Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Darkness Falls #2
Publication Date: July 4th, 2012
Page Count: 348
Review Copy: ARC
Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she’s been traded to marry for a favor. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realizes trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia’s rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of.
However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem.
Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she’s grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods’ rules is tested.
How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?
This is the second instalment in the Darkness Falls series and will probably contain spoilers for those that haven't yet read book one, Wilde's Fire.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series- it almost got a 5- and therefore came to this book with a relaxed, bring-it-on kind of attitude. So it really came as a shock when I found myself struggling to pay attention during the middle section of the book.
The beginning was great and it picked up straight after the cliffhanger ending of Wilde's Fire. And it was clear right from the onset that Perth's character would be playing a bigger role this time, which was great because his character, and indeed his entire race, is very intriguing. Perth's the kind of character that you want to believe is like a good egg in an otherwise bad batch, and yet something always prevents you from completely trusting him. Still, it was great that he got to play a much bigger part in it since he is a big obstacle in the prophecies of both Arland and Kate.
My problems came shortly after this good start, however. The characters had to make a journey which took probably around 80-100 pages. And during that time, it seemed as though the plot was stuck on a loop. The same things kept repeating themselves; have a long, drawn-out conversation with someone- usually a cryptic one about prophecies, or one about Brad- then encounter some demons or shapechangers and fight for your life for a bit. Rinse and repeat x 3. I'm afraid I put the book aside for several days due to this section; it just wasn't holding me.
The length of the dialogue scenes was probably the biggest factor in slowing things down. Of course, it doesn't help that the stiff and formal dialogue was one of the few negatives I found in book one, and this one seemed to only exacerbate that negative for me. In fact, in order for Kate to fit in at the place they were heading to, they were trying to get her to speak more formally, and kept criticising her very time she used a contraction like don't instead of do not. There just never seemed to be any dialogue that felt like a natural conversation. It was always a pledge or a declaration or a speech or a prophecy. I think that's why it always feels so... stiff.
The main "problem" in this book- meaning the issue that characters are facing, not my own personal problem with it- felt extremely contrived. These people are a hair's breath from extinction and I'm just not sure I believe they would be behaving like schoolchildren over who gets to marry whom when there's only a handful of them left. So the whole "pretending Kate and Arland aren't in love so as not to upset the ground Dwellers" bit, was really annoying.
Dughaul/Brad (sp?) was barely in the story, so aside from the rinse and repeat cycle of battling demons and shapechangers, there was no Big Bad for them to face. The main nemesis for Kate and Arland seemed to be the arrogance and ignorance of the Encardians who were only interested in fighting amongst themselves.
I probably will read the next one to see how it all turns out, because I do love Arland's character, and I do think the world Wade has created is wonderfully unique and interesting. I just hope it reverts back to the great story-telling of book one.
2.5 Stars ★★★
Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review