So I continue to SMASH through my review copies for early March (a trend that surely will not last) and I’m back with another review for a book that will be emerging on shelves on the fifth of March. There Will Come A Darkness is a multiple POV fantasy book with a whole host of endorsements from various big names in the fantasy world – but I know I’ve been burned by an endorsement before so I’m here to share my thoughts with you all – after all that’s what this website is for!
THE AGE OF DARKNESS APPROACHES. FIVE LIVES STAND IN ITS WAY. WHO WILL STOP IT . . . OR UNLEASH IT? For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations – until they disappeared, one hundred years ago. But they left behind one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As a dark new power begins to make war on the magically gifted, five souls are set on a collision course that will determine the fate of their world: A prince exiled from his kingdom A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone And a dying girl on the verge of giving up One of them – or all of them – could break the world. Will they be saviour or destroyer?
I went into There Will Come a Darkness expecting some very heavy fantasy, something I was going to have to work my way through, the kind of thing that has a tendency to send me into a reading slump. More fool me – this turned out to be an exceptionally readable fantasy story in an interesting setting!
This story is multiple POV, but it’s the kind of story where all the different perspectives merge quite quickly. I really appreciated this because I like to have different viewpoints on the same interactions and circumstances. I think you can get a lot out of your characters through that method and it can make for some extra-juicy dramatic irony.
I’m always a fan of a hard magic system and this one hits the spot fairly well – essentially the magic is known as ‘graces’ and there are different graces that give you different powers – it’s exactly what I like and there’s even a page at the beginning of the book that explains them all – the dream!
So we follow the storylines of these six characters all of whom have very different motivations and backstories and powers and all of the other things that bundle together to make a fantasy character, I liked the mix, some of them draw from very familiar fantasy tropes and some others felt more new, I liked that it wasn’t just ‘rich and poor’ but there was some more nuance to the differences between the characters. Even though you do have those fantasy ‘classic’ elements there are some new dynamics to explore.
A lot of the plot of this book hinges on prophecy, which I find can either be a really powerful tool in fantasy stories or it ends up being something that is really significant at two points and the rest of the time is just sort of ignored? In this case, I think the prophecy worked really well, the fact that so much of the culture is focussed on the same words means that you have a constant reminder of why all of this is happening. I might have liked a bit more of an exploration into how prophecy can be misinterpreted but I think that’s the mythology nerd in me just desperate to break free.
Initially, I thought this book would be a difficult read, but in fact, it’s much lighter than I expected. That’s not to say that the issues and ideas developed are ‘light’ but the way the book is written it doesn’t have the dense feeling of a lot of similar fantasy books. I think that’s because the perspective shifts quite often and the chapters are quite short – I know short chapters can be the bane of some people’s existence but I was a fan here – again because the perspectives are fairly intertwined from the start.
In a recent read of Bone Crier’s Moon (review to come), I thought a lot about how much the idea of ‘I wanted to kill you but now I think you’re cute’ annoys me – this book edged into that kind of territory but the writing is balanced in such a way that it didn’t bother me too much. I think that might also be because there isn’t a romance focus in this story in the same way as one might expect from something like Bone Crier’s Moon which is of course YA.
Overall, I thought this was a strong fantasy novel. I wouldn’t say it scratched my constant itch for something groundbreaking – but it was a solid debut and I’ll be interested to see what comes from Katy Rose Pool next!
My rating: 3 / 5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
There Will Come a Darkness publishes March 5th!
What say you? Will you be picking this one up? Let me know in the comments below!