Darkening Skies

June 26, 2012 - 10:37 pm No Comments

Author: Juliet E McKenna
Publisher: Solaris Books
Page count/Size: 448pp
Release date: 1st March 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Book two of the Hadrumal Crisis, this novel picks up as Captain Corrain has married Ilysh, the thirteen year-old daughter of Widow Lady Zurenne, in order to protect their family following the death of Baron Halferan. The novel begins as he is called to an impromptu parliament at Ferl to prove his right to the title of new Baron Halferan.

Captain Corrain is hailed as a hero but he knows all such praise would turn to anger if certain people knew what had really happened. The wizard who supposedly saved him and his comrades has merely claimed the island of the corsair’s for his own. No one knows what this enigmatic newcomer intends to do next. Corrain has good reason to fear the worst, as he confides in Lady Zurenne of Halferan. He knows he can trust her now that still more perilous secrets bind the two of them together. This disastrous turn of events cannot be concealed from Hadrumal’s powerful mages. The Chief Mage Planir’s leadership is now openly questioned. Surely he will enforce his authority by crushing this upstart? But the Aldabreshin warlords act first. The warlords are watching the ominous skies as a once in a lifetime conjunction of the stars approaches. Will the warlords be content to drive this solitary wizard out of the Archipelago or has the time come for them to destroy all magic?

There’s a lot going on here, and without reading the first book it could be a little confusing, however, McKenna quickly immerses you in her vibrant world.

This book is brimming with adventure, and also offers some interesting characters to get your teeth into. Jilseth, the mage who lost her powers to protect Halferan, is a particularly strong female character, just as Mabdarkin wizard Anskal is a loathsome and fully crafted figure. Each character is gradually drawn from their own point of view, so we get insight into all sides of the world McKenna has created. And speaking of worlds, her world building is effective and sturdy.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first venture into McKenna’s imagination, and I can’t wait to try her again. Ignore this writer at your peril!

Leave a Reply