A Darkness Beckons by Todd Herzman (Hollow Fate Book 2)

8/10 A fun, addictive and blood-fueled adventure, featuring a family of kickass mage-warriors doing their damndest to prevent the apocalypse.

A fun, addictive and blood-fueled adventure, featuring a family of kickass mage-warriors doing their damndest to prevent the apocalypse.

The story picks up several months after the world-changing events at the end of book one. While A Dark Inheritance started small and eased the readers into the bigger picture, A Darkness Beckons wastes no time in throwing its reader to the wolves, bouncing them across different continents and new character POVs. We venture outside the world of the siblings and pick a couple of new characters' windows into the story, and it does the book a great service. I was happy Herzman opened up his narrative choices, and it kept the story fresh and exciting.

While the book is a far cry from LitRPG, the magic system in this series is heavily reminiscent of a Final Fantasy video game. There are elemental classes in which characters learn new spells and powers that increase in strength through situational experiences. It's a 'soft' system--there aren't many hard rules in place--so it's fun to anticipate what forms of magical Play-Doh await each new scene.

There are some truly awesome moments in the story. One is a central battle that the entire first half of the book heads toward, and the actual throwdown is just plain awesome. There's a moment where a flaming weapon battles enemy spears while a cyclone of flying rocks swirls overhead and a juiced-up swordsman goes into Turbo mode. Reserve some time for this battle as you'll want to cover it in one sitting.

There were a few items in the book that I didn't enjoy The speechifying didn't work for me; it came off as a bit too 'rah-rah go-team' or mustache-twirly. There were only two morally grey characters in the story: one of them was only because they were forced into an 'inner struggle' situation; the other was just questioning their forcued occupation and didn't really cross any questionable boundaries until they were under duress. Being under duress, whether to a blood-Thrall or another otherworldly threat were really the only major sources of chaos in the book. It left me wanting some more characters who felt a bit more human, instead of 'all good unless under mind control.'

A couple of other small nitpicks, such as the youngest kid out of a large group of adults who time and again was leaned on as the chief strategist, or a couple of moments where the right magical power manifested itself as just the right moment in time. But overall, this was another incredibly fast-moving story that was very hard to put down, just like book one of this series.

Herzman has a talent for making chapters just the right length and leaving the reader with just enough of a cliffhanger to entice you to read further. I felt vibes similar to an evening at the cinema with all the emotional beats of a summer action film. If that sounds up your alley--and it should, as it's loads of escapist fun, which I think we all could use right now--then this is a series I can easily recommend.

Review by

15+

Todd Herzman's Hollow Fate series


A Dark Inheritance

Hollow Fate Book 1
8/10

A Darkness Beckons

Hollow Fate Book 2
8/10

A Darkness Beckons reader reviews

7.5/10 from 1 reviews

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