I must say, I fell in love with this book. At first, I wondered why the book started before the hero of the story was even born, in his Mother's POV, but as I continued to read I realized that without those first few chapters from the Mother, I don't think I would've felt as connected with her or Fezariu. David handled the passage of time rather well as we follow Fezariu's life as he grows up. Through the use of letters the hero writes to his childhood friend, we get a full few of what is happening to him without the scenes dragging on. It was a unique feature that I don't see often - and even then it's usually not done well. David, pulled it off perfectly! Also, I feel that having the passage of time expressed in the form of letters from Fezariu, allowed me to connect with his friend - her loss, her missing him, etc. It was great to be able to connect emotionally with so many characters in this book, instead of just the hero.
Now, before people that know me scream at me - yes, I know I've said before that I'm not a fan of most fantasy novels as they are crowded with flowery words that take away from the plot. Well, David doesn't do that - and if he did, the plot itself was so amazing, I didn't notice!
Fezariu's life is affected by the White Oak, a famous brothel in Clarendon - indirectly. As a small boy, he decides he's cursed - after his mother's disappearance and his step-father's death. He runs away to the Meralax Mercenaries before anyone else he cares about gets hurt. He devotes himself completely to the mercenaries, throwing himself into the dangerous missions without hesitation. Fezariu just wanted to forget his past - and be rid of his curse. But he couldn't risk ever being close to anyone. Fezariu eventually realizes he has to face his past in order to be free of his curse.
This book is just great all the way around. I think honestly, my only disappointment is not seeing a map of Elenchera at the beginning of the book. However, the details about the world and the locations were clear enough in the that I knew where everyone was. I'm such a visual person though, it would have been a nice touch to actually have a map.
It took me a while to adjust to Mr. Bone's particular writing style. Don't get me wrong, I found the prose beautiful, very fluid; just something I wasn't use to. And I must admit the British spelling and grammer caught me off guard at first.
Once I got past the style, I was easily sucked in by the story. I immediately felt for the characters, hated the plight they found themselves, and hoped they made it out alive and unscathed. All the characters had a deep history, their own unique story, giving way to unique personalities. Mr. Bone did an excellent job with their development throughout the story.
Excellent details, especially when it came to the "Black Sea" - aka a cursed desert. I was very impressed by how such a monotonous landscape can still be interesting to read about for more than a page or so!
The ending was unexpected, though not dissappointing. I don't want to give too much away, but the person that defeated the half-man and the Endless, was the opposite of who I thought it would be. It worked very well for the story however, setting it up nicely for a sequel. I look forward to reading more of the Crescent series and Mr. Bone's prose.
**A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review.**
I have to admit that when I first read the description for this story and saw the words "zombie plague" I was leary of reading it. I'm not a fan of zombies. However, I gave it chance because of the dystopian/science fiction elements that appeared to be in the story as well.
I was not disappointed. While I can get sucked into a story and thoroughly enjoy the read - and want to read it again and again - it is rare that a book makes me cry - big fat tears. Yes. A zombie story made me cry like a baby.
My attention was immediately snatched from the first page and the story didn't let go until the end. The reader is immediately immersed into this dystopian world of government lies, conspiracies, and fear. The suspense rolled over me page after page and I couldn't wait to see what would happen to the Freerunners next - the group of young people who fought against the oppression of the High Council and the Overlanders.
With the animal-like Posessors and the somewhat brain dead Less Thans, the fight for the Freerunners hits them on all sides - above and below. The Overlanders are watching their every move, and the Posessors are simply trying to eat them.
I honestly would recommend this book to anyone - not just dytopian or science fiction or zombie fans. This book is simply amazing and I have no complaints or negative thoughts about it. I was blown away and like I said before, I cried big tears at the end because of the horrors and determination of the characters to win. Very powerful and emotional ending.
The ending seems to be set up perfectly for a sequel and I do hope there is one. I will read the story just because Mr. Cain wrote it, and just because it's a Freerunners story. Mr. Cain made me fall in love with a zombie story and I want more!
The plot this story was very interesting, and I stay interested throughout the entire book. The characters held their own personalities, own quirks, that really made them stand out for me; allowed me to care for them.
I was confused at first, as this book switches POV between the "Madam of Miracles" and a "Drone", an otherworldly entity. The hard part here, wasn't the switch perse, it was the fact that one part was in third person, while the other was in first. And there wasn't much transition between the two - it simply jumped. Also, with this, some times the Drone's section was only a few lines then would skip back to the Madam. While it did add an interesting pace and unique viewpoint to the story, the harsh back and forth sometimes was hard to keep up with.
I did enjoy the story, the idea of an empowered miracle worker saving the world from itself. I think the author handles the growth of the Madam from first learning of her special abilities and her "mission" to the end when she accepted it whole heartedly and could use her abilities without a second thought - and ultimately could live with herself and what she was doing.
I do wish some more information was given about the "Guardian's" and who they were exactly, only to cure my own curiosity. However, the mystery of them fit well with the story, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions about who the Guardian's really are.
Overall, a good read. As I said, the only real issue was the hard shift in point of view, but by the end of the story, I was almost used to it and barely noticed anymore. It did give the story an interesting perception and tempo for sure.
Darkspell is a cute read perfect for young adults. It’s a great debut novel for sure. The characters were well developed and while I couldn’t relate to Winter personally, I still could clearly see her as a person throughout the story. The characters had their own unique voices and quirks, some of which made me chuckle aloud as I read the book.
The beginning hooked me right in and I didn’t put the book down until I was finished. I did feel the middle was too focused on the relationship between Alex and Winter, and not related to the actual plot. However, I do think the relationship needed to be explained in that manner, so that the ending had more of an impact.
The ending was fast-paced for sure! Had my heart racing as I read. I was a little a dissapointed that we didn’t actually find out what Winter’s power was by the end. Mrs. Mueller makes us guess or leaves a hint for us, but I’m still not 100% sure on what it is. But, it does leave it open to be reveiled in the next book!
Overall I really enjoyed the book. It’s not my normal choice in a book, but I’m glad I had the chance to read it. I’ll definitely read the next book in the series. I look forward to reading more about Alex, his “family”, and Winter.