- File Size: 3332 KB
- Print Length: 224 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Role of the Hero Publishing; 2 edition (March 23, 2014)
- Publication Date: March 23, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00J7CTPYY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,988 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Darkness Revealed (Blackwell Magic Book 1) Kindle Edition
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“Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.” ― Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron
Recruit Ryan Blackwell’s father was determined that he not follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, and used his power and lawyerly clout to make sure it didn’t happen. No West Point. No Valley Forge or Citadel. Ryan would, come hell or high water, bend to his father’s will. But there wasn’t much he could do about it when Ryan was recruited to Northshield University – the same military college his grandfather attended – with a full scholarship. No, Ryan simply packed a small bag and boarded a bus.
At first, Northshield was everything he expected. Reveille at oh’ dark thirty each morning. Grueling PT, strict regulations, and screaming Drill Sergeant Upper Classmen with quick tempers and a tendency to make life on campus utterly miserable if they wished. Just what he expected, just what he wanted from his experience as an ROTC college student.
But then? Things got bad. It started simply at first. Magical motes, like tiny bits of fairy dust, dive bombing him as he ran through a creek, attempting to stay ahead off the pack of his fellow freshmen out for a grueling PT run. But then the motes attacked, and one of his fellow classmen went down. And as much as Recruit Blackwell wanted to hide who he was, and what he could do, he couldn’t let his fellow freshman drown. So, he stepped in.
His secret laid bare to two of the upperclassmen, the story begins to grow and evolve into something horrific. For something is trapped on the grounds of Northshield University. And when a twisted recruit pulls part of the darkness out of its prison below ground, people begin to die in horrific ways. And though Ryan is just a freshman with a bit of magic and no training, it seems he is the only one with any sort of knowledge that might trap the darkness back into its prison – and ascertain that the true monstrosity trapped so very long ago isn’t released upon the world.
In a lot of ways, this could have been just some YA story of a young man gaining amazing magical powers and riding in to save the day. Luckily, it turned out to be a much better book than that. Ryan knows he isn’t strong, he isn’t trained or knowledgeable. But he is ready to go all out, to give his own life if necessary, to stop what is happening. He has a good heart, a good soul, and a strong link to the strength his grandfather displayed in the Second World War. He isn’t cocky, he doesn’t suddenly gain super powers. He is just a college freshman with a bit of talent, a will to learn, and some quirky abilities he has had to learn to control in order to keep himself sane – and make sure others think he is as well. Of course, on a campus where weird things happen, and two or three students a year die under ‘unusual’ circumstances, there are those who watch out for anyone who appears who seems a bit odd, a bit like they are there for less than your bog standard military school reasons. So Ryan finds a friend or two. But when push comes to shove? Yeah. It’s all pretty much on him.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from By Darkness Revealed. I just felt like something a bit magic, a bit horror, and this is the first thing that popped up on my reader that fit the bill. I dove in, and from the first page I was hooked. I added it to my collection from a ‘Freebie’ email (it is Free on Amazon) – probably because I liked the cover, to tell the truth – I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up from reading that it was a “coming of age” book – that isn’t my thing normally. But it kept me riveted from page one, so I am very glad I did.
Pulled back a star for lack of backstory for the main character. Other than that, it was great.
This urban fantasy novella begins with Ryan Blackwell, a freshman at a military school, running a drill with his unit. Something odd happens to a fellow recruit, and Blackwell can see it's a magical attack by some sort of teeny critters -- otherworldly gnats, maybe -- so he goes back to rescue the young man. Blackwell hasn't been keen on others knowing about his special powers, but his platoon leader figures it out -- and soon our hero has more trouble on his hands than he ever bargained for: dead students, interviews with the local police, and a malevolent spirit that wants to kill him.
I enjoyed this book, but I wanted more. The author left a number of things unexplained: the mysterious gardener, the nature of the dispute between Ryan and his father, and how Ryan came to have special powers in the first place. McLaughlin also has an unfortunate tendency to mix up to lay and to lie -- although I'm willing to blame that on the first-person narrator. Otherwise, the book is well-written and the magic is coherently structured. And I suppose some of the things I was left wondering about might be explained in later books.
I'd recommend By Darkness Revealed as a quick read for urban fantasy fans who don't mind a little military-school terminology mixed in with their critters that go bump in the night.
Originally published at Rursday Reads.
The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat all of that info here. Please read the blurb for more info on Ryan and Northshield University.
The author did a good job describing Ryan and both the setting and history of Northshield University. Ryan is written as a multidimensional character who, as a young adult, is figuring out who he is and what he stands for. I can just picture him as this young man, away from home for the first time at college, and being thrust into this battle with an unknown dark magic enemy.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of the Blackwell Magic series.