Don't Feed The Dark

by S.Scherr

Original Action Adventure Drama Horror Grimdark Supernatural
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content

Something malevolent has awoken in Northeast Ohio. Former acquaintances, neighbors, loved ones-all at random-transform into flesh-craving monsters hell bent on devouring the living. Corpses are rising from their places of unrest. Nocturnal animal-man hybrids hunt in packs. The dead are awakening from within the living… By morning, the sun weeps over streets splattered blood-red as an unsettling silence soon follows, lulling the broken remains of society into believing the blood bath is over. Survivors gather to lick their wounds and salvage what is left of their ravaged lives as local governments struggle to maintain law and order. As a second wave approaches, a handful of survivors from all walks of life must put aside their differences and band together to escape the pending slaughter while storm clouds begin to gather from within their fragile community. Some who were once respectable in the eyes of society will devolve into madness while the despicable rise to the occasion in a world no longer respecting of persons. It is their world now. The dead are hungry and do not discriminate.

~~~

Don't Feed The Dark will return after the holidays on Monday, January 1st, 2018.  See you next year ;)

New episodes of Don't Feed The Dark are posted every Monday and Thursday.

Please vote for Don't Feed The Dark at topwebfiction to show your support and help more readers discover this series.  Thank you in advance.

~~~

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S.Scherr

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1-1: Demon Night ago
Chapter 1-2: Demon Night ago
Chapter 1-3: Demon Night ago
Chapter 1-4: Demon Night ago
Chapter 2-1: Dinner and a Movie ago
Chapter 2-2: Dinner and a Movie ago
Chapter 2-3: Dinner and a Movie ago
Chapter 2-4: Dinner and a Movie ago
Chapter 3-1: A Higher Education ago
Chapter 3-2: A Higher Education ago
Chapter 3-3: A Higher Education ago
Chapter 4: Happy Hour ago
Chapter 5: Breakdown ago
Chapter 6-1: Dinner and a Movie 2 ago
Chapter 6-2: Dinner and a Movie 2 ago
Chapter 6-3: Dinner and a Movie 2 ago
Chapter 7-1: Demon Night 2 ago
Chapter 7-2: Demon Night 2 ago
Chapter 7-3: Demon NIght 2 ago
Chapter 7-4: Demon Night 2 ago
Chapter 8-1: State of Emergency ago
Chapter 8-2: State of Emergency ago
Chapter 8-3: State of Emergency ago
Chapter 8-4: State of Emergency ago
Chapter 9-1: Desolate Shores ago
Chapter 9-2: Desolate Shores ago
Chapter 9-3: Desolate Shores ago
Chapter 10-1: The Plant ago
Chapter 10-2: The Plant ago
Chapter 10-3: The Plant ago
Chapter 10-4: The Plant ago
Chapter 11-1: Nowhere Safe ago
Chapter 11-2: Nowhere Safe ago
Chapter 11-3: Nowhere Safe ago
Chapter 11-4: Nowhere Safe ago
Chapter 11-5: Nowhere Safe ago
Chapter 11-6: Nowhere Safe ago
Chapter 12-1: The Devil's Dark ago
Chapter 12-2: The Devil's Dark ago
Chapter 12-3: The Devil's Dark ago
Chapter 12-4: The Devil's Dark ago
Chapter 13-1: Railway Exodus ago
Chapter 13-2: Railway Exodus ago
Chapter 13-3: Railway Exodus ago
Chapter 13-4: Railway Exodus ago
Chapter 13-5: Railway Exodus ago
Chapter 13-6: Railway Exodus ago
Chapter 14-1: The Marina ago
Chapter 14-2: The Marina ago
Chapter 14-3: The Marina ago
Chapter 14-4: The Marina ago
Chapter 15-1: Lost ago
Chapter 15-2: Lost ago
Chapter 15-3: Lost ago
Chapter 15-4: Lost ago
Chapter 15-5: Lost (Book One Finale) ago
Bonus Spin-off Story #1: Playing With Fire ago
Chapter 16-1: Prisoners (Book Two Premiere) ago
Chapter 16-2: Prisoners ago
Chapter 16-3: Prisoners ago
Chapter 16-4: Prisoners ago
Chapter 16-5: Prisoners ago
Chapter 17-1: Dark Territory ago
Chapter 17-2: Dark Territory ago
Chapter 17-3: Dark Territory ago
Chapter 17-4: Dark Territory ago
Chapter 17-5: Dark Territory ago
Chapter 18-1: Micom and Micolad ago
Chapter 18-2: Micom and Micolad ago
Chapter 18-3: Micom and Micolad ago
Chapter 18-4: Micom and Micolad ago
Bonus Spin-off Story #2: Red Light ago
Chapter 19-1: Get the Guns ago
Chapter 19-2: Get the Guns ago
Chapter 19-3: Get the Guns ago
Chapter 19-4: Get the Guns ago
Chapter 20-1: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-2: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-3: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-4: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-5: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-6: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-7: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 20-8: Welcome Home ago
Chapter 21-1: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-2: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-3: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-4: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-5: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-6: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-7: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 21-8: Goodbye Charlie ago
Chapter 22-1: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-2: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-3: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-4: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-5: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-6: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-7: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-8: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-9: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-10: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-11: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-12: Almost Dead ago
Chapter 22-13: Almost Dead (Book Two Finale) ago
Bonus Event Announcement: Book Four Has Started! ago
Chapter 23-1: Recruits (Book Three Premiere) ago
Chapter 23-2: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-3: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-4: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-5: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-6: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-7: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-8: Recruits ago
Chapter 23-9: Recruits ago
Chapter 24-1: Blood Required ago
Chapter 24-2: Blood Required ago
Chapter 24-3: Blood Required ago
Chapter 24-4: Blood Required ago
Chapter 24-5: Blood Required ago
Chapter 24-6: Blood Required ago
Chapter 25-1: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-2: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-3: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-4: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-5: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-6: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-7: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-8: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-9: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 25-10: Reunions and Departures ago
Chapter 26-1: Further Actions Pending... ago
Chapter 26-2: Further Actions Pending... ago
Chapter 26-3: Further Actions Pending... ago
Chapter 26-4: Further Actions Pending... ago
Chapter 26-5: Further Actions Pending... ago
Chapter 27-1: The Stand ago
Chapter 27-2: The Stand ago
Chapter 27-3: The Stand ago
Chapter 27-4: The Stand ago
Chapter 28-1: The Den ago
Chapter 28-2: The Den ago
Chapter 28-3: The Den ago
Chapter 28-4: The Den ago
Chapter 29-1: War of the Gods ago
Chapter 29-2: War of the Gods ago
Chapter 29-3: War of the Gods ago
Chapter 29-4: War of the Gods ago
Chapter 29-5: War of the Gods ago
Chapter 29-6: War of the Gods ago
Chapter 30-1: Aftermath ago
Chapter 30-2: Aftermath ago
Chapter 30-3: Aftermath (Book Three Finale) ago
Bonus Spin-off Story #3: Hangar Six ago
Chapter 31-1: Marvin's Day (Book Four Premiere) ago
Chapter 31-2: Marvin's Day ago
Chapter 31-3: Marvin's Day ago
Chapter 31-4: Marvin's Day ago
Chapter 31-5: Marvin's Day ago
Chapter 32-1: Wasteland ago
Chapter 32-2: Wasteland ago
Chapter 32-3: Wasteland ago
Chapter 32-4: Wasteland ago
Chapter 32-5: Wasteland ago
Chapter 33-1: Detour ago
Chapter 33-2: Detour ago
Chapter 33-3: Detour ago
Chapter 33-4: Detour ago
Chapter 33-5: Detour ago
Chapter 33-6: Detour ago
Chapter 33-7: Detour ago
Chapter 33-8: Detour ago
Chapter 34-1: Secrets ago
Chapter 34-2: Secrets ago
Chapter 34-3: Secrets ago
Chapter 34-4: Secrets ago
Chapter 34-5: Secrets ago
Chapter 34-6: Secrets ago
Chapter 35-1: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-2: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-3: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-4: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-5: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-6: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-7: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-8: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-9: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 35-10: Dead Dolls ago
Chapter 36-1: Uprising ago
Chapter 36-2: Uprising ago
Chapter 36-3: Uprising ago
Chapter 36-4: Uprising ago
Chapter 36-5: Uprising ago
Chapter 36-6: Uprising ago
Chapter 36-7: Uprising ago
Chapter 37-1: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-2: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-3: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-4: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-5: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-6: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-7: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-8: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-9: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-10: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-11: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-12: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-13: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-14: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 37-15: Through the Eyes of a Devil ago
Chapter 38-1: Healing ago
Chapter 38-2: Healing ago
Chapter 38-3: Healing ago
Chapter 38-4: Healing ago
Chapter 38-5: Healing ago
Chapter 38-6: Healing (Book Four Finale) ago
Don't Feed The Dark Updates: 8/3/17 ago
The Living and the Dead (A Look Back at Where We've Been) ago
Chapter 39-1: Obituaries (Book Five Premiere) ago
Chapter 39-2: Obituaries ago
Chapter 39-3: Obituaries ago
Chapter 39-4: Obituaries ago
Chapter 39-5: Obituaries ago
Chapter 39-6: Obituaries ago
Chapter 40-1: Wick ago
Chapter 40-2: Wick ago
Chapter 40-3: Wick ago
Chapter 40-4: Wick ago
Chapter 40-5: Wick ago
Chapter 40-6: Wick ago
Chapter 40-7: Wick ago
Chapter 40-8: Wick ago
Chapter 41-1: Siege ago
Chapter 41-2: Siege ago
Chapter 41-3: Siege ago
Chapter 41-4: Siege ago
Chapter 41-5: Siege ago
Chapter 41-6: Siege ago
Chapter 41-7: Siege ago
Chapter 41-8: Siege ago
Chapter 41-9: Siege ago
Chapter 41-10: Siege ago
Reviews

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9xlife
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Will update review in a bit

Style: The author knows how to perfectly orchestrate the story. 5/5!
Story: It's a zombie tale that focuses on the darker parts of humanity. I'll go into detail without going into detail when I update this review. 5/5 though!
Grammar: I like to think that you can tell the quality of a story on RoyalRoad by the quality of its summary. Go ahead, read it. Find any mistakes? You'll probably find as many mistakes as I found in the actual story: none! JK, author is not divine and has made a mistake once in a blue moon, but you really have to look for those mistakes... sooo 5/5!
Character: Ooh. Hmm. I wonder if this is another thing I should save for the mystical land of tomorrow?... Agh, I guess I'll have to. Just know that every one of the cast is FULLY fleshed out. Sometimes in a non-metaphorical sense as well. 5/5!

oONekoGami
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I've read up to chapter 12.

I agree with Holtz, but in a slightly different way: The dark genres have always been on RoyalRoadL, they have just never been written as beautifully as your work. 

 

Style: You have the knack for getting me pulled into your story. It’s really immersive, which works really well with how I read (I imagine the scenes as I read them,) and the descriptions really set the feeling well: like when you wrote about how the shadows slowly crept past the different buildings through the town.

 

Story: The flow from each chapter is, though over done, still well done. You seem to like starting a chapter off with talking about how it’s October, or how an inanimate object looks as if it were trying to grab the moon, but those can be written off as quirks. 

 

Grammar: There aren’t any elaborate designs, nor do you make much use of the site’s coding, but I still cannot find a single thing I would have any other way; which helps the style score too since I sometimes see style as how your literal writing looks.

 

Characters: This one was quite different. You see, most of the time when an author adds in too many characters, everything gets out of control and the quality suffers a lot. Somehow though, you made the quality go towards the opposite direction. Difference isn’t a deficiency to me, you see; and I find your characters, each and every one, to be alive and defining. You said that they all get together at Chapter 10 and here I am wondering whether our dark assassin is Doug (as he seems to be quite calculating, without showing it) or Marcus (who oddly seems to be very good at fighting, and gets a tad bit crazy at times.)

 

They’re fleshed out in a way that I can actually double take on a paragraph, and try to read between the lines and put two and two together. It also seems as if your characters were the one weaving the story instead of yourself, the author. I’ll admit though that I had to take a one day break from your story because I was starting to get annoyed with the character switches, but I’m really happy to be back on my crack.

 

A little suggestion if I may; slow down on the releases. If my guess is correct, you’re here for to get more viewers? Then slow down. The fictions on this site build their viewer-base slowly through the ‘latest updates’ tab, and then they get a large influx of readers once you reach the ‘top weekly’ or ‘top monthly’ rankings. While your double daily release is amazing and awesome, it doesn’t work well with the goal of getting more people to read your work. A daily release at the most, while a release every other day is advisable.

Holtz
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Wrong place.... This doesn't belong here, sadly.

As I said in the title: you are at the wrong place, site, with this story. It is to mature, to serious for royalroadl. You will never get a footing here, never I tell you. I am not trying to insult you or anything, it's the other way around.

 

You are too good for this site, that's it.

 

Now onto the real review.

 

Style: It is gorgeous, just wonderful. It is immersive and descriptive, not too much though. Can't say much other than it being very good.

 

Story: I cannot come around but wonder if you got the inspiration for this story from a book series called: The Seed, The Blood, The Night. The Grimdark atmosphere, the mature themes, the horror -not as good as in the listed books but whatever- all entwine perfectly.

 

Grammar: Not one mistake, ergo: 5 stars.

 

Character (or should I say characters?): The characters are nicely fleshed out, real people with real problems, though it makes me wonder why in such a world only the broken seem to survive, it is always the same case with such post apocalyptic settings. Why do only the wicked and broken survive? That is unlogical and complete nonsense. But it doesn't hinder the enjoyment

 

------------------

 

Conclusion: It is a very good story BUT (very big but) there are some aspects that make it less savoury to read.

 


First off: Rape. It never goes well with rape. Yes, it can influence character growth and motivations but the mere idea of rape is repulsive and even more so if it is coupled with NTR (I think you know what that means.)

I myself had no problem with the rape part, it is all just written down, all harmless, I couldn't care less; most people ain't me.

 

Second off: The character(s). It is always difficult to balance a story with many MC's as long as they are not present in the same scene. For example, I liked the first Character the most and all other parts without him were rather... meh. But i still give you 5 stars in 'Character' because you simply did it so well.

 

Well written fiction, very mature and not for the lighthearted, that won't -I assure you- blossom on this site because it is filled with.... let's not continue down that road, alright?

 

You should give this a read if you are of the tolerant kind. It is very good and enjoyable. 

Grarg
  • Overall Score

One of the best on this site

 This story is really good and I'm surprised there's not more people following it. It's very well written, has compelling plot, decent characters, and well constructed drama. I don't think I've ever given a 5 star rating before, but here it is. Don't Feed the Dark does the zombie apocalypse genre incredibly well with a few unique elements mixed in that you don't find anywhere else. If you haven't read the story, you should.

 

Spoilers below (entire first volume)

 

Some minor criticisms:

 

1.

You handled a lot of the character deaths pretty well, with good context, buildup, and suitable tragedy. However, I think your handling on Doug's passing was pretty bad. First, you raise so many obvious death flags that it's screamingly obvious he's going to die soon after. The conversations about having Gina take leadership  "just in case", giving her the map, and making himself completely expendable gave me feeling of watching someone who's been laid off and is handing things off to his replacement.

It also didn't help that his death was anticlimactic. A paragraph and he's gone, with no much exposition to set it up.

 

2.

I'm not sure how I feel about all the magical elements in the story. On one hand, it's definitely unique. On the other, there's a reason the vast majority of zombie apocalypse stories stay very grounded in reality: to keep the story relateable to the reader. The realistic draw of apocalyptic stories is reading about how mundane everyday characters relate to a scenario with the reader forming his own opinion on how he would react as well.

The magical elements take away from that (spiritual sensing, Nicole haunting Stephen, Charlie's ability to semi-control the infected). In addition, I feel like the loss in realism could be exploited in the future for cheap, convenient plot advancement. All in all, I hope you steer away from the mystical in your continuing story and have a more grounded apocalypse.

 

3.

Finally, a few minor issues about characterizations. I didn't like how initially, every single character of the main cast had major personality issues even before the apocalypse began. The apocalypse is supposed to be about the crazy mixing with the normals in a world gone mad. Your cast was oversaturated with messed up and crazy. It wasn't until they reached the plant and incorporated Doug, Greg, and Ashley that the cast became more balanced.

I had this initial theory that Marcus is actually Russell in disguise. However, as the story wore on, Marcus seemed to have way too much empathy and sanity to be the crazed psychopath we saw in the initial chapters. If it turns out he is Russell, then I would say you performed an inexplicable personality change and it isn't realistic. If not, then where is the serial killer? Why did you introduce him only to ditch him after the beginning?

Lastly, Frank seemed to have softened up way too much too quickly. The tough exterior but can't quite let everyone die personality we see in the second half of the volume seems completely at odds with the cold, calculating, and brutal (pushing Sam presumably to her death) person we saw at the beginning. 

jenkinrocket
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I feel a little silly giving a five out of five in every category. Surely there must be some flaws, in some places... right?

 

If they are, I really haven't found them. First the bad: ....Nothing to speak of on this front, really. I suppose it won't be to some people's tastes. Like a good Stephen King novel, things get unapologetically dark. You'll cringe, tense up, pause mid way through reading and take a break because things have gotten too intense. If that doesn't sound good, this is not for you.

 

If I really wanted to split hairs I suppose I could say that there were one or two semi-awkward sentences in the first chapter (I'm on 2-4 as of now). But really, it would just be so that I don't seem so crazily biased toward this story. I am. I must confess, I am RIVETED. I can't put it down. It's interesting, human, unique, bizarre.... and I don't think I've even gotten to the main story yet. This is professional quality writing - the kind that would have an honest to goodness shot at being published. 

 

The characters are interesting, well thought out, and 3-dimensional. They feel real. The grammar, as I mentioned, is spot on. The story is interesting. Again, haven't 'gotten to know' the main monsters just yet, but the precuror is so interesting that I fail to see him/her dropping the ball. The style is spot on. The 'normal' realities of the main characters (which already are a shade dark - though some darker than others, certainly) watch worlds become darker and darker and this is communicated through elegant prose and an acute attention to detail. 

 

Bravo, and can't wait to read more.

Fieryblue
  • Overall Score

Really, really well written

In the beginning there's some major character over load but later it evens out and new characters stop appearing every chapter (although I think there are a few too many, but it's just I have trouble keeping track of everything not that the characters are bad). The grammar is perfect as far as I have seen and the story has begun to progress nicely now that the character overload is over. I can recommend this if you like apocalypse/horror survival novels, or even if all you want is a story that will suck you in. (providing you get past the 20 or however many there are character introductions) Also, all the important characters have interesting stories and quirks and feel very human, which is great.

Team Contract
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Don’t Feed the Dark is a zombie apocalypse story and by any measure a extremely good one. The prose and dialogue is well written, the pacing fast and the atmosphere is creepy and spot on. However, to only define it as such does not do justice to the great story being told by Scott Scherr. The real hook of this tale are the point of view characters. Scherr not only tells a horrifically graphic and gory zombie thriller, but through the eyes of the most broken and unlikely people possible. To not give too much away, there is a Dexter like serial killer, a stripper, an adulterer, a career criminal, a psycho cop and a deadbeat alcoholic mother to name a few. Each of these characters are very real and paint the world as such, warts and all, which makes the zombie attacks all the more frightening and realistic when they occur.

And, not only are these characters broken in every which way, but we’re introduced to them on the worse day of their lives and I’m not even talking about the zombie attack. Scherr’s skill in pulling off these types of characters is the immense amount of humanity he brings to each of them, with redeeming qualities that make you sympathetic to them, even at the height of their bad behavior. Its this mix of throwing characters that would be interesting in their own right and then forcing them into this nightmare scenario that sets this story apart.

If you’re a fan of gritty realism and heart pounding horror (and aren’t too squeamish!) Don’t Feed the Dark will be a must read for you. Not only that, but this story has longevity! The cross country adventure the characters embark on and the endless horrors they face, but from the dead and each other is riveting.

5 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of survival horror, start reading this now! But I warn you, be prepared for sleepless nights!

 

FerroLad
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I feel like a broken record

This story reads more like a published work of fiction rather than a story on Royal Road. It's amazing in it's length and exquisite writing. Each new character is introduced in extreme detail, but done in a way that makes it all feel natural. The story just flows together perfectly. I began reading the first chapter and before realizing just how far I had gotten, I was ten chapters in and going strong.

 

I really did try to find ways in which this story could be improved. Maybe a grammar mistake or two, a plot hole that affected the story in a major way, anything that could use some sort of revision, but I couldn't find one. I'm surprised that this story isn't more popular than it is already. 

The one aspect that may be off putting to some of the Royal Road denizens is how dark the story is. This story focuses on killers, strippers, adulterers and other unsavory characters. The magic within this story though is that you actually care about the characters presented. They're flawed, they make mistakes, but that's what makes the characters in this story so great. They're relatable...to some degree.

 

Now I wouldn't go so far as to call this story a masterpiece or anthing of such excess, but this story is one that will grab you immediately with its beautiful writing and fantastic characters. Reading the first few chapters is all it will take to get hooked on this amazing story.

meddler88
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Just found this story from the Scribes of Darkness forum page. I love dark fantasy and this story scratches that it so i recommend it and other dark fantasy to everyone.

 

http://royalroadl.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=84371

Gylion
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I absolutely devoured this story and charge it as guilty for being too good.

I won't go into detail since that would mean spoilers but the Author knows how to dangle hope in front of you like a carrot.

It's innovative and detailed but also lets you fight for every scrap of Information about things that could happen in the future. Which means that things can go in a direction you won't foresee.