Here’s another book I read last year and am FINALLY getting around to reviewing. I learned of There Will Come a Darkness from Mary at Mary and the Words. She did a wonderful post on religion in books that piqued my interest as soon as I saw the title.
In addition to the “chosen one” trope, religion is another element I LOVE in my fantasy, so I was glad for the fantasy books Mary mentioned in her post. Of course, There Will Come a Darkness was one of the books and what Mary said about the characters’ relationship with their religion really appealed to me as it seems there would be some complexities there to untangle (and there are). I also liked that she mentions religion is woven into the cultures of the world, which is another thing that greatly interested me making me quickly check to see if a copy was available at my library.
In the midst of a serious reading slump, this book was a ray of positivity. It was the only book I read in October last year, and I took the entire month to read it, but it was worth it. I had a wonderful time and if not for it, I probably wouldn’t have read anything.
Age of Darkness, book 1
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? (Goodreads)
There I was losing hope in YA fantasy, then Pool’s novel came along and proved me wrong. There Will Come a Darkness was an intriguing, engrossing read that made me want to move on to the next one as soon as I was done. But first, I had to get this review out.
The story’s world resembles ancient Mediterranean world. Actually, the map is basically of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, except that the countries and land masses all have different names. The religion of the world is centered on seven Prophets who maintained peace before disappearing 100 years ago, after which strife, confusion, and violence returned. However, before they disappeared, they helpfully prophesied that an Age of Darkness is coming and a Last Prophet could help save it.
Which leads us to the story’s five main characters — Ephyra, Hassan, Jude, Anton, and Beru — who are all caught up in this prophecy in some way (well, so I think). It’s a diverse cast of individuals, and we read from all five POVs, which are distinct and interesting in their own ways, but, of course, I preferred some over others and tended to lean more toward Anton, who has the Grace of Sight and whose personality I like; Hassan, who is supposedly Graceless, a prince, and whose character development most interested me; and Beru, who is a mystery.
Oh! I should explain the Graces, right? Well, so far the magic in the world is called Grace and is a natural ability people are born with — well, that’s how I understand it so far. These abilities enable a person to manipulate esha, or spirit. According to belief, it’s the seven Prophets who enabled people to become Graced. There are four Graces:
- Grace of Heart, which enables such individuals to enhance their esha so they can be stronger or faster or heighten their senses (e.g., fighters and soldiers)
- Grace of Blood, which enables such individuals to give or take away esha to heal or harm others (e.g., healers or bad-ass assassins)
- Grace of Mind, which enables such individuals to create unique objects that they imbue with esha so they can do incredible things (e.g., alchemists and artificers)
- Grace of Sight, which enables such individuals to sense and locate living beings, or any named thing with an esha (e.g., seers and scryers; also, names are important in this world and helps to bind a person to their esha)
Under the belief in the Prophets, the Graced receive much respect, but recently this has started to change. One of the major conflicts in the story is the growing popularity of the Hierophant, who is turning people from the belief in the Prophets and reverence for the Graced. With his followers, called Witnesses, the Hierophant attacks the Graced and seems intent on destroying the six Prophetic Cities, one of which is Nazirah in the Kingdom of Herat, where Hassan is from.
Hassan is actually an exiled prince taking refuge at his aunt’s place in Pallas Athos since the Hierophant captured Nazirah and most likely killed his parents, both of whom are Graced. Terrifying as the Hierophant is due to his manipulating people’s beliefs and taking advantage of the space the Prophets once occupied (being figures of hope) and the need of the people (hope and change for the better), I love his inclusion in the story and how he helps to complicate situations for the characters and mislead them.
The story is engrossing, interesting, and entertaining. The magic, the world, the characters, and the conflicts the characters face all help to make it so. I love it that we see a character struggle with their beliefs, whether the strictures dictated to them based on their religion is right and what it would mean, and cost, to break away from such rules. I love it that we see characters struggle and come to terms with the part they must play in the prophecy’s fulfillment (and the way this plays out for a particular character is what made me love this book because it’s a break from how such characters are usually presented). I love it that we see a character try to justify their monstrous actions and try to balance on the thin line between doing something bad to save someone they love and losing themselves the more they do such monstrous acts, becoming more like the people they fight against.
Although the writing didn’t stand out much to me (or maybe too much time has passed since I read the book to remember the prose well), I did feel immersed in the world as I read, as if I was in the various settings. It was a transportive read, and I liked that some descriptions recalled me to certain ancient structures I’ve read/heard about, like the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
The story has been on my mind since I completed it last year, and I’ve been yearning to go back to it ever since, but I wanted to do so after my slump had passed and especially after doing the review. Now that’s all done, I intend to jump back into the story asap. I’ve already borrowed the next two books from the library, but I have a feeling that I may need to purchase my own copies. I think this is one I’ll need to have on my shelves.
It’s such a good read and I highly recommend it. I just hope the second and third books are as good and that there aren’t any love triangles (but this is YA fantasy so hoping for the latter may be too much).
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
In addition to being a good read, the covers also look great and the spines are gorgeous when lined up on a shelf.
If you like this, you might like…
The Diviners series by Libba Bray
Okay, so these books are nothing alike, except that they are both historical fiction with fantasy. Well… Diviners is actually more supernatural than straight fantasy, so the similarities stop at historical fiction and just at the genre because one is set way back in the day in ancient Mediterranean times and the other is more recent taking place in the 1920s. BUT! I kept thinking of The Diviners as I read There Will Come a Darkness so that’s why I’m pairing them.
Both are written well, engrossing, have a diverse cast, and are immersive. They are also both told from multiple POVs, if such a thing appeals to you. So, yea, check out the Diviners too.
19 thoughts on ““There Will Come a Darkness” by Katy Rose Pool”
I’ve had this review bookmarked for ages to read because I’ve so been looking forward to reading your thoughts on this! Anton is truly the light of my life, and I love that sweet, anxious bean so damn much. Can confirm that there are no love triangles in the second and third book. There’s honestly not a whole ton of romance aside from the two main couples, and though there are some other “romantic” things that happen, it’s very lowkey, and there aren’t a lot of emotions involved. There were moments in the third book where I was like “alright let’s move the story along now” and definitely more filler than in the previous two books, but this trilogy, as a whole, remains one of my all-time favorites, and I love it so much. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, and hope you get to read the second book soon!
Thanks for checking out my review 🙂 So happy to know there aren’t any love triangles in it lol. I recently completed the second book and, oh man! I’m so interested in the Jude bits and all he’s struggling with. And all the surprising reveals were very surprising.
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Great review! This is a new book to me. I’m always down to check out new fantasy reads, I’ll have to add this one to my TBR.
Thanks! I think you might like it.
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A YA Fantasy book WITHOUT a love triangle? I want to read that!
Lol! Yep, that’s right for this first book. I hope it stays that way for the next two.
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Glad to hear this was a ray of sunshine in the darkness of your reading slump (sorry for the sad play on words). 🙂 And I like that it kept you from completely giving up on YA. It can be tough when so much is published in a category that finding the ones we’ll enjoy becomes difficult.
Lol! Thanks! And yea, I count myself lucky whenever I find a YA fantasy title I like. I’ve grown annoyed with it over the years.
Amazing Review! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, it’s already on my TBR waiting for me 😄👏🏻
Thanks! Hope you get to try it.
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Great review! I loved this whole trilogy.
Thanks! And I’m happy that you enjoyed it all. Hoping that’ll be my experience with the other books too.
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You’re welcome and thank you. I can’t wait to see what you think of the others.