I loved Against That Shining Darkness. As I sit and wonder how to tell you why I loved it, without giving away any spoilers, the word 'clean' keeps coming to mind. I just read another fantasy novel and I liked it too, but the hero in that novel was half demon and he was easy enough to like, but very hard to love. I like gritty and realistic sometimes, but it's like a breath of fresh air to read a novel like That Shining Darkness by Chogan Swan with a hero like Seth Arodan. Seth is a hero I can love. He's not perfect, but in many ways, he is the heroic ideal. Don't get me wrong, there are enough bad guys and evil in That Shining Darkness to cause all the stress and conflict any reader could want. Through it all, most of the time Seth thinks and acts like a true hero should. I couldn't help but love him. I couldn't help but think he'd make an awesome friend, brother, or son.
Chogan Swan's writing style is perfect for this genre and this novel. She has so obviously read the best the genre has to offer and has put together her own unique contribution to the field. I saw subtle nods to Arthurian legend, the Old Testament, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and many other fantasy greats and classics. I like the clear distinction between good and evil, even though sometimes it may be hard to see that distinction when it is running havoc with your life. Last, but certainly not least, I love a unique and interesting portrayal of dragons. This is the first book of a series and I, for one, am hooked. This is a rich world with characters I hope to enjoy for years to come.