Saturday, February 4, 2012
To Darkness Fled (Blood of Kings, Bk 2)
Title: To Darkness Fled
Author: Jill Williamson
Primary Audience/Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy (Christian)
# of Pages: 681
Publisher: Marcher Lord Press
Year of Release: 2010
Part of a Series? Yes (2 of 3 Blood of Kings)
Rating: 3 View Scale
Read review of By Darkness Hid, Book 1
Description: Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard Knights flee into Darkness to escape the evil prince. They head for Ice Island—an abandoned prison and frozen wasteland holding what Achan hopes will
be his future army. He’s been called by Arman to lead the world of Er’Rets to freedom—to
light. Both Achan and Vrell learn more about bloodvoicing as they travel. 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.
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.), but Williamson’s writing is anything but dull. She throws twists from every
corner and keeps every chapter exciting, unpredictable, and harder to put down.
Review: It’s my second time reading To Darkness Fled and I enjoyed it even more than the first time,
which is surprising. It kept me flipping pages, anxious for answers, and surprised by plot turns.
Reading a well-written Christian fantasy was a new (or at least sorely-missed) experience for
me. And 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. I’ve grown closer and closer to the characters—they are very realistic
and believable. Jill Williamson continues to show her skill in writing through making a 600-page
book of mere traveling full of suspense and thrill. I would recommend reading it over the course
of several days—not in one sitting. The characters are traveling through Darkness over a matter
of months and it can get mentally draining for the reader to cover so much ground in a single
day (though I’d love to see someone try! ;)
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.
Rating: 3 for violence
Positive: The relationships between characters grow strongly through this book. Bonds are
made through travels and hardships. A lot of trust is formed and focus made on faithfulness and
Spiritual Elements: Arman continues to seek out Achan and Achan’s faith is turning into his
own. His belief is deepening and you see it becoming part of his character. He continues to
address difficult questions like “Why does evil have power if Arman is God?” and why are
Arman and his Son both worshipped if there’s only “one” God? It stimulates thinking and
growth in the reader—at least it did for me.
Violence: The violence in this book is appropriate for teens and up. It’s a bit higher than in
the first book. Achan and Vrell both enter several life-threatening battles that often leave them
stabbed, bruised, beaten, or tortured. Again, the author keeps the descriptions at a decent level
while continuing a realistic write-up of events. There is one moment where a character gets an
arm severed. The novel deals with the feelings behind causing such damage to a human being as
well as addressing the feelings that come from killing someone—even if it’s in self defense. The
sacredness of life is emphasized greatly in this novel particularly.
Sexual Content: There are some on-the-mouth kisses and a character who’s a bit brazen with
his attraction to women. Achan is forced to seek a bride as the upcoming leader of Er’Rhets and
encounters love potions, which lead to some passionate kisses. On the more severe side, twice,
women are chased and/or kidnapped by ill-seeking men who want to take advantage of them
physically. Their evil intents are alluded to and never gone into detail—older readers (teens and
up) may understand the insinuations whereas younger readers may miss them. Both instances are
resolved through rescue and strong lessons are learned from them of protection and caution. All
scenes are still appropriate, but I would recommend that these books are only read by teens and
Recommendation: I definitely recommend this book. It is well-written, a brilliant continuation
of the first, and encourages the reader grow more in his or her thinking and faith. It’s such an
encouragement to see these strong Christian fantasy novels hitting the electronic bookshelves.
They’re exactly what young Christian readers need.