Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, book 1) Paperback – April 1, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
In this medieval fantasy debut, idealistic servant Achan Cham dreams of becoming a Kingsguard Knight, while Vrell Sparrow disguises herself as a boy to escape an arranged marriage. She has a supernatural gift of being able to communicate to Achan without words. This thoroughly entertaining and smart tale will appeal to fans of Donita K. Paul and J.R.R. Tolkien. Highly recommended for CF and fantasy collections.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Voice of Youth Advocates
"Wonderfully written with a superb plot, this book is a sure-fire hit with almost any reader. An adventure tale with a touch of romance and enough intrigue to keep the pages turning practically by themselves."
"This thoroughly entertaining and smart tale will appeal to fans of Donita K. Paul and J.R.R. Tolkien. Highly recommended for CF and fantasy collections." --Library Journal
"In this medieval fantasy debut, idealistic servant Achan Cham dreams of becoming a Kingsguard Knight, while Vrell Sparrow disguises herself as a boy to escape an arranged marriage. She has a supernatural gift of being able to communicate to Achan without words. This thoroughly entertaining and smart tale will appeal to fans of Donita K. Paul and J.R.R. Tolkien. Highly recommended for CF and fantasy collections." --Library Journal ----Library Journal, April 2009
Top customer reviews
Williamson tells a story that is believable and has a sense of authenticity, despite it's fantasy elements; and she also makes no use of pointless swearing, sexual innuendo, gory violence, or scatological references to do so. There are some darker elements, but they are presented tastefully, and not in a gratuitous manner. More on this in a few moments.
The basic story, without giving too much away, is that a "stray" (an orphaned boy or girl who are banished into a status of slavery even lower than that of other slaves), named Achan Cham, yearns for a better life so he can marry the peasant girl he desperately loves. Yet this is impossible, he knows, for strays can never be anything more than what they are, especially since some of them were implicated in the murder of the king nearly two decades earlier.
As he goes about his horrible life, enduring constant menial tasks and endless beatings that seem to be done just for sake of beating him, he is surprised when he is chosen for squire training by perhaps the most renowned knight of all of Er'rets (the country where this takes place), Sir Gavin Lukos, called the "Great White Wolf". He wonders why Gavin would risk the trouble of breaking the law (against training strays for knighthood), and if Gavin truly can pull him out of his bad situation.
In another place in Er'rets, a young woman named Avarella is pretending to be a boy named Vrell Sparrow. The current Crown Prince wants to marry her, but not out of love. Instead, he wants the power of her mother's land and money. If this were not bad enough, the Crown Prince is a cruel and heartless young man, who mistreats and abuses all those around him. Vrell and Achan are about to meet as a story begins that will change both their lives, and the lives of everyone else in their land, forever.
This was a terrific, incredible read. As I said, the content is quite mature and contains much "realism" that everyone is so obsessed with these days, but not with anything gratuitous. For this, Williamson deserves high praise. She can pull the reader in without having to use childish gimmicks or devices. To put it in perspective by comparison to secular writers, she is probably closer to writers like Brandon Sanderson than Terry Goodkind. In fact, that was my error in my earlier-mentioned debate, in that I seemed to have forgotten that Sanderson never uses these "darker and edgier" devices, and he is a brilliant author; while Terry Goodkind, who has gratuitous scenes sometimes, is.... not.
Not to give too much away, but Vrell is basically terrorized, and Achan undergoes much suffering, but neither are shown in graphic detail, and the reader does not find himself needlessly "shocked" by the author, as happens too often in literature, or rather, what passes for literature these days.
It is largely this series that has reminded me that, yes, an author really, truly can be realistic without tons of sex, swearing, and what not. They can reference, but need not be referenced in graphic detail. The trick is to do this without it seeming like a "cop-out" or somehow being "prudish". Williamson exhibits the writing chops to pull this off. "Real" doesn't have to mean darker and edgier when you have a talented author such as Jill Williamson.
The whole story was told in omnipotent third person as the story switched between Achan and Vrell, the two main characters, which was a wise choice on Williamson’s part. The point of view helps to move the plot along without unnecessary dialogue or scenes, since now the reader can see inside the two different characters’ heads. It’s going to be a little hard to write a good amount about Vrell and Achan since I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but we will see how it goes.
Achan Cham’s life broke my heart more than once. Each time it seemed that he could finally stand on top of the world, the earth would flip and he would be back on the bottom again. He was sweet, witty, strong in both mind and body, caring, hopeful, down to earth, and an amazing character. I loved that he had such a humble personality, but wasn’t afraid to talk back to people who were out of line, even if they were authority. He was an admirable man who did his best to handle the abuse that was thrown at him.
Vrell was quite the character. I actually cannot say much about Vrell because most of it would actually be a spoiler. Just know that Vrell was an excellent character that I sincerely enjoyed reading about. Although, sometimes I would forget Vrell’s age which made things a bit difficult, since Vrell didn’t always think like someone Vrell’s age usually would. Vrell was a character that was developed well and had some courage, spunk, ingenuity, and wit.
The plot was great, in all honesty. I was hooked for the most part, there were some parts where I wasn’t too thrilled, but it was very entertaining. Each character that was introduced was either a subtle plot-pusher (which is sometimes acceptable) or a necessary character. There were many plot twists, the biggest one, I won’t lie, I did see it coming. It was very obvious at a certain point, but still very suspenseful. It only made me love Achan even more.
The ending was stale, unfortunately. A poorly done cliffhanger that did not make me want to read more. Based on what I read in the first book, I would expect the second book to be almost as good. I don’t want to just expect or hope though. When I get to the end of a book and it’s supposed to be a cliffhanger, I want to be suddenly dangling off a cliff and I need to be frightened. I need to be horrified that I will never know what happens next if I don’t buy the sequel. Will my fingers slip? Will a bird will peck my eyes out and I fall? Will I get smacked in the head by a flying stingray? This is a very general, possibly over-exaggerated, example of what I should have running through my mind. If I reach the cliffhanger and I’m still looking off the cliff, rather than hanging from it, the writer has let me down.
Besides that, the writing was excellent. I loved the world building, no clichés, but not completely original. The writing style still made it feel unique which is exactly what matters.
I did notice that it was placed under the “Christian Fiction” tag, which I believe may throw people off a bit. It wasn’t an “in-your-face” type of book, but there were times where a character would say something similar to: “all of these other gods are false, this one is the only right one.” Or there would be a quote from the Bible said to Achan. I would recommend it for a Christian and a non-Christian. There were Christian themes, but it wasn’t overpowering or preachy.