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The Darker Road (Wandering Series) Paperback – August 6, 2013
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Something is rotten in the city of Barra-Dohn. In his new series The Wandering, Graham (The Binding of the Blade) thrusts readers into a world of sandstorms, hookworms, and rhino-scorpions where created objects are idolized and worshipped instead of Kalos, the creator. The power-hungry king Eirmon is threatened and alarmed by the prophecy of one of the Devoted, a group of ascetic mystics, and the presence of two Amhuru, descendants of a righteous priest who fought against the cruel and unjust kings of the past. The prince Kaden - a reluctant heir of the king - is ordered to quash all possibility of rebellion and to instill fear and terror in the Five Cities under Barra-Dohn's regime. The prince's discoveries beyond Barra-Dohn's walls and the purpose of the Amhuru's presence are revealed to be part of a much larger struggle over proper worship and faith; secular and religious domains; family, descendants, and inheritance; and the nature of divine right. Readers will likely be reminded of biblical stories and Greek tragedies, but rather than presenting absolute moral stances, Graham effectively fleshes out the motivations, obligations, and characters of those involved. This is a highly entertaining as well as thoughtful contribution to Christian fantasy. (Aug.)
"The heart of Lewis and the world-building of Tolkien dwell richly in the works of L.B. Graham. Prepare yourself for high fantasy charged with suspense and intrigue...if you dare take the first step down the Darker Road."
"Intricate world, intriguing characters, and incredible pacing equal fascinating reading. L.B. Graham has created fantasy in The Darker Road that draws the reader in and won't let go. Fun reading, but be ready for those heart-thumping pages. There is danger between these pages and the heroes needed to fight a scourge of corruption."
"There is a completeness to L.B. Graham's literary imagination that I don't see very often. He's a world-maker. Barra-Dohn, with its strange technologies and ruthless tyrants and wandering priests, feels like a whole world--a world you can immerse yourself in and not come out for a long time."
"This is a highly entertaining as well as thoughtful contribution to Christian fantasy."
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I especially liked that some of the technologies are NOT explained right away, so I ended up guessing, wondering exactly what was going on.
One thing I have enjoyed about all of Graham's books is that there is always a deeper story than the one playing out on the pages. His characters either know or obviously squirm reaching for a deeper meaning and understanding. Sometimes they find it, and sometimes they fail.
POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNING: This book has a common-to-this-society family problem introduced (a distant dad), but with depth and background, and it leaves the reader hoping for resolution of this problem along with the main story line. At the end of the book we see the beginning of resolution...hoping that in future books in the series the resolution will deepen.
Those who like novels about other times/ other places should enjoy this book. There are action scenes and battles but there is also character development and depth. There is a small amount of descriptive gore, but it isn't dwelt upon. There is lust described, but no lewd detail, and non-marital sex implied, but again without details and it is not promoted. There are characters who sacrifice themselves for others and those who are greedy and cunning--those who give or sacrifice for others are the ones admired.
A very enjoyable read...and now I wait for the others in the series!
But every book by Graham since has fallen flat, and I'm afraid so far, The Wandering Series is no exception. I hate even saying it! I want to be reading this author for many years to come! But, here's my thought; could these books have possibly been written by the same author? In Darker Road there are only a couple of characters that I believe are even real people. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural, almost as if all the characters are written as the same person rather than having their own identities (the use of "slang-ish" type terms in a non-technical setting sounds ridiculous). The "great epiphanies" that the characters have are so painfully obvious to the reader long before that they come across as silly revelations. I don't know. I want to BELIEVE in this author because of Binding of the Blade being one of the most satisfying series I have ever read. But so far I have not read anything (and I've waded through them all) that even appears like it was written by the same person! Not sure what's up. If anyone (including the author himself) could enlighten me I'd be appreciative. I want more writing like Binding of the Blade. It stirred my heart like only Stephen Lawhead's writing has done in the past. I would like to have several rows of L. B. Graham joining my several row collection of Lawhead. But so far there is nothing I would ever even have on the shelf after that initial series.
The characters are varied, and I found that they are morally grey, which I appreciated because that is how we, as people, are. There are the characters that lean more toward the evil side than others, but they all have motivations and are not simply evil because they're evil. I thought that gave them a real dynamic feel, a humanness. Something to which we can all relate. However, that grey that a lot of characters fall into is not reserved for everyone. There are the heroes of the story, and they are heroes because of the duty which they courageously accept. They are not given to whim and appetite for whatever they desire, but rather, choose to live in a way that does not make compromises.
The themes in the story are highly spiritual in nature. I saw a lot of biblical themes, such as generational sin, reaping what you sow, second chances, and the patience and long-suffering of God. There are, of course, many more. But, the point being that this is not just your ordinary Fiction/Fantasy. It is Fiction/Fantasy with a decidedly Christian worldview, which not many fantasy stories have.
I have fond memories of Binding of the Blade, and perhaps my remembrance of it has sweetened with time, but I loved those books. The Darker Road is new territory, yet it is still fantasy. I am seriously looking forward to seeing where The Wandering will go, and I have very high hopes for it.
Another was the imagination of the author to be able to interweive the elements of the Golden chord, the aurura field, Zerura, and Meridium. I found it all very fascinating.
Beginning with the prelude, the action sequences were also very compelling.
Finally, there are a fair amount of emotional moments in this book, especially between Kaden, Nara, and Deslo.
Overall, a great book!!