Book Review: From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson

From Darkness Won CoverGreat book. Even better series. Need I say more?

Well, I guess it wouldn’t be fair to end there when you’re expecting a review.

But before you keep reading:

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

If you haven’t read books one and two, you’ll find out things that could ruin some major mysteries.

Do yourself a favor and read the first two books.

Otherwise, proceed full charge to the blaring of trumpets.

The book summary (from the website):

Achan steps into his role as Crown Prince and prepares for war. But war against whom? Could Esek still be alive? Has Lord Nathak taken Esek’s place? Or is the mysterious Hadad the true enemy Achan must confront?

Vrell has her own agenda of serving Prince Oren as a healer, but when she is stormed and lost to the Veil, Achan does all he can to bring her back. His conversations with her are strange, though, as if she has no memory of who he is.

In a land consumed by Darkness, the fate of Er’Rets hangs in the balance as Achan endeavors to take the throne and end the reign of Darkness.

Plot

This is the last book in the series, so I was expecting great things from the plot.

  • How would the various subplots weave together?
  • Would the climax fulfill my expectations?
  • Would the end leave me satisfied?

I’m slightly torn. From a plot perspective, as the climactic book of an amazing series, this didn’t deliver the wow-factor I’d hoped. It was probably thanks to the early conclusion of the main plot, which happened with good reason and allowed for other important story threads to conclude.

Still, I wished for something more spectacular. I’m not disappointed, just not as enamored as I wanted to be.

That aside, this was a satisfying plot. It hit all the right notes and didn’t leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Danger wove throughout the story. Battles raged. Final plots fell into place. Twists threw the story in unexpected directions. And the end…well, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

Setting

Unlike the first two books, the setting isn’t wildly different or creative since the story has taken the characters to almost every corner of the kingdom. That doesn’t mean the setting is worse, it just didn’t carry the same sense of wonder and discovery. The main new locations are Armonguard, the quintessential fantasy city, and Noiz, a cool fortress tucked into the mountains.

Another thing that was different was the deepened interaction in the Veil. Some cool aspects of bloodvoicing also appeared, keeping the magic system fresh. Excellently done in my opinion.

There were some new creatures as well, beasts worthy of a place in a fantasy story. Coming in the final book, they felt like add-ons, and I wish they had appeared earlier in the other books, but it was better than not having them introduced at all.

The setting wasn’t the emphasis, merely the stage for the story to be acted out on. It worked well as a background without distracting from the important pieces of the story.

Characters

What would this series be without the characters—particularly Achan and Vrell? Not nearly as good, I can promise you that. Some of their interactions left me grinning, others made me laugh, and all of them improved the story by leaps and bounds.

Achan. I can’t get over how he jumped off the pages like a real person. He’s funny, stubborn, and loyal. He does things he later regrets, but continues to grow in his faith in Arman. Some of his one-liners are among the best I’ve read.

Vrell. What a mystery. Her story took a wild turn, one that had me wavering between giddy pleasure at the conflict it created and frustration at the delays it caused. She progressed through her problems and faced difficulties that tested her—one in particular that ultimately determined her fate.

In a sense, the plot of Achan and Vrell’s relationship is as important as the plot to reclaim Er’Rets. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that the end was one of the most satisfying ones I’ve read. Period.

After all the turmoil, twists, and trials, it’s impossible not to want to see Vrell and Achan get married. Did they?

Ha! As if I’d tell you. When I said spoiler alerts, that wasn’t what I meant.

The characters in this series are wonderful. From Crown Prince Achan to incorrigible Kurtz and steady Sir Gavin, they make the books shine and add depth and complexity to the plot.

Conclusion

Wow. Fantastic writing. Amazing books. What more could a bookworm ask for?

I read fantasy because it’s cool. I want to go to new worlds, bond with dynamic characters, and feel as if I’ve been on a wild but fulfilling adventure.

Mission accomplished and then some.

This was a great fantasy series, one of the best I’ve read. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and read these books. You won’t regret it.

From Darkness Won earns a spot on Shelf Excellent.

Author website: Jill Williamson

Have you read the Blood of Kings Trilogy? For “Christian” fantasy, what did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts.


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