Book Review: The Darkness of Light by Tammy Farrell

This is a very exciting review for me. The Darkness of Light will be released on January 28th, 2014. Not only is this the first book of The Dia Chronicles, it is also the first book author Tammy Farrell has published. I was delighted to have found her blog and follow her as she achieved the same dream I hope to some day. When she asked if I wanted to read and review an advanced copy of her book, I was beyond thrilled.

The Darkness of Light has all the elements that I love. It’s currently listed on GoodReads as fantasy, but I would call it historical urban fantasy (is that a thing?). You could also characterize it as young adult or new adult. I find it hard to place. It’s simplistic enough to remind me of  young adult books, but has enough adult content for it to be considered new adult. These are all genres of books I routinely devour, so I was more than ready to dig in.

The book opens in the Realm of Dumnonia, Britian 517 C.E. In her notes at the end of the book, Farrell mentions that Dumononia was a real place in southwestern England. As all my favorite books do, the author draws upon mythology, Irish mythology in this case, to create her cast of characters.

Mara, the girl on the cover, is hiding after the arrest of her mother. Christianity has just started to spread across the land and, unfortunately, those who don’t go along with it are often accused of working with the devil. It doesn’t take long for events to escalate to the point where Mara must leave for her own safety.

Braving the wilderness on her own, she encounters Corbin and Malcolm, the other main characters of the book. Through them, she is introduced to the secrets her mother kept from her and introduced to her birthright. (These three together instantly made me think of Rahzel, Alzeid, and Baroqueheat from Dazzle. I decided not to include an image in case I imply something spoliery, but you can click the link if you want to see.)

The first half of the book read like my guilty pleasure. There was history, fantasy, mythology and what I thought were clear hints at a love triangle. I often complain about love triangles and their ability to turn a thought-provoking story into romantic mush. That’s why they are my guilty pleasure. I want to hate them, but I can’t help but go down with my ship.

This is not a love triangle. It’s so refreshing to read a book where a female character isn’t just oh so torn between two sexy, chivalrous fantasy men. I found myself thinking about Lolita as I read. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of reading that disturbing book, you will know what I mean. There is a difference between love and obsession.

The book is fast paced and full of dialogue. I would have preferred more description in some places, but that’s more of a personal preference. A few times I had to back track and remind myself which character I was reading about. These minor issues diminished as the book went on. By the time I was half way through, I was neglecting all aspects of my life (outside of work and food) to read the book.

The Darkness of Light is fantastic, but it does play out like a set up. I don’t mean that as a criticism. The first book my favorite author writes in a series usually pales in comparison to those that follow. There is so much that Farrell can expanded upon here. I see huge potential in this story line.

I really hope to learn more about those positioned as villains in The Darkness of Light. When we first meet, my heart went out to this character. A part of me hopes they will find a path to goodness, but I doubt that will happen after the events of this book. I’m surprised, after all the character did, that I retain any sympathy for them.

The fact is, I have a thing for villains. Loki, Darth Vader, Sephiroth and the androids are just a few of the villains who break my heart with their stories. Yet, no matter how much we come to understand their actions, it doesn’t change the fact that they solved their problems with evil actions.

A part of me wants to add Tammy Farrell’s villain to my list of loves, but they might be too evil. That’s definitely possible. Have you ever heard of Naraku. I hate him more than any other fictitious character that has ever been created. Maybe Farrell’s villain will give him a run for his money.

In conclusion:

  • I was 100% sure I was reading a love triangle when I started the book and was surprised to be wrong.
  • Great use of history and Irish mythology.
  • Wonderful, well-developed characters
  • The divide between good and evil is a bit too black and white for me
  • Could have used some more description in the beginning.
  • A simplistic story line with a lot of potential to grow

Rating 3.9 stars

Farrell, Tammy. The Darkness of Light. N.p.: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2013. Print.

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