Friday, August 30, 2013

Darkness Rising 4 - Loss, by Ross M. Kitson

Darkness Rising  4, Loss is the long awaited fourth installment in the sweeping  Darkness Rising Series, by Ross M. Kitson.

The Blurb:
Bravery is measured in moments.

In the lands of Nurolia the evils of the past are returning to torment the present. Emelia and her companions traverse the arid desert of Pyrios seeking the red crystal. Its power resides in the grasp of the dreaded Red Emperor, who enslaves the warrior race of Incandians. Time slips away as Vildor, Lord of the Ghasts, begins his dreaded plan and as Emelia’s sanity starts to crumble.

Far to the north, in the hills of Artoria, Aldred Enfarson holds onto life by a thread. His friends flee towards the walled city of Keresh, a dark army on their heels. Yet when the opportunity to save Aldred’s life presents itself, they unleash a force every bit as terrible as Vildor. The Cabal, creators of the Prisms of Power, seek to return to the world—and Aldred may become the key.

The forces of darkness are rising—and tragedy awaits even the most heroic.

My Review:

I've been following this series since book 1. In the Darkness Rising Series Ross M. Kitson has created compelling, wonderfully drawn characters.  Emelia, Jem, Hunor, Marthir, Orla and Kervin are each fascinating on an individual level, each with a real story. In the previous three books they have traveled all over Nurolia, from Goldoria to the swamps of Ssinthor and down into the depths of the earth. Through it all this group of companions has been thrown into many terrifying situations. In the course of their travels into lands ravaged by ancient sorceries and dark secrets they have become a well-oiled, if dysfunctional, team. 

In Book 4 - Loss they are  mature, battle hardened men and women. I like the fact they are not perfect, nor do they behave the way I think they should. Sometimes their decisions endanger the entire group. They always believe their actions are for the best. 

Danger surrounds them, divides them and brings them back together, and all through the first three books I have been really rooting for each these characters. In book four, at times I felt angry with certain decisions made by one of these characters, feeling like a friend had made a bad error in judgement. But bad decisions make awesome plot opportunities, and they really move the story forward. At no point did I want to quit reading--on the contrary, I had to know how this fourth book was going to end.

Vildor, Lord of the Ghasts is vile, filled with evil, and he is as obsessive and unforgiving as any immortal can be. He is one of the best, most evil villains I've come across, but Vildor is not the only villain on the block. Vildor's underlings have an agenda of their own, as do several other characters. Other forces are at work, and other people are trying desperately to gain control of the crystals. Everything comes down to the Prisms, and who controls them in the end. Whether human or immortal, obsessions and madness drive the plot.

Kitson's overall plot for the series is quite original and his world is colorful and intense. This is not a tale that has been told before, not a rehashing of J. R.R.Tolkien or Robert Jordan. Kitson's characters are strong and remain unique and true to themselves, faults and all, through each and every book in the series.  Emelia is not a superwoman, nor is she a fainting lily. She is a woman faced with terrifying prospects, and how she copes is both real and absorbing.

The good news is, there will be two more books in this series, and I will be first in line to buy them when they come out!

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