- File Size: 5193 KB
- Print Length: 347 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Stoneguard Publications (February 22, 2018)
- Publication Date: February 22, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B079ZV3NL6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,873 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Darkrise (The Rhenwars Saga Book 3) Kindle Edition
|Length: 347 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"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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The premise of this book is Darien Lauchlin, the most powerful mage alive, has sold his soul to the God of Evil in order to free his lover from damnation. This resulted in him being given the job of making sure said God of Evil's followers are able to evacuate from a horrible disaster--which, notably, is not a terribly evil thing for said god to do. Unfortunately, his former friends and colleagues want nothing than the genocide of the refugees. Darien wants a peaceful solution for the million+ people as well as his former comrades but that seems impossible. Meanwhile, Naida and Quinlan are trying to figure out a way to prevent the end of magic and the death of everyone who uses it.
M.L. Spencer is one of the best grimdark authors of the 2010s and has managed to establish a world where you don't need gratuitous amounts of violence, swearing, or sex to be dark as hell. Her books thrive on a more cold uncertainty about what is the right thing to do and the perhaps chilling idea that there often isn't a moral answer to problems and many people who claim to be righteous are going to be doing so in order to justify atrocities. Heroes of the previous books become monsters here but the only thing which has changed is the humanization of who the violence is being done to. It's akin to doing 3 books about the people of Gondor and Rohan then switching to the genocide of Mordor's people.
An amazing job was done with the development of Darien as a protagonist. He started as a man who was willing to do anything to protect his people and, well, he's still that same person but his attitude has switched. The depth of his betrayal by Meiran is an interesting subversion of the usual "power of love" trope in fantasy. He was willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loved, only to find out she immediately turned on him when she thought he betrayed their political cause. Meiran is the second major female love interest in the series to prove to be an awful-awful person and I'm starting to wonder if Spencer has a fondness for tearing apart epic love affairs.
Indeed, the only real critique of the book I have is the fact the romance deconstruction kind of flows through the entire book. Darien is only slightly less attractive to women than Daniel Craig and has seemingly every female in the novel want to sleep with him. These are ALL toxic relationships of various kinds and the healthiest one being where they realize Darien can't return their feelings before moving on. It's an interesting display of anti-romanticism and helps ground the book in a world where everything looks like it's a typical fantasy world but the truth is much darker.
This is the penultimate volume of the Rhenwars Saga and the set up for the finale is coming soon. I'm anxious for it as I think this is probably one of the best sagas to come out of fantasy in the past decade, especially since it didn't take years to write. It has its flaws but the story is moving and the characters interesting with a real set of themes behind the action. The fact it was all done as an indie fantasy novel budget and was self-published is the biggest surprise of it all.
Darkrise continues from where Darklands ended. Malikar and the Rhen teeter on the brink of war if a peaceful solution can’t be achieved. Darien Lauchlin, revered as a hero by some and an enemy to others, is entrenched within a battle not only between civilizations, but also within himself. Regardless of his moral conflicts and waning integrity, he’s determined to ascertain a peaceful solution and stand as a bridge between both worlds. Howbeit, his desires are incongruous to those of his new oath and master. Darien struggles with retaining his humanity, whilst striving to protect it. In doing so, numerous aspects of his life must change as he realizes that in order to attempt the impossible, he must surrender to the unthinkable.
It wouldn’t be a Rhenwars novel without the beloved, misunderstood, and flawed, Quin Reis. He’s continuing his efforts to aid Darien on a separate, perilous journey of discovery and strife. Even so, there’s some interesting facets of his personality that are brought forth along with more insight into who and what he is. Can a touch of humanity deliver him from the turbidity encompassing his soul? One can only hope. As one of the most intriguing characters in the series, Quin never ceases to sacrifice himself for others and continuously advocates for causes that are beneficial to the whole. I do love that numerous so-called ‘demons’ in this series comprise more rectitude and ‘goodness’ than those proclaiming morality and righteousness. Furthermore, those purporting other cultures as savage, display the very barbarity they assign to their nemeses.
With a few darker undertones than the previous novels in the series (at least to me), Darkrise comes closer to having a grimdark edge. Conflicted characters, demons, hell-hounds, magic, torture and war, are all interwoven into a compelling tale that I didn’t want to end.
The one thing that perplexed me was the sudden aberrant behavior of an essential character. Throughout the series and especially in this novel, he remained unflinching and cold (as he should). Even after proclaiming his ‘blood-thirst’ and elation at decimating his enemies (or friends…he’s like that), it completely changed when the opportunity presented itself. It was contrary to everything that he is and previously demonstrated. Perhaps, this aspect was needed to augment another character’s purpose and significance. He certainly benefited from this reversal in characterization. I can’t wait to read the next novel and see.
Darkrise by M.L. Spencer is a captivating read with relatable characters that you’ll care about. The world is richly drawn, enhancing the epic experience. Definitely recommended.
Darkrise continues Darien's story as he tries to unite the people of the Darklands, many of whom still see him as the mage who destroyed their army two years before and would happily see him dead. At the same time, he has to contend with his former allies planning ways to trap him and his new allies turning him into a weapon, no matter what it costs him.
The Rhenwars series has never been simple fantasy but as the invasion draws closer, each book has become gradually darker. There are plenty of conflicts, with several of the supposedly righteous characters showing themselves to be just as ruthless as the ones they decry as monsters. There are also enough gruesome moments to satisfy most grimdark fans, with the standout being Darien's lesson in how to become a Battlemage.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Quinlan Rais serves to levy some of the darkness as he embarks on his own quest to find a way to forestall matters. As in Darklands, his self-deprecation and sarcasm is a welcome relief from some of the more serious characters.
Obviously, since this is the third book (and there has to be a fourth or Ms. Spencer and I will have words), I recommend reading both Darkmage and Darklands before this one. But then I'd highly recommend reading all of them anyway.
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This is a great continuation of the series, but I would highly advise you to...Read more