Book Review: Darkness Concealed

Posted: September 18, 2014 in Book Review
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Darkness Concealed: A review. 3 of 5 stars

Darkness Concealed

About the Book: 

50 years ago, the dawn did not come. Again. Everyone in Telthan knew it would happen. Monsters roamed the land, killing virtually everyone in their path, laying waste to anything in their way. Only a precious few survived to rebuild the wreckage of civilization, just like last time. No one questions the Darkening. Not even the children.

That is, until four strangers set off in search of answers, braving a forbidden city, a forgotten library, and foreboding mountains for the truth that has to exist. But the past does not give up its secrets easily, and the truth is far darker than the blackest night.

The Good:

D. Emery Bunn has evidently spent a lot of time devising a unique setting, and his depth of worldbuilding is readily evident. Every 149 years, darkness consumes the land of Telthan, during which monsters rampage throughout destroying civilization and forcing the survivors to start over.

He establishes characters with interesting (though sometimes annoying) quirks, and each one has a well-developed personality. There is ample character development among the four, and they are more than the sum of their quirks.

Bunn describes this book as dark fantasy, and he does an excellent job of introducing those horror elements, especially early in the book. His monsters are unique and diverse, and the fact that the protagonists rarely clearly see them only adds to the feeling of something horrible lurking just out of sight.

The Bad:

The pacing in the story is a bit off. I found the beginning, where the characters all meet worked well, and enough of a spotlight was shone on each of them, along with their motivations. I found the middle section slow-going, and feel that in many ways it could have moved faster.

My other major complaint is that in some ways it mirrors someone’s notes from a role-playing campaign. You have four adventurers questing through the world, picking up plot coupons, all with an eye toward making the world a better place.

The Ugly:

Yes, this is the first book of a planned trilogy, so it is expected that there would be unanswered questions. However, Bunn introduces elements to his story that go unexplained to a great, ranging from the exact nature of the world he has created to elements of the characters. This left me with a lack of fulfillment when I reached the end. Yes, the characters accomplished some of their goals, but there were too many questions left unanswered. There were also some elements of the story that I found defied logical explanation. Yes, this is a fantasy series, but even so, little was done to explain to the reader why certain things happened the way they did. Part of this has to do with the unexplained mysteries mentioned, and the author has said that more will be revealed in the forthcoming sequel (aptly titled Darkness Revealed).

I also found the persistent internal dialogues of the characters distracting and, at times, unnecessary.

 Final Verdict:

I would recommend the novel to readers who like their fantasy a bit darker than usual. It is a good first novel that probably could have used a bit more polish.

Darkness Concealed can be found on Amazon, Kobo, and Google.

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