Jill Williamson is making a name for herself. To Darkness Fled is a brilliant sequel continuing the stories of Achan Cham and Vrell Sparrow. This continuation picks up moments after the first book ends with Achan and Vrell fleeing the rogue king with Old Kingsguard knights. The majority of the book covers their travels which, to be honest, I thought would be repetitive and monotonous (what’s more boring than traveling for weeks on end? Reading about traveling for weeks on end.) Instead, Williamsons’ writing is anything but dull. She throws twists from every corner and keeps every chapter exciting, unpredictable, and harder to put down.
Both Achan and Vrell learn more about bloodvoicing as they travel to Ice Island to free long-imprisoned soldiers for Achan’s army. Achan comes to a new understanding of what kingship entails and grows a deeper relationship with Arman—the One who called him to be king. Meanwhile, Vrell struggles to keep her gender and identity a secret, but cannot subdue her growing love for Achan.
I enjoyed the story almost as much as the first novel. It kept me flipping pages, anxious for answers, and surprised by plot turns. Only after reading these first two Blood of Kings novels did I notice what a difference having a fantasy based on Christ makes. Both during and after the read, I felt uplifted and even able to focus on God more.
All the characters in these first two books are convincing, in-depth, and believable. No human reaction, battle scene, escape attempt, or romantic encounter comes off as sugar coated or unrealistic. Every character, bad and good, has lifelike motives and desires. Williamson skillfully emphasizes morals, beliefs, and life priorities through her characters’ eyes. I am also impressed with her ability to create and describe a new world without bogging down the reader with explanations, descriptions, or over-the-top details.
To Darkness Fled deals with more on the romantic side than book one and, though it remains clean and decent, my opinion remains the same from my review of book one—that these novels are appropriate for mid-teens, young adults, and older. Not for children or “tweens”. See my rating at the end of this post.
I highly recommend buying/reading To Darkness Fled (after the 1st one, of course!). Ask your local library to carry it if you can’t find it in a nearby bookstore. It is a wonderful read and I pray Jill Williamson continues to write, even after finishing the series. You know the story is good when, afterward, you don’t want to read anything else but the same novel over again. The Blood of Kings series is like a second home in book form. I can’t wait to walk over the threshold into book 3 and live through the conclusion.
Violence Level: **** (violence is high, but clean and not gruesome)
Romance Level: **
Christian Focus: **** (so refreshing!)
Readability Level: ***(easy-medium to read)
Story Depth Level: *****(makes you think. In-depth, but not confusing)
Recommendation: ***** (absolutely!)