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Darkborn (Darkborn Trilogy, Book one) Paperback – May 5, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Darkborn Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A mysterious curse puts unusual limitations on the cast of Sinclair's slow-moving but intriguing paranormal romance, the first of a trilogy. The blind Darkborn of Minhorne can't survive in the light, while the Lightborn will perish without it. The peaceful lives of Dr. Balthasar Hearne and Lady Telmaine Hearne, magically gifted Darkborn, are disrupted when Tercelle Amberley, once betrothed to Bal's long-missing brother and now engaged to duke-to-be Ferdenzil Mycene, shows up to ask Bal's help in delivering her illegitimate—and Lightborn-fathered—twin boys. She promptly deserts the infants, and an assassin seeking them takes the Hearnes' daughter hostage as further complications ensue. Sinclair (Cavalcade) raises too many unanswered questions, mostly regarding the origins of the curse and the characters' Regency-style manners, but the political intrigue is mostly enough to sustain readers' interest. (May)
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"Swift action, broad conspiracies, and monumental life-and-death stakes...grand adventure."
-Sharon Shinn

"A wonderful read, with an intriguing setting populated by appealing and memorable characters."
-Lane Robins
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; 1 edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045146270X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451462701
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,758,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs. Baumann VINE VOICE on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Plot Summary: In this new fantasy series, the Darkborn cannot live in light, and the Lightborn cannot live in darkness. These two races live side by side in the city of Minhorne, separated by the tolling of the sunrise and sunset bells. Dr. Balthasar Hearne accepts a noblewoman's plea for shelter at dawnbreak, and delivers her twin babies. This act of mercy will nearly take Bal's life, when two men arrive days later to beat the information from him. Only the arrival of his wife, Telmaine, and mage Ishmael Strumheller, save Bal from his mortal injuries. Their relief is brief; these men will stop at nothing to get their hands on the twins.

It's been a while since I've read a pure fantasy novel, one without a single toehold in reality, and it felt a bit strange trying to acclimate to this purely imagined landscape. The Darkborn are born blind, and they navigate and `see` by sonning, which I interpreted as some kind of bat-like radar. They live in perpetual dark, and light will turn them to ashes. The Lightborn can see and live in light, they cannot son, and plunging them into darkness will kill them. If I start thinking about the realities behind these limits, I'd probably be tempted to punch a bunch of holes into this construct, so I'll just suspend my disbelief and go with it.

Fortunately, the writing and plotting captured my attention, and the slow start builds to a heart-pumping finale. The Darkborn are prejudiced against magic users, and Ishmael is a covert, low-level mage. When he meets Telmaine at an aristocratic gathering, he immediately suspects her demure shoulder-high gloves hide her ability to read thoughts by touch.
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Format: Paperback
Not sure why everyone so far's giving four stars rather than five; this is an excellent book!

The author takes the idea of "creatures of the dark" burning up in sunlight and expands it to include "creatures of the light" that disolve in darkness, and then takes out all of the flat magic-creature stereotypes that would emerge out of that under the hands of a less talented storyteller and creates some wonderfully human characters. I'm also particularly interested in the way the Darkborn use "sonn" or sonar like bats or dolphins to make their way around, and how the author has expanded on that idea and how such a thing would affect a society's manners, and art, and writing, and living. The story reads more like a light sci-fi than fantasy in some ways, and the little analytical creature in me really enjoyed the thought that went into the creation of the world. It also reads in a historical-fiction way as well as another reviewer pointed out--the "tone" of the narrative sounds like a well-educated lady from an aristocratic society is narrating, although the effect is dampened a bit when the story falls into a male POV. Still, even the males are somewhat polished, but it's fun to read, not fruity or anything at all.

Strong characters, strong world, intriguing plot line that will likely continue into the next book(s). I'm looking forward to the sequal. Go buy this! (I've found the local bookstores in Chicagoland seem to only have one copy hanging around so if you're not getting it from Amazon, run out and snatch your copy up quickly before it's gone.)
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Format: Paperback
A page-turning plot about a world inhabited by those who are darkborn - unable to survive light - and lightborn - unable to survive darkness. The story avoids cliches. The darkborn and lightborn are not enemies (though they may hold suspicions, as humans are prone to do with those who are different). While the darkborn and lightborn have different cultures, and even different senses, it is evident from the beginning that both groups are human. Sinclair presents a fascinating world with engaging characters.

I bought this not realizing it was a part of a serial - I usually avoid buying serials, because I am so impatient to find out how a story ends - but I am glad for my mistake, in this case, and hope the next book in the trilogy is worth the wait!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This fantasy novel centers upon T--, a noblewoman who is a happily married woman. That is rare in itself. Her husband, B--, is introduced first but is less central to the plot. The third main character is I--, a nobleman famous for his fights with invading monsters. B-- falls under attack because he performs an act of charity for anther noblewoman, who has much to hide. The repercussions of this event expand in widening circles: from B--, to his and T--'s children, and beyond.

The author has created a fascinating and unique magical world, where some people cannot tolerate light; and others cannot tollerate dark. I will leave the details for you to read, and simply say that these ideas are worth the read in themselves. T-- hides intriguing magical secrets, and that also adds to the fascination.

I disagree with the reviewer who mentions a love triangle. Say rather that both T-- and B-- have friends of the opposite gender (B--'s of long standing; and T--'s with I-- quite new). A topic explored by this book is the resulting jealosy of the other spouse, even though no affair is considered or even wanted. B-- and T-- remain happily married throughout the book, which is extremely rare indeed!

"Darkborn" is a fast paced novel, with much action and complicated emotions. The book switches between the point of view of the three main characters fairly often, but mostly focuses on T--.

My largest complaint is that the author made a large tactical blunder in not starting from T--'s point-of-view. That makes sense from a timeline point of view, but fails to attach the reader (emotionally) to the book's main character. I found it rather disappointing when B-- fell into relative obscurity.
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