The Darkening is book 2 is the Shrilugh (pronounce that Shree-Loo) Saga, by Myndi Shafer. If you haven’t read book 1, you really should. My review is here: (click the link!)
Go ahead, check it out. I’ll wait.
Sounds good, right? It is. Suffice to say, if you like romance and coming of age stories, this is a good one to curl up with. Times two, even.
Book 2 continues where book 1 left off. I don’t want to offer any spoilers here, so I’ll keep my comments general. At first I thought this was going to be a typical love triangle. Girl must choose which boy to keep and which to turn loose, and in doing that break his heart. There is, however, a lot more going on than just the sticky relationship triangle. I’d already grown to love the fantasy world full of Shrilugh trees (trees which glow in the dark) even if I didn’t like some of the people in it, but with book 2 I can feel an epic backstory blooming as well. There’s more than meets the eye, both with the “benefits” each person is born with such as telepathy or “discharge” and with the very existence of the trees themselves.
Somewhere in the middle, a twist happens that simply rocked my world, or rather, my view of the world Aydan is now very much a part of. I found myself so fascinated that I couldn’t put the book down, and near the end I literally shouted with triumph. Yes. Shouted. All alone, here in my apartment, I celebrated something. I can’t tell you what, because it would be a HUGE spoiler and I promised not to do that. But ooooooo….please read it so I can chat about the end!
[box] The air of the dimly lit rathskeller was smoky, salty, and damp. A cloud of pipe-smoke hovered at the ceiling. The smell of the place permeated every pore it could fine.
Rein Torvald sat at the bar, twisting a glass of whiskey in his hands as he breathed the turbid air, brooding. Thunder rumbled outside. The seasonal rains had arrived. Two seats down from him, a shoeless man with wrinkles like cracks in dry ground and a rat’s nest for hair, noisily masticated food in his open mouth. Every now and then he’d cough so violently Rein thought he might choke.
The man seemed to have an affinity for rum. In spite of his shabby appearance, the bartender left the entire bottle in front of him instead of returning frequently to refill his glass. He attempted engaging Rein in friendly conversation, but Rein wasn’t in a friendly mood. He ignored the man, staring down into his third glass, trying to forget the past few days, weeks. Trying to forget the woman he’d left at his home without so much as a word. [/box]
The pace of the story is a bit slower than you might be expecting. It’s not an action/adventure. It’s an epic fantasy, with urban bits. It’s a romance and love story, with action. It’s all those things, with telepathy, glowing trees, bullies, people who will stand up to them, old fashioned victorian type manners and a modern young woman thrown in the midst of it. At one point, Rein spends just a bit of time in our world and discovers the wonder…of a shower. It’s nice to see him appreciate something from our world just as Aydan comes to appreciate things from his. It’s time spent with details like this that builds a rich, full world. It’s all in the details, from Aydan’s struggle with strange clothes to Rein’s struggle with loving someone to other, spoilery things.
I’m anxious to see how Aydan grows in the next book (which I hope is on the way). She’s growing up, fast, but there’s still a bit to learn. So far, she’s feeling her way and letting people take care of her. I have a feeling that won’t last. She’s finding her strength, her talents, and her womanhood all at once. I can’t wait to see this caterpillar turn into a butterfly.
Dive into this for a love triangle with twists and turns and a lot of fun “benefits” along the way. This is still young adult, so no graphic sex scenes. If you’re looking for steamy, look elsewhere. This one is safe for teens.