Monday, April 4, 2011

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson

I'm sure other reviewers have their favorite genre of fiction. Mine just happens to be mystery and suspense...those are the books I tend to pick up first and tend to read the fastest. However, I've developed different tastes for other genres over the years since I started my blog...and fantasy is a genre I've found I truly enjoy.

But, because it isn't my choice of genre, sometimes I have a hard time getting into a fantasy novel. So, occasionally, a really good story will sit on my bookshelf longer than it really should, simply because I'm waiting to be 'in the mood' for a good fantasy.

I'm not proud of the fact that I didn't devour Jill Williamson's novel, "By Darkness Hid", when it first released. But I'm thrilled that I finally read, excuse me...make that INHALED IT! From the first chapter I was captivated by the rich detail, the intricate world, and the fascinating characters she created.

May I just say Jill Williamson's "Blood of Kings" trilogy stands tall with "Lord of the Rings", the Potter books....and can go toe to toe with Lewis for engaging and entertaining fantasy. I'd dare say that fans of Tolkien and Lewis will adore Jill...I know I do.

Oh, to live inside her imagination!!

Achan Cham has only known the life of a stray in the land of Er'Ret. The chores, the living conditions, the beatings....and the abuse from boys in his village define his life. Or at least, they attempt to define him. But Achan as dreams and aspirations that transcend the simple and ordinary life of a stray.

For one, he longs to marry Gren Fenny and take her away from life in Sitna. And after meeting Sir Gavin Lukos he may have his chance. Sir Gavin takes Achan on as his squire, training him in sword and in duty. His attention gives Achan's existence new meaning.

Vrell Sparrow has lived a privileged life, but one that also puts expectations that often seem unreasonable. When future king, Prince Gidon Hadar, selects her as his wife, Vrell's mother sends her into hiding. Unfortunately, Vrell has a gift--bloodvoicing--a much sought-after gift.

Also selected to be an apprentice of sorts, Vrell finds herself journeying to be trained by Master Macoun Hadar in the gift of bloodvoicing. Her path ultimately crosses with Achan Cham's, and then the fun really begins!

Let me share a bit with you about why I love this story so much. First and foremost, Jill has truly imagined an entire land from top to bottom. You will feel as much a part of Er'Rets as Achan and Vrell are, much as we longed to truly live in the Shire with Frodo and Bilbo.

And she shares this rich detail in a page-turning manner. You never feel bogged down by the story. Jill keeps the action moving at a quick pace, but never rushed or hurried. The story flows evenly and each chapter gives just enough to keep you reading to see what comes next.

Each character, from the hero to the villian is fully fleshed out. Achan will become as real to you as Poril, and you'll be anxious to find out if the journey succeeds, what will be found at each turn, and how everyone fairs. And woe to Jill if she kills someone off! (Does she? You'll have to read to find out!).

Faith in the one true God is carefully woven in as fabric to the tale. Jill brings Arman (God) in just as naturally as her characters breathe, and watching God and His love unfold in this fantasy will refresh your love for Him and for His plan for your life.

So, on one hand I feel guilty for waiting so long to read and review "By Darkness Hid". But, then again, by the time I finished the story I only had to wait two days for the second book in the trilogy (ordered from Amazon with two-day shipping:-). THEN, once book two was done I had but to order the final volume for my, waiting does pay off!

Seriously, if you enjoy fantasy, get this book. If you love fantasy, make room on your 'keep and read again and again' shelf. The only way "Blood of Kings" won't have the staying power of Tolkien's work is if we drop the ball and don't share this book everywhere.

It's THAT good.

Be watching for my review of book two, "To Darkness Fled" tomorrow, where I'll tell you a bit more about the fascinating gift of bloodvoicing (seriously, I wish I could do it! It's like a cell phone in your head...only better!), more about the beloved characters that now live in my imagination, and how powerful Jill's story grows to be.

"By Darkness Hid" is available from Marcher Lord Press and can be ordered direct from them, or on (and tell your favorite bookstore to stock the series...they won't regret it!).

Happy Reading! Photobucket Share/Save/Bookmark

Sell Used Books - Have Your Books Shipped To Us For Free And Get Fast Cash Back!

1 comment:

Angie said...

This sounds like such a good series so I went to amazon to check it out and the first book (Kindle edition) was only .99! So I got it and then decided to see how much the second book was and it was only 3.99, so I got it too. :)