Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson

Generally, the second book in a trilogy tends to be the weakest novel, simply due to the fact that it's the bridge between the opening introduction and the final climactic action. But that's not the case with Jill Williamson's second novel, "To Darkness Fled".

Keeping up a steady pace of action and character development, Jill pens a gripping continuation of her series, "Blood of Kings". In this second book, she introduces more characters, develops some elements introduced in her first book, and produces new obstacles for her characters to overcome.

I am fascinated by bloodvoicing, the ability to speak to one another through the mind. It's far more than ESP...bloodvoicing can be used to observe, to spy, to influence, and to wage war. Achan is just beginning to get a handle on his gift, by far the most powerful bloodvoicing gift given. And it's HILARIOUS watching him learn.

Vrell knows a bit more about her gift, but even she has some issues with it...such as learning to keep Achan out of her thoughts! The relationship between Achan and Vrell is also entertaining, as he still believes her to be a young boy....a fellow stray, even.

Some surprises popped out at the end of "From Darkness Hid" that I don't want to ruin for you, but those surprises were game-changers that kick off in the second book. Suffice it to say that roles are not always what they seem, and everyone has a story to tell.

I love the people of Berland, specifically, Shung, Achan's new appointed shield. He adds a lot of heart to the story in the way he watches out for and cares for Achan. He's a wonderful addition to Sir Gavin, Sir Caleb and company.

Traveling through Darkness did get a bit old, as it did for our characters. It wasn't tedious to read...Jill just did such a fabulous job with scene description that we felt what the travelers felt.

It seems when King Axel was murdered, Darkness fell on Er'Rets...an evil that manifests itself in no light whatsoever, changing the terrain and the inhabitants into creatures best left unmet. The problem is Darkness is encroaching on all of Er'Rets, and someone has to rise to the challenge of pushing back the Darkness.

Sound familiar?? Isn't that our task as believers in Christ? What a gorgeous word picture of the Christian faith! And watching Achan learn to walk by Arman (God) actually taught me a lot about my own walk with Him.

I must admit...Vrell drove me crazy. Her logic is so flawed it is irritating...but necessary to drive the story forward. I love her...but want to shake some sense into her!

This book came in at 680 pages, making me think I'd have a long time of reading...did I mention I finished it in three days?? The story moves along at a rapid pace, keeping the pages turning into the wee hours of the night...because you just have to know if they make it out, or succeed, or find the person they look for...or something else...

Jill has truly crafted another stellar novel that will go on my 'keep and read again' shelf, right along with a handful of other series. If you haven't taken a risk and tried her books, what are you waiting for? Fantasy doesn't get any better than this in my humble opinion.

"To Darkness Fled" is published by Marcher Lord Press and is available through Amazon.com and at the publisher website. Be watching for my final review of the third and final book in this amazing and epic series.

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