Thank you to Sarina Langer for my copy of this novel.
The death goddess Ithrean has lead the dead to their rest and watched over them in Dunhă for centuries, but they are no longer at peace. Their souls turn the red grass black, and their corruption seeps into the world of the living.
Naavah Ora is an elven mage who can enter Dunhă at will, and study it’s corruption like no one else can.
Doran is a runaway who cares about nothing more as much as the next treasure, even if it puts his own life in danger.
840 is the only male sacrifice in his village, longing for a chance to live.
Ash is a troublemaker who is learning that he can’t bun his way through every obstacle.
To halt the coming darkness, they need to work together.
It’s too bad they are too different to get along.
‘Darkened Light’ is not the kind of book I usually read but I was contacted by the author and asked if I would read and review her novel. After reading the synopsis found myself intrigued and eager to dive into something different and a genre I rarely even consider picking up.
With Fantasy books if the world your characters inhabit isn’t believable, then the whole story will fail regardless of the quality of the writing or great characters. The spirit world of Dunhă and the villages and forests that the characters live and journey through, were vividly brought to life from the outset. It was like I could see the movie of the story in my mind and I accepted this band of misfits travelling together without question.
The book started out strongly with the description of a nightmare that Naavah Ora had where the world is dying. It sets an ominous tone and is something Naavah Ora herself refers back to many times in the story as it begins to appear that it wasn’t a simple nightmare but actually a warning/premonition of what is to come.
Each chapter of the book is narrated by one of the four main characters and has a few lines before it that are all by the same, mysterious narrator. I had the sense of it being someone we’d maybe heard of but not been introduced to and until it was made obvious to the reader, I had only one contended for who that might be. I won’t say who that was or if it was correct, but I did like the cryptic and illusive aspect this added and the possible clues as to what was to come in the story that were included.
As the synopsis tells you, our main characters aren’t instant friends, Naavah Ora is probably the most reluctant to travel with the others initially and resists and niceties the longest. She is also the one who knows the most about what the ritual 840 was rescued from was for and what the things she sees both in Dunhă and in their world actually means. As a mage she is also the one most equipped to stop it, but she needs to realise she can’t do this alone and her Grandmother had her reasons for sending her out into the world with these strangers.
I liked the four main characters, especially Naavah Ora. I liked her strength, determination, sense of duty but also her faults and that she had moments of weakness despite all her powers. Doran and 840 had great character arcs and development through the novel and I enjoyed how they grew as they shared their secrets and learned more about their past with each others encouragement and support. Ash is an impulsive character who brought extra danger and suspense into the story. All the characters are on a journey of self discovery while also having to learn how to get along and work together to save their world from the corruption of dark spirits.
I thought that the story was fun kept me wanting to know what would happen next. It wasn’t so gripping that I couldn’t put it down, but it held my interest until the end. I know this is the first in a trilogy of books and I will definitely be reading the others as this one ended on a cliffhanger that makes me want to find out what happens next to our motley crew and if they succeed in saving their world.