Genre: Sword & Sorcery, 16+
Publisher: Spectra Revised edition (November 10, 1994)
Paperback: 432 pages
On the long roads of Deverry ride two mercenaries whose fates like hidden deep in that of their own land. But Lord Rhodry, exiled from the dragon court of Aberwyn, has yet to discover his true parentage, and his swordmaster-lover, Jill, has barely glimpsed her awesome powers. Meanwhile, the ancient sorcerer Nevyn, held back by his vows from boldly intervening in their lives, can only watch and wait as Rhodry and Jill move ever closer to danger. For as the two struggle to recover the Great Stone, the mystic jewel that guides the conscience of the kingship of Deverry, malevolent dark masters are weaving terrifying spells against them--and displacing messengers of death.
Katharine Kerr has extensively rewritten Darkspell, incorporating major changes in the text, making this her definitive edition. Here the epic saga that began with the Daggerspell continues--a tale of might and magic, lust and glory, dark danger and poignant desires that echo from Deverry's sapphire waters to its secret mountain caverns. It's a spellbinding story destined to please fantasy lovers everywhere.
The second book of Act 1 is, if possible, even better then the first book. This time around we get to delve deeper into the personalities of the main characters while the back story (previous incarnations) continues to build. We also go much deeper into the "dark" side of dweomer magic.
Since I have already mentioned the dark arts, I am going to go ahead and give you a content warning. If you are at all bothered by rape, specifically the repeated rape of a male character, then certain aspects of the aforementioned dark arts will trouble you. It is not terribly graphic but close and you are left with no doubt about what is occurring. This is the type of thing that crosses age barriers. I know folks my age that would shy away from this subject while I know High School kids who know this type of thing goes on and would not be bothered by it in the slightest. Atleast not past feeling a certain amount of sympathy for the victim. It is also an important part of the story so you cannot just skip over it and still understand the result. I do want to note that it does not occur for shock value, it plays a vital role in character development and as a component of the magic system.
OK, now that we have that aspect covered, on with the good stuff!
I am not much of a plot person, being way too much of a character lover but as far as plots go, I prefer one that is complicated and multilayered. Well you do not get any more layered then this story. You have the present storyline that revolves around Jill, Rhodry, and Nevyn fighting against the forces of evil. You have the previous incarnations with their storylines covering the extensive back-story and you have the ever-present question, will Nevyn be able to help Jill fulfill her destiny in this lifetime or will he have to wait, once again, for her to be reborn. Whenever I read a book like this, I think of a tapestry. You start out with a bunch of individual threads of various colors, and then you weave them together, creating an intricate picture. It is really pretty amazing if you think about it, and this story gives me that very same feeling.
There is another aspect of this story that blows me away and that is how well it flows. You would think that a story that jumps timelines as much as this one does would be really confusing. And, ever so often, due to no fault of the author, I will miss a switch in timelines and be caught off guard, but as a rule, I have no problem with the change in focus. When you consider that these are not just simple changes of PoV, these are complete changes in characters, settings, story, and time, with Nevyn as the only common denominator, this is an amazing feat. It is also, as I mentioned in my review of Daggerspell, kind of fun. With each reincarnation, once you (or Nevyn) have figured out who is who this time; you look forward to seeing which traits remain the same and which ones change for better or for worse. The whole concept is very enjoyable.
Well, that is enough about book two. I am off to read book three. Meanwhile I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane and if you have not read this series yet, I hope you give it a try. It remains one of my favorites and one I reread atleast once every few years.
Shelfari Rating 4/5
Librarything Rating 3.76/5
Amazon Rating 4 out of 5 stars
(16 Customer Reviews)
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