Author: Anna Stephens
Synopsis: The Wolves lie dead beside Rilpor’s soldiers, slaughtered at the hands of the Mireces and their fanatical army.
The veil that once kept the Red Gods at bay has been left in tatters as the Dark Lady’s plans for the world come to fruition. Where the gods walk, blood is spilled on the earth.
All that stands between the Mireces army and complete control of the Kingdom of Rilpor are the walls of its capital, Rilporin, and those besieged inside.
But hope might yet bloom in the unlikeliest of places: in the heart of a former slave, in the mind of a soldier with the eyes of a fox, and in the hands of a general destined to be king.
Having realised breathing is overrated when devouring Godblind, I was so excited for Darksoul. Who needs to put a book down even when they are walking off a train? I was desperate to turn a couple more pages!
The plot is more simplistic than the first book – the entire thing is one big battle. The two sides are clashing, with a city under siege caught in the middle, and it doesn’t get much more than that. Of course, there are some betrayals, sacrifices, magic and heartbreak thrown into the mix, but that’s what it boils down to.
I love reading about large-scale battles: it’s why I’m so interested in Roman fiction. This, for me, was such a perfect combination; there’s magic flying about adding in the impossible, but there is tactics, schemes and overwhelming odds. Despite the constant fight, and the violence that accompanies it, I didn’t find this book as flinch-worthy as the first one, which may be a relief to some?
There is a definite shift in the characters this time. Dom – while still playing a crucial role – isn’t present as much, nor is Rillirin.
Mace shines as a leader, inspiring men to follow him and dealing with otherwise violate situations (a grieving Lim is a force to be reckoned with) with a quiet strength. He is not invulnerable, however, and his own personal loss nearly topples him over the edge.
Ash chuckled. “Put your clothes at the bottom of the other bed and get in it, you sex-crazed maniac,” he said, as thought it was obvious. Which it was.
Crys still holds the position of my favourite character. Crys in love, however, might just be the giddiest thing ever, despite the war raging. He’s so flustered by it all; it’s nothing short of adorable. But Crys has a bigger role to play than a lover this time, a part bigger than anyone anticipated.
Ash and Tara are a great duo. Dalli keeps Mace standing. The Blessed One is evil and twisted and such a well sculpted character you have to admire her in her own way. Corvus is power-hungry while Galtas holds the position for the most hated.
The characters and writing style leave you no choice but to be emotionally invested in the book. I have never feared for a character as much as I did for Crys at one point – and it wasn’t something physically happening to him, but his reaction to another event. The scene didn’t disappoint: I cried.
This review is hard to put into words without spoiling anything. If you’re not a fan of long, drawn-out battles, you might find the lack of anything else happening for the entire book a little off-putting.
But it’s fast-paced, tense, emotional and you see the best and worst of characters facing impossible situations. The ending was bittersweet, the epilogue scary, and everything has been put into place to lead neatly onto the next book.
If you enjoyed the first book, if you like dark fantasy, you’re going to love Darksoul. I see this becoming a re-read: even knowing what happens doesn’t stop you feeling what the characters are experiencing.
A fantastic read!