Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher
They’ll risk forever death for one last chance together…
Nuala of Glengowyn hasn’t left her home city in over a century, but not by choice. Her skill as a weapons master has made her a prisoner of her people. Held apart, protected in the extreme—until Sorcerers attack the human city of Sinnale.
Sent to supply her unique magical arrows to help the humans, she is far from free. The elf king and queen have sent a bodyguard, a fearsome warrior whose reputation has no rival. The only man she has ever wanted. Einar of Glengowyn.
Einar is known as a battle-crazed destroyer, so feared among elves he’s called by a single name: Darkness. And he has only one weakness—Nuala. Their union is forbidden, for melding their magics could destroy Nuala’s gifts. Yet as they journey to the war-torn city, no royal decree is a match for two hundred years of pent-up desire
But even if they escape the war zone, their lives still hang in the balance. They must confront their sovereigns and prove love makes them stronger—or face their deaths.
Warning: This book contains a deadly elf hero, a heroine who’s his match, a lot of sexy misbehaving, some hard language, racing through the streets, owls, arrows, evil Sorcerers, wicked minions, and a very dangerous elf king and queen.
This blurb came from the author’s website.
Marlene: I picked this one because I loved the first book in the series, Brightarrow Burning (see review at Reading Reality) and hoped that someday there would be more. The setting was surprisingly well developed for what was essentially a novella, and it was a place I wanted to go back to. At the time, I’ll admit that I didn’t have much hope, but two years later, we finally have book 2, with book 3 due this summer. Woohoo!
E: Unlike Marlene I had not read the first one but I thought the blurb looked interesting. However, since it was the second book I needed to read the first one and Samhain very kindly obliged. I ended up glomming both installments and was very pleased to find out that a third is coming because I have questions, some serious curiosity, and I find the world very fascinating.
Marlene: This is a VERY interesting world. In Brightarrow Burning, we saw it almost exclusively from the human point of view, but in Darkness it’s from the Elven perspective. Part of what grabbed my attention was the portrayal of the world at war, and the way that people did or didn’t cope. We don’t see the beginning of the war, and we don’t actually need to. This series seems to be about how societies and their people manage to go on while under constant threat.
E: Yes, I will admit the blurb had me at Elves *grin*. I enjoyed the contrast between the two viewpoints and as Marlene said I didn’t need the cause of the war. It was enough that this war had dragged on for quite a while so it was now a facet of life and not something unusual. The elves seemed for the most part to wish to remain mostly neutral with the exception of supplying weaponry almost it seemed to counteract the actions of the traitor Elves. I found the logic behind Nuala’s trip very intriguing and it certainly served to explain, at least on the surface, why she was traveling with Darkness.
Marlene: I do wonder about the traitor elves and why they became traitors. Something there is not quite logical and it niggles. Howsomever, the war as a fact of life made a great background, with a lot of tension that was not necessarily part of the romance. I’m always happy to see a romance where the problems do NOT depend on a misunderstandammit. At the beginning I couldn’t quite figure out why Nuala and Eirin couldn’t just be together. The explanation fit into the worldbuilding excellently and was different from the usual.
E: Ooh yes that explanation both answered questions and raised some speculation about certain individuals. I loved how it played out even while I was both shocked and enraged at the same time. I also enjoyed having a second chance romance when the previous separation was not a fault of either individual or something that could have been solved through a discussion. I am rather curious about what changed or is coming to pass with Elvish circumstances. I also have high hopes that the next installment will explain more about the traitors and what motivated them.
Marlene: The tension between love and duty was definitely well done. They need a second chance because they both chose duty to their people over love the first time around. But speaking of shocked and enraged, yes, I was too. The way that they were forced to stay apart, and their very realistic fears of punishment because they finally gave in, made me want to shoot someone with arrows, and not our protagonists. The level of manipulative bitchery they had to endure was infuriating. Clearly, there’s a variation of the cliche “the end justifies the means” in this world.
E: Yes, the tension and the stakes were definitely high. I thought the effect of Nuala and Eirin’s love was very interesting and I loved the decisions Nuala made as she discovered what she could do. I really felt for them as they struggled between their love for each other and their care/loyalty towards their people. I seriously wonder if they will have the same amount of trust towards the other Elves as they had before and how that will impact the future. I really can’t wait to read the next installment.
I give The Darkness of Glengowyn a A-/B+
Marlene: The fears that Nuala and Eirin had about the creative and truly horrific ways in which their own people would punish them for acting on 200 years of royally-mandated romantic torture were real and awful. I’m not sure I’d trust anyone who was manipulating me and mine to that extent. The Elven society struck me as so autocratic that something has to give somewhere along the way, especially when you take into account the royally-mandated (and totally stupid) Elven neutrality from Brightarrow Burning. There’s something rotten in the state of Elvishness. Maybe.
But our hero and heroine take a lot of risks, and are rewarded. I found it fascinating that they are both powerful weapons in their own right, and that they weigh the costs of what happens if the bad guys get control of either of their magic.
I give The Darkness of Glengowyn an A-