Rating: I LOVED IT
Series: The Benighted Saga
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Publication Date: November 25th 2013
Author Website • Goodreads
Barnes&Noble • IndieBound • Amazon •
Book Blurb: The King was dead.
His body was found slain in his room, only months after his son had been brutally murdered. Skylar Mandolyn, his daughter, has now become the last heir to inherit the throne. But instead of becoming Queen, she has been imprisoned for helping in the escape of Sir Harlin Brien, her knight who was framed for the King’s murder.
Confined to darkness, Skylar’s captors have given her no choice but to yield to a new kind of enemy: a kingdom that has advanced in both technology and warfare. It’s when she refuses that the prison uses its other means of persuasion, and although unmerciful, the whip lashings and isolation can’t suppress the memories of her family’s downfall. Pulled between her subconscious and reality, Skylar already knows who the true enemy is, because even the darkness can’t hide the deceptive hands that have destroyed them all.
With two kingdoms on the brink of war, Skylar’s only hope is in the person who has gone missing — Harlin, the knight who was sworn to protect her. The memory of him surrounds her when the darkness screams louder than the prisoners, and when Death smiles a faceless grin in between the cracks of the stone. While the tremors start to rise from the deep, crawling up through the prison's walls, Skylar doesn't realize that she will soon see why he’s one of the Benighted.
The mystery was never how Harlin escaped. It's how he’ll return.
So this year is starting out great for reading!
To boil down the plot, this is basically told from the perspective of an imprisoned princess, Skylar, who is tortured to get her to accept the terms of her usurpers. The book description nails it.
It’s an incredibly fast read. I blew through it in half a day. After my last read, I wanted something a little more lighthearted, and though Skylar’s situation and treatment is appalling, compared to what I just read it was exactly what I was looking for. It had hope, love, and heroes.
We start the story right after Skylar is imprisoned and we learn how she got there and of her Benighted protecter, Harlin, by means of flashbacks. Initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, but Dunnewin did a great job easing us from one to the other. My only complaint was it wasn’t very chronological. I would have liked it a bit more streamlined. A minor nit-pick.
I found Skylar to be a very likable heroine. She’s coming into a situation that’s difficult and she has been given no tools on how to cope with it, but she manages to make good choices sprinkled by a few not so good. It was interesting to see her grow and learn under some instruction by her Benighted, who himself verged on intriguing. I think my problem with Harlin was he was a little too collected, and we saw him through Skylar’s eyes with her perceptions. There was a more romantic tone to it than I was expecting. It lacked a bit of action throughout, which based on a badass Benighted character I was expecting more. However, the story moved fast enough I never noticed until it was over. I’m hoping the next book will show us more of Harlin’s skill. Matter of fact, I’d love it from his PoV.
Now, I’ve said the book was light, but I’ve come off of a rather gritty tale. There’s torture and murder and a darker tone, so be prepared. The writing was nice, the pace enough to keep me interested, and the story, while not unique, was told well. The world was built up enough for me.
Overall, if you’re looking for an entertaining, fast read, I suggest giving this a go. I really enjoyed it.