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About the Author
Amber Hayward is an internationally published author and poet. Somehow she finds time to write despite the demands of managing the Black Cat Guest Ranch in the foothills of Alberta, where she hosts and presents murder mystery weekends. Darkness of the God is the second novel in the Children of the Panther trilogy. The first in the series, The Healer, was published in 2002. Stolen Children is the title of the final novel of the trilogy.
File Size: 1254 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing; First edition (February 21, 2012)
Darkness of the God is the second book in the Children of the Panther series by Amber Hayward and while I haven't read the first book I do have an idea of what the story was in that novel as it is explained in this particularly book. The story follows Ana and her uncle Jaoa as they try to escape from Caldos, a 'religious' figure who has gained support due to his ability to heal people, and control them with a single touch. Caldos has killed Ana's father and brutally raped and murdered her mother. On top of that, Ana has a special ability to heal and control, just like Caldos, and in order to increase his power he needs to put her and her blind/deaf uncle under his control. Helping them are Glen--a man with rather 'interesting' connections--Harold, and Dulce--along with several handicapped children. When the group gets involved with a gypsy family things begin to fall apart not only for the gypsies, but for Ana and Jaoa as well. Caldos is determined to capture them and use their mysterious abilities, and a man like Caldos is willing to do just about anything to get what he wants. The premise itself is rather interesting. This is sort of a loose urban fantasy. The fantasy element is the mysterious onca ability that Caldos, Ana, and Jaoa possess, which allows them to not only to heal people, but to control their thoughts and actions. This ability is rather interesting in that it is limited and powerful at the same time. Neither of these individuals can do anything to anyone else without touching them, but in touching someone these folks can heal you, give you cancer, stop your heart, force your heart to beat, make your brain shoot off certain chemicals, make you forget pain or past events, or fabricate memories. Basically, with a single touch these folks can do just about anything within the human body (they can even make you suicidal). The story is good, but does fall pray to some elements that might bother people. Caldos is a despicable human being and Hayward does a good job making that clear. We get a glimpse into his actions and into his mind, which allows the reader to see just how horrible this person really is. One thing, however, that really bothered me that might not bother other people was the scene where Caldos actually rapes another character. I would have been okay not having the visual, but I think because I spend over 300 pages coming to like the character in question it was a big blow to me. I'm not fond of these sorts of scenes, especially since the book doesn't resolve anything around that. The abruptness of the end prevents any resolution to take place, which also leaves me with this lingering feeling of distress at what had happened. Maybe that was the author's intention, but for me it was not a good feeling to create. For others it might not matter as much. The pacing is slow at first, but when it picks up it does get very entertaining, but the by the end it moves a little too fast. Regardless, if you can get into the book from the start it will keep you entertained until the end, especially when Caldos becomes more involved in the picture and you get to see how powerful he and Ana really are. Probably the strongest element in the novel is the action, or at least the scenes leading to the action and the action itself. Glen is the 'genius mastermind' of the group, coming up with crazy plans for escape. The action moves along at a good pace, isn't too graphic, and is put together very well so that it doesn't become confusing. Sometimes action can get muddled with all the details, but Hayward doesn't write that kind of action. The two biggest flaws of the book are in the structure and in the ending. The structure is split up by character, with markers for character changes with dates, location, and name. One thing that this does is allow Hayward to use a lot of different POVs, but this ends up being somewhat of a flaw in my opinion. Many characters that don't need POVs are given one, and that leaves us with so many characters to care about throughout the novel, many of which never get developed beyond very minor changes. Some characters only get their POVs much later in the book, which leaves very little space for you to really get into their heads. The second flaw is the ending itself. It's an extremely abrupt ending. Unlike The Innocent Mage, Darkness of the God ends almost in the middle of an action sequence. The scene isn't even finished. There isn't a resolution. A character calls out another character's name and then that's it. A bunch of characters have died, the scene is still playing out, and suddenly it's over. With this being so near the rape scene and a variety of other scenes crucial to the plot I felt somewhat disheartened that there wasn't even a minor resolution. The novel should have taken another ten pages to have that scene end appropriately, since obviously there will be a third book to this. Other than those two flaws there aren't really any problems with the book. It has a solid premise that is easy to follow, meaning there is little to get confused about. Hayward paints the picture very clear, making sure you understand which characters are good, which are bad, and which are in that gray area. This book would probably fit best among those that like fantasy, but aren't into your typical urban fantasies with vampires or fantasy epics. It is a fantasy story about relatively normal people (even the gypsies are 'normal' from their cultural standing) doing extraordinary things (running from evil men with lots of money and power...and special abilities).