Darksoul | Anna Stephens
I have been reading lots of Anna Stephens' books and have managed to read the second one in the Godblind series.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The thrilling sequel to GODBLIND, the biggest fantasy debut of 2017.
The Wolves lie dead beside Rilpor’s soldiers, slaughtered at the hands of the Mireces and their fanatical army.
The veil that once kept the Red Gods at bay has been left in tatters as the Dark Lady’s plans for the world come to fruition. Where the gods walk, blood is spilled on the earth.
All that stands between the Mireces army and complete control of the Kingdom of Rilpor are the walls of its capital, Rilporin, and those besieged inside.
But hope might yet bloom in the unlikeliest of places: in the heart of a former slave, in the mind of a soldier with the eyes of a fox, and in the hands of a general destined to be king.
So, here we are ploughing on with the Godblind series and I am now into the second book, Darksoul.
As you know, I have been reading the Godblind trilogy lately and have totally immersed myself in Anna Stephens’ world, and oh my goodness what a dark world this is! Full of blood and gore and the rigours of a world at war.
Darksoul immediately follows up the story that was begun in Godblind. The Miraces are now at the gates of Rilpor and are laying siege to the people and are determined to either enslave everyone, convert everyone to the Red Gods bloody worship, or to kill everyone. In addition to this, the prince of Rilpor, Rivil has joined the fray with the newly converted East Ranks and hoping to cement his rule over the Rilporians.
On the other side, Crys, Tara, Mace and Ash are hoping to thwart their plans and hopefully break through the rank of the Miracese army and bring about the end of The Dark Lady.
The story of Darksouls mainly revolves around the protracted siege of Rilpor and the efforts of the Rilporians to repel the waves of the bloodthirsty god’s worshippers.
As the second book in the series, this one seemed a lot bleaker as the cast of characters are taken to edge of hell and back. And again, Anna Stephens systematically puts all the characters you love through the wringer and then sticks them with pins just to make sure that they have their fair amount of pain and agony. That is one thing that you can say about Anna Stephens’s books, there are no fluffy bunnies and a sit down for a nice coffee. Not a chance, the only relaxing situation that the characters find themselves in is a quick check to see if they have got all their limbs before the grind starts all over again.
And let me tell you, this book is a grind, not in a bad way! Well, yeah, actually it is in a bad way, but not for the reader, mainly for the characters.
In this instalment of the story of Gilgaras and its inhabitants, things are slightly changing. The Red Gods are abroad on the mortal plain as the veil has been broken by the death and sacrifice that is led by the Miracese and their priesthood.
Not only that, some of the characters have found their purpose and have embraced the roles they are meant to play on this stage of war, and others have yet to find their true selves. As you can guess, I am talking about Crys and Dom.
In Godblind, Dom was firmly set on the dark path, and in Darksoul, he firmly accepts this role and proclaims his devotion to The Dark Lady and the Red Gods.
Whilst Crys on his other hand continues his voyage of discovery.
I liked Darksoul a lot! Anna Stephens continues to develop the world and the lore of Gilgaras, but not only that develops the characters that we have grown so fond of. Darksoul is a cracking second book and does its job admirably. It ties up the loose ends from the first book, moves the story along in its own right, providing more depth to not only the characters, but the world itself and the Lore attached to it, and finally it moves the story along to set up the final act of the trilogy.
Now one of the things about Darksouls is that siege stories can become a bit of a trudge and follow similar narrative lines. However, Anna Stephens manages to make the book a taut experience that continuously flows. There were some occasions that I thought the story sagged a little, and that was mainly when we took up Dom’s storyline. At times, I got a little bogged down with all the descriptions of his descent into his current role. However, despite that little niggle, the book as a whole is excellent. Anna Stephens manages to keep a tense narrative throughout, providing taut action scenes and plenty of political manoeuvring that keeps you gripped throughout. Be warned, Darksoul does not let up on the brutality of the first story and Anna Stephens does not let up on the violence of war, painting a vivid picture of the gruelling violence that is perpetrated in this type of situation.