunting and killing witches all across the country. Robin lives out of a van and supports herself as a YouTube vlogger. She films all her exploits and uploads them to the internet as Malus Domestica. She’s gutsy with her own punk style and used to going it alone. She’s in Georgia now, preparing to take on a coven of extremely powerful witches. Burn the Dark is the first of a trilogy with each book being released four to five months apart. It’s a fantasy horror story containing both witches and demons. For me it was a page-turner, it got better and better the deeper into the story I got. It has good pacing, lots of action, and an interesting cast of characters. She’s really up against it, as she prepares to take on this group of powerful witches. I’m curious to see how she and the other characters fare in the two coming installments. A thrilling beginning to what I’m sure will be a first-rate fantasy series.
MichelleKenneth 29 days ago
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 dude on how to kill witches. There are poor kids, a gay guy, a disabled veteran, and an African-American family with a single dad. There are people who are suffering from loss, grief, alcoholism, drug overdoses, etc. They're just regular people that are going through life with their own problems, all brought together a little serendipitously. I believe that whatever comes after "Burn the Dark" will be more of the adventure and the 'why' this tribe was brought together. This book is more of the background story behind what is about to happen in this series. Most people do not like books like that, but I believe for this series, this introduction was needed so that you can become invested in these characters. My favorite character is Wayne (nicknamed Bruce Wayne). He's the new kid in town. He recently lost his mother. His father is broken down and drinking away the pain. They decide to move to this new town to get away from Chicago, because Wayne is starting to fall into bad crowds, and Dad (Leon) really needed a change of scenery. They move into the witch hunter's old house. This house is where Robin (the witch hunter) lived as a little girl. Her father killed her mother. Robin was thrown into a mental institution because she tried to tell the truth about what happened. But there's no such thing as witches, right? When Leon and Wayne move into this house, it awakens the Red Lord. Or is it the fact that Robin is back in town that the Red Lord has awakened? But what exactly is the Red Lord? And why does he want Robin? Wayne's mother's ring though is the most interesting thing about Wayne and Leon's story. When Wayne looks through the ring, he can see doorways, even the Red Lord. I still find it interesting that one doorway led him to Joel, who had been kidnapped. There has to be some significance to this that has yet to be revealed. Perhaps it is the house that ties all of their stories together? Maybe it was not coincidence why Leon/Wayne settled with this particular house to move into. The story also takes a bit of a dark turn when we discover the history behind the abandoned amusement park, the husband to one of the witches, and how the Red Lord came into being. I wasn't expecting this part of the story, so I guess you can say that Hunt put a lot of misery into this book's history. I guess it has a lot to do with the struggles that people go through in life. There are a lot of dark places these characters are emerging from. A lot of this emergence is about discovering their own identity and how they are coping with the things that broke them inside. That's what is so significant about each character. They are all broken, but somehow they've found each other. Even the kids from the trailer park are part of this story, because they come from broken homes. They don't know what they are fighting against. They may think they know, but then they discover that maybe everything is not what they believe it is. That's where this book leaves us at the end.
QuirkyCat 3 months ago
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 understanding of the core of the theme. Robin is your average teenager. Well, if by average you mean that she lives in her van, runs a YouTube channel, and hunts witches. Yeah, okay, so not exactly normal. She’s been filming her witch hunting escapades for months, and pawning it off as some sort of Blair Witch Project for the sake of income. The real question is; why did Robin start hunting witches? And how far can she go, when working solo? As it turns out, she won’t be by herself for very long. As for the reason she hunts witches? That’s personal. “They die from the inside out. The deadness slowly makes its way to the outside.” Warnings: Most of the heavier subjects covered within Burn the Dark are actually pretty commonsense, and thus the sort of thing you can easily expect. There are hints towards animal death (incidental and implied), abuse, burning, and other things along those lines. Burn the Dark was a fun and interesting read. Whoever came up with the idea to compare it to Stranger Things was pretty spot on. Though it did feel like the leading characters were slightly older – but that kind of works, given their backstories. Robin’s whole backstory and character arc was actually pretty fascinating. And I’m not ashamed to admit that hers was by far my favorite of the perspectives, though I enjoyed reading about everybody else, of course. Hers felt the most human, as well as being the epicenter of the plot. This was a fast-paced read, with something happening at almost any point. It helps that the characters kept splitting off and getting themselves into more danger. Well, it helps the reader. The characters not so much. I feel like this series is a darker twist on the urban fantasy trend, and I’ve got to say, I’m all for it. I loved the tone and feel of this novel, and would love nothing more than to see a whole lot more like it. Well, not exactly like it – you get what I’m trying to say here. The blend of horror and fantasy was very well done. This is the first novel I’ve read by S.A. Hunt, but I enjoyed it. I think I’ll probably try to set aside some time to follow the rest of this series (as it gets translated – I have to look into that). I’m curious to see how far they push this.
marongm8 3 months ago
This book was received as an ARC from Macmillan-Tor/Forge in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. It was interesting reading this book due its modern times content picking the character of Robin, a you-tube celebrity that is really exposing a dark secret of the witches and she is a witch hunter with a motive for seeking revenge for her mother's death. She is on the quest for making it all possible until a Red Lord interferes and Robin's world is turned upside down with something she least expects. I was intrigued from beginning to end but there were parts that were a little bot confusing and for this genre, our readers enjoy the grasping effect which includes understanding for each of the books they read and I know our teen book club will scratch their heads and have a lot of questions. We will consider adding this book to our Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
LU 3 months ago
Robin Martine is not the usual girl. She's an orphan, she can use swords and knives, she runs a Youtube channel, she travels around America recording her adventure in...witch killing. Robin is a witch hunter and the witches are not like Sabrina Spellman or any kind witches seen on television. They are cruel, they are known to siphon life to them through spells and sacrifices and they are immortal. They killed Robin's mother, Annie, blaming her violent father. After being instituzionalized, because Robin spoke the truth about the witches and doctors made her believe she was crazy, filling her with medications and shock therapies, she's rescued by a family friend, Heinrich. He reveals her the truth about witches and starts training her. Haunted by a green eyed monster, for years, Robin fights against supposed hallucinations and spells, while trying to do her job. The story is built with flashbacks and memories and starts when Robin comes back to Blackfield, in her old city. For Robin, coming back home means reconnecting with Joel, his old best friend and to know Kenway,with whom Robin right away get along, dragging both of her friends in her caotic and dangerous life and revenge. Her path crossed Wayne's and his father, who they just moved in her old house. While she's keen on getting her revenge on the Coven that killed her mother, Robin starts to understand she may have been underestimated the situation. I really liked this book. Robin is a great main character, funny, determined, stubborn and keen on discovering the truth about her family, her mother, the creature that haunts her. She wants to kill the coven that murdered her mother, the dangerous Lazenbury. Joel is a fantastic and ironic best friend and I love her relationship with him and how she found someone in him and Kenway to rely on. Kenway is another amazing character. He's a veteran, he went through hell and back and, like Robin, he's full of memories and scars. I loved how Robin's plot crossed with Wayne's, the new kid. I like Wayne, a lot. The author did a fantastic job writing his character. Wayne lost his mother to cancer, his father went through a bad moment, drinking and, deciding to move from Chicago to a little city meant for him changing his whole life, school and friends, while still grieving for his mother. He's a strong character, friendly, smart and I liked reading about he having new friends. He was forced to grow up faster when his father started to drink. I found really sweet his habit to put her mother's wedding ring near his eye and see through it. I love how important that ring became in the book., too. Leon, his father, a teacher, found himself involved in witches, monsters and spell, involving witch hunting, magic rings and creature from other dimensions. I liked reading about Robin's mentor and savior, too, Heinrich, even though he's less present in the book and I hope to read more about him in the sequel, because he seemed an interesting character. The book is captivating, full of twists and revelations and it kept me hooked until the end. It was amazing reading the multiple POVs, Robin's, Joel's, Wayne's, Marylin's and see through the "villains' " eyes too. I liked reading about witches, their powers and dryads, goddesses and so on. I'm really happy to have read this book and I can't wait to know more about Robin's story.
SchizanthusNerd 3 months ago
“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 Robin knows the witches were responsible. Now, after spending time in a psychiatric facility and subsequently honing her witch slaying skills, she’s returned home to Blackfield to face off with the local coven. “You witches killed my mama!” Witches. Demons. Ancient sigils. The quest for immortality. Cats that aren’t just cats. Murder. A pizza guy. A “big blond Viking dude”. Sound effects - “grum-grum-grum-grum”. Before I began reading I saw several comparisons made between this book and ‘Buffy’, so I expected to witness a lot more slaying. Witches are dispatched of in flashbacks but I don’t recall any scenes where a witch meets their maker taking place in the present. I expect the sequel to well and truly make up for this. A fair amount of time is spent on characters’ backstories and explanations of the supernatural aspects of the story. While it is well written I did spend a lot of the first half of the book anxious for some present day action scenes. There were plenty of pop culture references in this book, from ‘Batman’ to ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘The Simpsons’. Had I realised there would be so many of these references I would have made a list and asked other readers to let me know which ones I’d missed. I liked most of the characters. I’m most interested to learn more about Heinrich Hammer, Robin’s mentor. I’m looking forward to seeing them in action in the sequel. Content warnings are included in my Goodreads review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Books for the opportunity to read this book. I’m rounding up from 3.5 stars.