Darkmage by ML Spencer
This grimdark fantasy book follows the story of Darien Lauchlin, a rebellious but honourable mage who returns to his hometown to take his official mage oath only to see the city, and his loved ones, destroyed by his wicked brother. Said brother opens a portal to the netherworld and unleashes all kinds of hellish creatures on the real world. Darien must regain control, even if that means he has to break the oath he holds so dear…
The narrative is told for the most part from Darien’s point of view, as well as a character called Kyel who is in the wrong place at the wrong time with a gambler friend and is sent to the ‘front’. There is a war raging between the empire of The Rhen and The Black Lands, where the Enemy resides. The Enemy lives in darkness and is encroaching on Darien and Kyel’s land. There are a few other character POVs, including Darien’s mother and Darien’s soldier friends at the front.
Darien returns to the front after his hometown is destroyed and devises deeply-woven plots to hold back the Enemy, including bringing together the various armies across The Rhen to fight as one. He must make tough decision after tough decision and suffer some huge personal sacrifices in order to do his duty as one of the last surviving mages after his brother’s atrocity.
Kyel is a more down-to-earth character. He doesn’t have a powerful family like Darien or a deep feeling of duty and destiny. But he’s a good, decent guy. Basically, a run of bad luck leads him to fight at the front. He’s not a soldier, but realises he has some skill as an archer and comes to the attention of Darien. Darien devises ways for Kyel to learn and develop which aren’t always to Kyel’s liking.
From the opening prologue the emotional intensity of this book was high with a dark and ominous atmosphere that continues throughout. The looming conflict with the Enemy creates a wonderfully grim tension. And the desperate measures Darien and his allies take to attempt to save their world, and the people within, have a sense that they are just about clinging on but at any moment the thin thread will snap.
The characters are really well developed, and we spend a lot of time in the minds of Darien and Kyel. There is plenty of action and some epic fight scenes, as well as some more intimate moments between friends and lovers.
I really enjoyed this story, there was some interesting worldbuilding and magic concepts. However, I did want to spend more time with the one main female character, Naia, and not just through Darien’s perspective. I was also hoping we’d see more from Darien’s mother as well as a feisty Queen, Romana, but unfortunately not.
Darkmage is a treat for grimdark fantasy fans who appreciate well-crafted characters and a heavy sense that ‘good’ is probably not going to win. And if it does, it’s going to have to go through a lot of ‘bad’ to get there!
This Darkmage book review was written by Rosalyn Kelly
All reviews for: The Rhenwars Saga
The Rhenwars Saga #1
The hope of the world rests in the hands of a Darkmage.The Well of Tears is open and the terror of the night has been unleashed. Now, the last Sentinel left ali...
The Rhenwars Saga #2
Compelled to obey the dark god he pledged his soul to, Darien finds himself tasked with delivering the people of the Black Lands from under the curse of darkness which shro...
Have you read Darkmage?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Darkmage reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Great Reawakening has left Latent people with a stark choice: either use their newfound magical powers in the service of the government, or choose the path of the Selfe...
The Divine Cities Trilogy
Robert Jackson Bennett
A special omnibus edition, collecting all three books of Robert Jackson Bennett’s acclaimed Divine Cities trilogy in a single volume. &nbs...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Ascendants of Estorea
The Estorean Conquord has stood for 850 years. Its Advocate, Herine Del Aglios, knows that she presides over the greatest civilisation in history. But she wants more. And i...
Great fantasy books published in 2017
The Fall of Arthur
The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England’s legendary hero, King Ar...
The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.In a land where three suns a...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
The Witchwood Crown
New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! • Volume One of The Last K...
‘An exciting new writer – sharp, compelling and original’ Mark LawrenceYears have passed since the Vagrant journeyed to the Shining City, Vesper in...
A modern Britain. An age-old cruelty. Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: