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There Will Come a Darkness: The Age of Darkness, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
There Will Come a Darkness: The Age of Darkness, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Mature fantasy with complex characters is full of surprises.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows how an extremist group gathers followers and terrorizes victims. Shows a refugee camp and the resources required to meet the needs of its inhabitants.

Positive Messages

In this "save the world" good vs. evil story so much is fought against: the destruction of modern society, genocide, prejudice, a refugee crisis. Loyalty, empathy, selflessness, and bravery are key.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In the ensemble of major characters, Hassan changes the most dramatically. He makes a large mistake and decides that he will do everything to make up for it, and still be the leader his people need. Jude is next. He starts his journey with a lot of shame about his faults and discovers that they are an integral part of him and nothing to be ashamed of. Ephyra changes for the worse. She's not willing to give up what she wants, no matter who she hurts.

Violence

Torture in the form of waterboarding, burning, and extreme pain. A teen character close to one of the main characters is murdered. Skirmishes with crossbows, swords, knives, and fists lead to deaths and injuries. Prisoners trapped in a fire. Two falls lead to major injuries tended by magic healers. Mention of a priest poisoning girls and beating them and a man killing his own children because they have magic abilities. Mentions of the deaths of family members and a whole town because of illness and uncontrolled magic.

Sex

Kissing, groping, and lots of innuendo. Talk of prostitution.

Language

"Horses--t" is the most common, followed by "s--t." Plus "ass" and "bastards" rarely.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A number of scenes in boozy taverns with characters drinking heavily. One time it's (older teen) Anton, another it's a ship's captain the night before a voyage. Both can barely walk. Wine drinking in more polite society. Two characters smoke cigarillos.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that There Will Come a Darkness is the first book in a fantasy trilogy for mature teens about prophets, kingdoms, magic, and possible end times. Things are dark enough that there's talk of a coming genocide and characters are tortured with waterboarding and burning. A teen character close to one of the main characters is murdered, and there are skirmishes with crossbows, swords, knives, and fists that lead to deaths and injuries. Expect some kissing, lots of innuendo, some swearing (mostly "horses--t") and heavy, fall-down drinking in taverns by an older teen. In this ensemble of major characters, both straight and LGBTQ, most change for the better. Prince Hassan makes a large mistake and decides that he will do everything to make up for it and still be the leader his people need. Jude begins his journey with a lot of shame about his faults and discovers that they are an integral and vital part of him.

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What's the story?

In THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS, Ephyra and Beru are living in secret in the old prophetic city of Pallas Athos. Ephyra kills the wicked with her Grace of Blood and earns the nickname the Pale Hand because all she leaves on her victims' bodies is a ghostly hand print. The blood she gives to her sister Beru, who is sickly and needs the escha (life essence) to keep her heart beating. The city fears the Pale Hand and her power, almost as much as they fear the Witnesses. These are zealots who want to burn the Graced so there are none left in the world, even the ones who are gifted with special talents of healing and invention. The leader of the Witnesses already conquered the country of Nazirah and the crown prince, Hassan, barely escaped with his life. Hassan is also living in secret in Pallas Athos, but not for long. The Paladin Guard, an order of Graced fighters, is crossing the sea to find him and protect him. They've read the signs and think he's the last prophet, someone with the Grace of Sight who can show the way out of the darkness the last prophets predicted before they vanished from the world 100 years before.

Is it any good?

This promising fantasy series start features cool magical powers, an ensemble of complex, often haunted characters, and a dark prophecy that ties them all together. It will remind avid readers of Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows duology, the way it shifts perspective every chapter and the way each character searches for their own redemption in an often wicked world. The best part about There Will Come a Darkness is all the surprises. No one is who you think and nothing ever goes even remotely according to plan. Which makes it rather funny that Jude, the assigned protector of the prophet, thinks he's strayed wildly from his mission when he's really the only one who hasn't.

Newbie author Katy Rose Pool is sure to garner a large following as the series continues, given the right marketing push. Here's hoping she can keep up the momentum and surprise readers many more times through the rest of the saga.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about each of the main characters in There Will Come a Darkness. Who are you rooting for the most? The least? What did each of them learn about themselves along the way?

  • What do the Witnesses want? What are their tactics to get it? How do their extremist views mimic real-life extremism?

  • Will you read the next book in the trilogy? What do you think is in store for all the characters?

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