Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Fiction Fix: "Darkness Reigns"

The Short:

Darkness Reigns
Part One of the Kinsman Chronicles
By: Jill Williamson

4/5 Stars

What: A land of many cultures hopes to stave off judgment by making any sacrifices necessary—even if those sacrifices are human.

Recommended to those who like: Darker stories, Fantasy, loose allegory

The Long:

My expectations for this book and the reality didn’t quite line up. If you’ve been following the blog, you know that I am a big fan of Ms. Williamson’s other fantasy series, The Blood of Kings Trilogy, which has some very strong Christian and allegorical elements to it. It’s a clean, tween/teen book series that doesn’t deal with too many dark themes.

I went into this series expecting the same thing (after all, it’s set in the same world).

This series is quite a few shades darker and more closely parallels the nation of Israel straying from God. It’s better suited to the mature young adult crowd and deals with human sacrifices, polygamy, an equivalent of demon worship, and judgment day issues.

That being said, I think it’s a good introduction to a new series. The characters are deep, conflicted, and real. Sometimes I think writers in the Christian publishing world (my own, unpublished, newbie self included) struggle to write characters who really struggle.

The plot takes a while to "boot up", for lack of a better phrase. There are multiple plot lines that take quite some time to conjoin. It’s only toward the end of the story that we see how all the separate plot lines come together, but I think it’ll be epic when we finally get to see how all the different characters will interact with one another. 

My other big issue with this book was how it ended. It’s really part one of book one (all of book one, King’s Folly, isn’t released yet).

Think of the series as having nine parts, which make up three books. The nine parts will be released individually on e-book at four month intervals. Then, the three print books will be released on a yearly basis. It’s a bit confusing, but I think it’s a great concept (anything to have less down-time between books, right?).

However, the ending to part one wasn’t very satisfying. Since Darkness Reigns was free as an e-book, I think I’m going to wait until the entirety of King’s Folly is released and buy it in paperback and continue the series that way. Sure, I’ll have to wait a year, but I think it’ll be more satisfying that way.

So, in summary: I like the idea of the shorter releases, but I’m unsure of how well it will work; the book is good—but dark; and I think the series will be good now that our plot is all tied together and moving forward.

What do you think of the idea of releasing parts of novels, rather than full novels at once? 

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