Friday, September 21, 2012

Darkness Rising 2 -Quest; Ross M Kitson


 As are most fantasy addicts, I love a good series; something I can get my teeth into. But I also like to know there will be some resolution, at some point and Ross M. Kitson has delivered on all points so far with his Darkness Rising Series. 

In Darkness Rising book 1 - Chained,  by indie author Ross M. Kitson, we met Emelia. Born with strange silver-grey eyes, Emelia is trapped in servitude to uncaring and haughty masters. Technically she is a ‘hired servant’ and not a slave, but the family who ‘employs’ her and others like her, own her body and soul.   It is a harsh and unforgiving life for a girl who hears voices which counsel rebellion; a girl who who frequently crosses the line and forgets her place through no fault of her own.  Even so, she has friends and loved ones within the servant community, and even a wistful romantic interest. Because of her eyes, she is called ‘Star-Eyed’, and it is suspected that one of her ancestors was actually a ‘Subaquan’ or a merman. Events happen to Emelia and she finds herself caught up in them, unable to control them or to avoid the punishments that surely follow.

The family that employs her, the Ebon-Farrs are members of an elite and highly-placed nobility with many important connections. They are also possessed of an item, a Crystal that the Arch-mage, Inkas-Tarr desires and plans to steal. Inkas also desires to possess Emelia, and he makes a bargain with the Ebon-Farrs to purchase her. Arch-mage Inkas is the highest ranking Elemental master and he sees something in her that he wishes to have at his enclave to study.

Before that can happen, she inadvertently runs afoul of Uthor Ebon-Farr, the arrogant son of the house, and strange powers emerge within her, but she is unaware of what has happened, only that strange things are happening to her, and that she is punished severely for the events that she had no control over.

On the night that she makes her escape from her masters, Emelia meets two men, Hunor and Jem, who are attempting to steal the very crystal that Arch-mage Inkas has also sent a thief after. Things begin to really go awry, but it turns out that Emelia is a Wild Mage, and is the antitheses of the Elemental Mages.

It turns out that the crystal is actually a dangerous and powerful magical artifact, one of the Prisms of Power - ancient artifacts made by a long dead race containing terrifying magic.

Once she is embroiled with Hunor and Jem, she embarks upon an epic adventure to find the Prisms. The Prisms are necessary to defeat the lord of the ghasts, the undead mages who are unequivocally evil.  No wishy-washy maybe-they-are evil here!!!  The Lord of the Ghasts is Evil. Emelia holds the key to their location but the Wild-magic comes at a dire cost...that of her mind.

Now in Darkness Rising Book 2 - Quest, Emelia, Hunor and Jem’s adventures continue. Wounded by a demon, Emelia is taken by her comrades, Jem and Hunor, into the dangerous Silver Mountains where they seek an old friend. A chance encounter propels them into a quest to find artifacts of awesome power.

Joining their quest is Lady Orla Farvous, a knight of the air, and member of the family which ‘owns’ Emelia. Her honor is put to the test as she finds herself fighting alongside people she despises. Also joining the group is Marthir, a druid and a thorn in Emelia’s side; Kervin (a tracker); and Mek-ik-ten, Jem’s mentor.

The Lord of the Ghasts, Vildor, has risen and lays a trap that may end their quest before it begins.  Emelia struggles to learn what she must and to do what she must, all the while fighting her personal demons.  In Thetoria, Aldred Enfarson, begins an investigation into a horrific murder. As he starts to unravel the events surrounding the appearance of a vampyr, he discovers a shocking truth which threatens all he holds dear.

Kitson has created a world that is fully fleshed in both its history and its social structure, and built a system of magic that is logical and is fully believable.  I love all the different races of sentient people; everything from lizardmen to mermen people this tale. The details are slipped into the story in such a way that you absorb them without realizing it.  Kitson's world is rich with the sounds and smells of another place and time; and I become fully immersed in the lives of Emelia, Hunor and Jem when I read his work.

I am positively over the moon knowing book three will soon be released, because I REALLY love this series.

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