Author : Karin Shah
Series : The Darkling Lands, Book 1
Genre : Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Source : Free copy from the author via Making Connections group on Goodreads for an honest review
The crippled reject of a scorned people, seventeen-year-old Valayan wanderer Deyna has never eaten, owned, or used anything she didn't scrounge or steal. She's used to life at rock bottom, but when her father sells her to be the annual Sacrifice to their enemies, the winged darklings, she discovers a new low.
Marked for death at the hands of the darkling king, only the discovery that she's half darkling saves her life.
As a servant in the darkling palace, Deyna thinks she's landed on her feet. She has fresh, clean food, a real bed, and people, like young Lord Ahran, the handsome captain of the king's guard, who might actually care if she lives or dies. But all is not well in the darkling lands.
The mysterious Jackal-Wolf is stealing grain shipments and raiding armories. A civil war is brewing, the gods have plans for her, and Ahran may not be exactly what he seems. Will the girl who's spent her whole life running take a stand—even at the cost of her own life?
My Musings :
The first time I read the book blurb I was hooked. And the book cover with the "lovely" darkling at the top and the war at the bottom confirmed that I would be reading this book. I love books which have lots of action in it. And this book promised a treat in that respect by its cover and blurb.
I knew that I would like the story very much because of the Robin Hood-y feel to the book and the heroine, Deyna because she is an underdog of sorts. I absolutely love people who can go to the top from the very bottom. And Deyna is one such character with her stout determination and fighting spirit. She doesn't break even when she is sent away to the Darkling Lands, which is a mystery to her people. And she is very tenacious when she is defending her people. And then there's Ahran, the male protagonist who seems insensitive at the beginning till the book starts his view of events. Then I felt that he is brave and loyal, trying to do good for the people and his family without compromise. All other characters add life to the story and make it three dimensional with their emotions and feelings. I felt that the main characters were well developed including the villain of the story, Morlor with his dark and devious nature.
The story was well written with secrets revealed at surprising points which kept me interested in the plot till the end. The pace was steady till the last part of the book where I felt it was kind of rushed and the scenes were cut short. But then the events unfolded at such a speed that the book ended before I could catch up with everyone emotionally. There was a twist at the end which had me thinking - "Justice at last!"
The magic system of the book was familiar and different at the same time but good.I would love to have that kind of powers in real life. It would make life interesting! The world built around humans and darklings was fresh and unique. I liked the pairings of the characters and the soft romance between them. The book has the right blend of romance, action, adventure and magic to make a great read. I found it very enjoyable and I would recommend it to all romantic fantasy lovers out there.
My one line review : Robin Hood-y tale in a fantastical setting equals Halfing!
My rating : 5/5
My reread factor : 4/5