"Ad Tenebras Dedi" or "I surrender to the dark" (I think) is the catch phrase that the 12 contestants of a new survival reality show called In the Dark must say if they are ready to throw in the towel. Unbeknownst to them though, while they are out in the middle of nowhere participating in the show challenges, a worldwide virus pandemic is sweeping across the country. Some of the contestants are recovered and taken to refugee camps but then there are others like the contestant Zoo, who haven't been found. The story follows the contestants and then Zoo as she navigates the country trying to survive and come to terms with what's real and what isn't.
I love the premise for the story and I did enjoy it but I think it could be even better with a few of the kinks worked out. For one, the story flips between the contestants completing their challenges and Zoo navigating on her own solo challenge but there is no clear timeline distinctions so trying to understand when everything is occurring is really confusing.
The contestants are also introduced by their real names and given reality TV show names. Throughout the story, the narration switches between both names and that's also confusing trying to remember who is who.
Another issue I had was with the game show challenge narration. The narration of the challenge details were sort of choppy, flat and monotonous. I think maybe to compare to with a TV dialogue script but it actually took all the suspense out of the story. I just think it would have been more entertaining if the narration was styled a little bit differently and the suspense turned up a notch.
Overall though, I think it's a really unique concept and the story has 5 star potential but just needs to be polished a little more.
*I received this ARC from NetGalley & also a wonderful ARC Paperback from First Reads & Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review! Thank you!