Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson

sorcerersupreme's review

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Writing was good but my god this was only 140 pages yet it felt like it dragged for years. NOTHING happened in this book

carina_shephard's review

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I really liked a lot of things about this book, especially the characters and the worldbuilding, but I did not feel comfortable reading Charlon's chapter and decided to DNF at about 41%.

lizclev's review

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dark emotional mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix


hannfarmer21's review

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I would have very much liked to give this 4 stars. But, being that a great majority of the plot revolves around concubines and many wives, I'm afraid I had to lower the rating a star.

The Likes:

-The world building. Like what. It's so complicated that I had to refer to the lists at the beginning of the book so many times. Yes, there's a bunch of immorality, but all the customs of the realms and the gods and the many positions in the castle- often I was left staring at the book like O.O

-The names. Okay, wow. SO. MANY. NAMES. Some personal favourites were Novan, Trevn, Zeroah, and Mielle ^.^

-The complexity. Wellll I kind of already touched on this point, but it deserves a category of its own. But seriously, the world building was so complex. The writing style was okay, but THE WORLD was great. I commend Jill.

-The characters distinct POV's. I quite like how different each of the characters were (Trevn <3), and I'm always grateful when an author has multiple POV's, AND THEY'RE ALL DISTINCTIVE.

No cursing, yay! I am not a fan of cuss words. Reading or writing them. They are immoral and wrong and make me feel unclean when I read them. So I congratulate Jill for not using a single one.

The Dislikes: (sad to say this list is longer than the likes list...)

-I was mildly uncomfortable every time a concubine or harem was mentioned. Now, just know that it takes A LOT to make me uncomfortable. And, being that having multiple wives and adultery is wrong, I was justifiably semi-uncomfortable. I hope, should you choose to read this book, you realize that concubines and harems and laying with women and all that stuff is mentioned on basically every other, if not every, page.

-The worship of many gods (now, i realize this is essential to the plot and i was warned beforehand, but i am still allowed to dislike it) Yeah. The title of this dislike basically sums it up. But, I was told, this book is supposed to resemble Old Testament times, when worshipping many gods and goddesses was more commonly accepted as a mainstream thing.

-The main struggle of the first half of the book for Wilek was how to balance his concubine who did not get along with his betrothed. It was actually kind of annoying how the plotline revolved around that. Like dude. He loved his concubine and he had a betrothed. AND his dad told him to start a harem. *rolls eyes*

-During chapters from Charlon's POV, the sentences are basically all fragments. I am not a fan of fragments, and it grated on my nerves. I am glad I only read two or three chapters from her point of view. *shudders*

-I feel like nothing was portrayed as wrong, as a Christian book should? I dunno if maybe it's because none of them know God (Arman) yet, or what, but nothing is really frowned upon. I'm eager to see how well Jill does with that in the next addition to this series.

The Warnings:

-DOZENS of mentions of sex, and one use of the word. Also an indication that it happened between two characters.
-Many mentions of breasts
-One of the pov's is a woman who seems to have been either a prostitute or taken advantage of.
-There is magic. The women in the realm of Magon are magic-users. The woman i mentioned above is a magic-user, and devoted herself to the goddess of magic. (The women who use magic, mantics, bond with a dark spirit, which one can only see when they drink a sort of poison.) There is a scene where the woman uses "magic" from the goddess
-There are a couple of kisses, but none of them go into detail.
-Human sacrifices and worship of gods.

So yeah. I enjoyed the book and it kept my interest somewhat. I do believe I will read the next (1.2), but only partly because I own the second book XD

kwood's review

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


creativecura's review

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Honestly, I don't think this was a badly written book, it just took me a long time (around half the book) to get into it, and I don't really feel a burning desire to pick up the next one. I think the thing that kept me out was it really felt like a bunch of royals/nobles politicking. As most of the characters are royal family, or somehow allied with a royal family. I probably liked Charlon the most, but you also hardly see her and the community she lives in.

daughter_of_the_starrytwilight's review

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An exciting beginning to an epic story.
Darkness Reigns is worth the read for fans of fantasy, adventure, intrigue or even romance, as promises to be the coming novels. The action and suspense are tight with plenty of mysteries to whet the appetite. The storyworld, an ancient version of the same world seen in Williamson's [b:By Darkness Hid|6320247|By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1)|Jill Williamson||6505586] books, is well-crafted and unique. The many characters's storylines introduced in Darkness Reigns look like they will be complex, realistic and quickly won my sympathy/support/ire (depending on the person). All of the protagonists have strong virtues while also being deeply flawed. There is clearly a great deal of growth (and probably dire consequences) in store for Wilek, Trevn, Zeroah, Mielle and Charlon but they all earned my rooting for them.

If you have read Williamson's previous novels, be advised this series is written as adult fantasy with an older audience in mind. Darkness Reigns was not an overly graphic read but has many recurring thematic elements (polygamy and concubines, black spirits and magic associated with them, ceremonial nudity, prostitution and sexual slavery, human sacrifice) that play a large role in the story and that some readers may prefer to avoid or at least be made aware of. I spotted one use of profanity.

Personally, I would prefer to read the story all the way through rather than in three parts. Darkness Reigns, while it holds a considerable amount of action and turbulence for the plot and characters, is primarily an introduction to a larger plot and it reads that way. However, the opportunity to sample the first part without having to wait for the full book or the option of reading an otherwise large fantasy novel in more bite-size chunks may appeal to many. That is simply a matter of taste.

Darkness Reigns is the first part of the first novel of the Kinsman Chronicles.

This story may not be complete but it IS an engrossing introduction filled with well-developed, distinct characters (a definite strong point of Williamson's writing IMO) and a fascinating plot. Five stars from me. I will be eagerly awaiting each release in the Kinsman Chronicles.

(I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

r_j_setser's review

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See review for King's Folly by Jill Williamson as this book is a part of that collection.

lordjim13's review

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This is an interesting, above average indie fantasy, but the major flaw is the lack of clear plot arcs for any of the intriguing characters introduced. By the end of the book, plenty has been set up for them, and an interesting world has been established, but the book ends before anything is resolved. If even one thing had been wrapped up I'd have given it 4 stars but with too much left hanging it just leaves you feeling a bit cheated (mind you, it was free). On the other hand, there's a complex, original world here with characters who seem decent human beings to follow as they struggle against both an unjust society and cataclysmic events.