A review by daughter_of_the_starrytwilight
Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson


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|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390357933s/6320247.jpg|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.)