To Darkness Fled, by Jill Williamson

2012 Book 68: To Darkness Fled, by Jill Williamson (4/28/2012)

Reason for Reading: Second book in a trilogy

My Review 3/5 stars
In this second installment of The Blood of Kings trilogy (first book reviewed here), our heroes Achan and Vrell gather an army with the help of the Old Kingsguard Knights. The romantic tension between Achan and Vrell intensifies. I didn’t feel that this book was as good as the first. The religious message got a bit heavy-handed, and the plot barely moved forward at all. Sure, progress was made, but it was progress that was outlined by Sir Gavin as their “future plans” in the end of the first book. There were only two small plot-thickening events. On the other hand, there was much character development, and the reader becomes very familiar with the setting (i.e. which cities are where, who’s in charge of them, who’s on our side). I was also a little irked by the cliffhanger ending. I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers—I lose my patience with them quickly, especially if the entire series hasn’t been published. Luckily, this series has been published so I was able to start the third (and last) book with only a few grumblings. Despite these shortcomings, I think the story is very good, and the characters are well developed for a young adult novel. I think it may have worked out better had Williamson shortened the trilogy into ONE book, and edited out a lot of stuff. I realize editing is hard, but there’s really only enough plot for one book! Maybe the third book will thicken the plot a bit more, though. 🙂

By Darkness Hid, by Jill Williamson

2012 Book 39: By Darkness Hid, by Jill Williamson (2/27/2012)

Reason for Reading: Was wondering what a Christy Award winner was like. I’m pleased.

My Review: 4/5 stars
Achan has grown up in a medieval-esque village as a lowly stray and his future seems bleak when a head-strong knight illegally begins to train Achan as his squire. The lord of the village is angered, and Achan is punished by having to guard the nasty, abusive prince on a trip to the capital city. While traveling, Achan runs into many difficulties—including Vrell, a rather effeminate “boy” who is actually the prince’s chosen bride-to-be in hiding. Vrell and Achan must learn to trust one another, while at the same time taming their sharpening their blood-voices. This book is Christian young adult fiction, so it has a reasonably subtle religious theme. It is the first book in a trilogy, and it had a cliff-hanger ending, but luckily for me the whole series has been published. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story—even though the characters aren’t perfect and sometimes I wanted to pound them over their heads for their obtuseness, they ARE teenagers after all and are really quite endearing. The book started out slow, but I was really into it after the first 50 or so pages. It was getting really interesting at the end, right when it ended. Ah! Cliffhangers!