Part 1 of Jill Williamson's Epic Fantasy Series The Kinsman Chronicles
The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.
Amid the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.
Darkness Reigns is collected together with parts 2 and 3 in King's Folly.
After following Jill's progress with Darkness Reigns, I was more than excited to read this book and even more overjoyed to have the privilege to be apart of the launch team. This review is overdue and I apologize for that. Darkness Reigns is a prequel to her debut and well-loved series, The Kingsman Chronicles and is the first part out of three in her book, King's Folly.
Pros: There is at least four perspectives in this small book. While I had difficulty following multiple perspectives back when I read By Darkness Hid, I think the author did a marvelous job with this one. Each perspective was intriguing and unlike other books with many voices, I could tell apart these perspectives. As usual, the world-building was exceptionally superb and despite the complicated story-word , I didn't have much difficulty understanding it. The plot kept my interest as well. Now I didn't like everything about the characters, I found myself enjoying them because of the unique aspects to their personalities.
Cons: Hmm... I know the concubine thing is historical and rulers living during that time did it. But it was hard for me to like the prince, even though all things considered, he dealt with it decently. I wish the book didn't have to go into that much detail. Though it was mild, it could have been better. Then, there was the symbolism. I wasn't quite sure who was supposed to represent the true God, but there was a part of the plot that strangely sounded similar to Christ's birth, but it was very odd. I suppose I have to read the next book to figure it out.
Overall, this book was a great Christian-fantasy novel, as all of Jill Williamson's books are. However, I do recommend to more of a mature audience, since this is supposed to be a pagan culture. I can't wait for the next book to be released! I thank Mrs. Williamson for letting read this book beforehand and appreciate her encouragement for teen writers like me.
Cover: Intriguing - love the colors
Romance: There is plenty of romance (arranged marriages, concubines, romantic gestures, and even some brief interludes I'd classify as PG)
Entertainment: The plot doesn't race past but lets you get to know the characters which make you totally invested in their lives.
Story: Earthquakes threaten the realm and everyone (royalty to orphans, good and evil people) are struggling to survive not only the catastrophes around their homes but also their complicated personal circumstances. I really enjoyed the multiple view points of the different characters from different walks of life as they viewed and reacted to what was happening around them in different ways.There is a clear struggle between good and evil throughout the story which builds and the author doesn't shy away from showing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Clean Fantasy Novel
This was an amazing story. The characters were extrememly interesting and real. If this book is any indication, the rest of the series is going to be epic!