Cover illustration by: Micah Epstein
Of Darkness and Dawn by Will Wight
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Elder Empire: Shadow (Book #2 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 364 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: 10th August 2015 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)
This review is an unpopular opinion; please feel free to ignore this if you’ve read and enjoyed the first book, but in my opinion, Of Darkness and Dawn was a huge downgrade from its predecessor.
I really need to stop saying “I have a good feeling about this series” and something along that line of thoughts just from finishing the first book of a series. I have lost count how many times I did that and ended up jinxing the sequels. It’s seriously a curse, and Of Darkness and Dawn, the sequel to Of Shadow and Sea that I immensely enjoyed, isn’t safe from that curse. Once again, please don’t let this review discourage you from reading the series if you’ve enjoyed the first book, I am definitely on the unpopular faction here, and most likely than not, you’re going to enjoy this book, too.
My main issues with this book can be narrowed down to two main points. One, the narratives—especially the flashback chapters—felt so disjointed and messy. This could be just me, but it felt like each new chapter read didn’t continue well from its previous chapter. When I’m engrossed in the present-day chapters, the next chapter forced me to read a flashback chapter that felt like a different novella being slipped in awkwardly. I did have this issue in the first book, but it was a minor annoyance compared to what I felt here. I believe that the flashback chapters were tolerable and even enjoyable because it was told mainly from Shera’s POV. This wasn’t the case in this volume. There were times after the present-day chapters where we’re required to read a non-Shera’s POV flashback chapter, not only this was weird, by the time we continue with Shera’s flashback chapter—again, felt disjointed—I felt like I had to reacquaint myself with her past story. This went on non-stop throughout the whole book.
My second main issue lies in Shera’s character and her non-existence development. Shera has always been devoid of emotions, but in the first book, the brief emotions she displayed did play a significant role in deepening and establishing her personality. With each page being read in this book, instead of feeling more invested, I felt more detached from Shera instead. This situation, the far-in-between dialogues, plus the storyline that felt disconnected from the previous book made reading this a struggle. Not gonna lie, I actually fell asleep once somewhere in the first 35%, and I don’t think I need to elaborate what falling asleep when reading a book means.
Overall, Of Darkness and Dawn was far below the quality found in Of Shadow and Sea that it actually killed my excitement to continue reading the parallel series. I think the parallel format of this dual-trilogy backfired this time. Major events did happen occasionally, and it’s not like Calder appeared a lot here, but it definitely felt like there were many events or character appearances that would’ve been more fleshed out from reading Of Dawn and Darkness first. Unfortunately, whether I’ll read Of Dawn and Darkness or continue to the last books of the parallel series remains to be seen now.
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