|Series: Broken Stone Chronicle #1||Genre: high fantasy, epic fantasy, dark fantasy|
|Read date: January 2017||Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble|
|Rating: 4/5||Author’s website: amazon.com/author/damienblack|
As a kingdom teeters on the brink of war, two witch hunters fight to stop a warlock before he unleashes an ancient evil… For centuries, the Argolian Order has protected the mortal vale from the dark forces of the Other Side. Now the barrier between worlds is breaking down, and two monks must survive a civil war before they can stop the wizard responsible. When Adelko is assigned to legendary exorcist and witch hunter Horskram, he expects an adventurous life. Death by adventure isn’t what he had in mind – but it seems the only outcome when they learn of a sorcerous theft that threatens the world. The thief wants to silence them – permanently. And so Horskram and Adelko flee from one danger to another as the Jarl of Thule leads a rebel army against the King of Northalde, plunging the realm into conflict. And on the Other Side, demonkind reawakens… The Broken Stone Chronicle is a riveting tale of war, quest, magic and horror for fans of medieval fantasy, sword and sorcery, dark fantasy and epic fantasy. Buy a copy now! Selected for the final in the 2017 SPFBO book competition
While Darkshine was the first book I recieved for free to read, it came from a person I already had contact with. Devil’s Night Dawning was a bit of a gamble on my part. To be honest, at the time I had no idea about ARCs and indie authors and self publishing, about how important a review can be for the authors who try to get their name out there without a publishing company backing them. What I saw was a guy who gave away free copies of his book, which seemed interesting and again, it was free so I thought why not? Fortunately I didn’t take a look at how long the book is, otherwhise I might have never volunteered. What a mistake it would have been! I don’t think I would be here now writing this blog and review. And more importantly, I would miss a friend and really awesome person from my life.
Since reading Devil’s Night Dawning, I had the pleasure to read and review the second book, Warlock’s Sun Rising and meet Damien Black in person. That meeting made me realise a few things about myself and opened my eyes, how important first reviews are for indie authors. When I visited London in February, he went out of his way to meet me and treat me to a drink – on my birthday no less – so he could say thank you! My best birthday ever. Considering everything, it was a small miracle this turned out so good – I’m really awkward around strangers and I’m not good in helding conversations most of the time. Honestly, I had half a mind cancelling the whole thing. But then it would have been a rude thing to do, plus I didn’t want to spend my birthday alone so I sucked it up and went to the meeting. One of my better decisions. Turns out I can hold a conversation if I’m interested in the topic and the other person sitting across me. Having mutual interests also helps. Anyway, I went off topic. Back to the actual review.
I absolutely respect how much research and work he puts into his books, resulting in a pretty well built and complex world. Devil’s Night Dawning has first book problems, which means it has a lot of world building and introducing to the characters and sometimes dragging pace. It took me exactly a month to read this one (my average is about a week or two depending on the length), though I traveled for a week at the time, which kept me away from reading, obviously.
What I liked: it was well written, despite its length there wasn’t really a part, where I was bored. Black kept all the storylines in his hands (Adelko and Horskram, Vaskrian, Adhelina and Hettie, Torgun, Braxus), and they were vowen together smoothly. He built a complex world with kingdoms, myths, and interesting characters with bad and good personal traits equally. I think my favorite characters were Adelko with his curiosity and youthful awe as he looks at the world around him. I also liked Adhelina, her strongwilledness (is that a word?), her spirit and that she takes her fate in her own hands. Sure, she is a bit naive and has an idealistic view of the world, but she spent her whole life in a castle, pampered by her father. Go figure.
The story was nicely closed, altough some questions and loose ends remained, which made me want to read the next book. It’s always a good sign. What stands out for me even now is the exorcism at the beginning of the book, when Adelko and Horskram tries to get rid of a demon. It was a powerful start which totally glued me to the book, making me want to read more about how they deal with demons and other evil creatures. The other part I remember vividly is when they enter the haunted forest, Tintagael. I never got around to ask why did he choose that name and if it has anything to do with the Arthurian legends (Tintagel was named as the place where Arthur was born). I pretty much enjoyed those scenes set in the forest, the myths sorrunding it, the Fay Folk, their adventures in there. I certainly hope we’ll visit it once more in later books.
What I didn’t like: The things I write next may be irrelevant to others, and contains my private opinion. Black, along with a new world built a new religious system too. Clearly, it was based on Christianity, altough with some twists and many changes (could have been more, though). That’s fine, I have nothing against this method. What was a bit unsettling to me, were the choice of names in some cases. Many elements of the myths he created were based on other, “real” myths. But while he changed some of the names, others he kept. Either change all of it, or none of it. In addition to that I don’t really get Ezekiel how did become Archangel of defensive war… (For those who are unfamiliar with the Bible: Ezekiel was a prophet, who forsee the destruction of Jerusalem and the built of the Third Temple). I know these are not really important bits, but my historian self needed to let it out. On a more positive note, I like how he explained the birth of the Seven Princes as opposite of the Seven Seraphim.
All in all, it was a good read, though a long one. I would recommend it those who like a good fantasy book about an adventurous quest, with some magic, a brewing war on the horizon, and complex characters, some of whose personality develops during the journey they take. And don’t be discouraged by it’s length, it’s worth it!
Review of the second book, Warlock’s Sun Rising will come soon!