Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: Darkness Reigns


Darkness Reigns
Jill Williamson

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.
Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.

About the Author

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including By Darkness Hid, Replication, The New Recruit, and Captives. She got into writing one day when someone was complaining about teen books and she thought, “I could do that! How hard could it be?” Very, she soon learned. But she worked hard, and four years later, her first book, By Darkness Hid, was published and won several awards.

Jill is a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant, who was raised in Alaska. She loves teaching about writing, which she does weekly atwww.GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.


Darkness Reigns tells of a continent with countries overrun by evil—human sacrifices, conniving rulers, and false gods.  People say the horrible natural disasters that have wiped cities off the map are part of the gods’ wrath.  But nobody knows for sure.  Instead, they are caught up in politics: the king of Armania will die soon, and one of his three sons must be named heir or the country will be split into civil war.  Not to mention the tenuous allegiances with the neighboring countries…

Darkness Reigns is the first installment of a three-episode serial book written by Jill Williamson.  It introduces the characters and countries (including a list of the five nations, four main characters, and dozens of minor characters) as well as the plotline.  It did not go much farther than showing the major problems of the countries, the characters’ plans, and the mysteries that will be solved through the course of the episodes.  That said, the author did an excellent job of introducing everyone and everything, and I look forward to hearing the rest of the story.  So many problems to solve!

Darkness Reigns was aptly named.  So much of the novel was focused on the darkness of the world.  What happened to the God in The Blood of Kings Series that was set chronologically later in this same world?  Instead, dozens of lower gods demand human sacrifices and creepy rituals, often involving drugs.  This is not a book for the faint at heart!  Although, the author does try to make it as appropriate as possible, considering the circumstances.  And speaking of appropriate, the kings and princes also have harems and concubines…

So, who should be king?  (The Sars’ (princes) personalities are shown early in the story, so sharing them here is not a spoiler.)  Wilek is a good man; not perfect, but well-meaning, with the country’s benefit in mind.  Janek is a good-for-nothing who is cruel and parties all the time.  Those two are the oldest sons and are in their twenties.  Trevn, a teen having just reached the age of adulthood, is also one of the options.  He is curious and introspective; although he does not want to become king, he would probably make a great one, just as Wilek would.  How can one decide?

Darkness Reigns is extremely interesting.  I have very little idea how everything will come together, and I look forward to finding it out in the next two installments.  I would recommend this book to older teens and college-age adults who enjoy dark-ish, Christian fantasy.  Although it has not shown the Christian side yet, I have little doubt that it will very soon. 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

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