Birth of a Dark Nation Nation by Rashid Darden is a charming novel about vampires of African descent who travelled to the United States during the transatlantic slave trade. The plot follows the life, love, and adventures of its chief protagonist, Justin Kena, a young African American man from Washington, DC. There was one thing after another that left me speechless and awe-inspired.
The first pleasing thing that struck me about Birth of a Dark Nation is the explicit detail Darden provides as he introduces each new character. He thoroughly describes every aspect about each person, from their physical attributes to their unique personality traits. He provides the same level of detail when describing scenes, depicting sounds, and when presenting transitions from one scene to the next. He makes it easy to visualize everything, and I quickly became immersed into the plot almost as if I was right there amidst the action, which added to the novel’s realism. I also found myself easily identifying with some of the characters. In addition, I could relate to some of the situations that Justin faced, such as having to help the inept employee who was clueless about how to reboot her computer; never having attended Carnival DC; and making friends with a random person on a street corner.
I initially was a little apprehensive about a novel on the subject of vampires. But I also was a bit intrigued, given that it focused on African vampires as opposed to mainstream ones. I had never heard of or read a book that tackled vampires from that vantage point. I was not at all disappointed. This excellent work infused comedy and drama brilliantly, and I dare say it is probably the most exciting novel I have read in a long, long time.
I have read each of this author’s previous novels (Lazarus, Covenant, and Epiphany, also known as the Lazarus Trilogy), but Birth of a Dark Nation is without question the best. It is great prose, filled with many twists and turns – surprises and “I thought so” predictable moments – all of which make this a must-read for anyone who enjoys reading works of fiction. Birth of a Dark Nation takes the reader on a memorable adventure, and I can hardly wait for Volume II.