Heroes will rise. Nations will fall.
Behind the towering walls of Belduar, Calen Bryer and his companions stand in defense of the city and its new king. In over a thousand years, Belduar has never fallen. It has stood as a bastion of hope. But the Lorian empire are at its walls once more, and the Dragonguard are coming.
In the North, with Faenir by her side, Calen’s sister Ella arrives at the port of Antiquar. She holds no fear of the unknown. She will see this through, no matter what – or who – gets in her way.
Meanwhile, at the embassy of the Circle of Magii in Al’Nasla, Rist Havel hones his newfound powers in preparation for the trials. Unbeknownst to Rist, he is being watched, measured, and judged. He was not taken into the Circle by chance. There is greatness in him. But great men can do terrible things.
As Lorian forces land on southern shores and Aeson Virandr’s letters of rebellion find their way to the right hands, only the Knights of Achyron see the true danger. The danger that stirs in the darkness. The coming shadow will not stop. It will consume all in its path. It wants for nothing but blood and fire.
Hi. I haven’t written properly in a couple months now so, apologies for the rustiness. I have seven half-finished documents I haven’t touched since deciding I couldn’t finish them or not feeling the want to. Its odd how stressful reading can get when you feel you have to review every page you read, every good quote needs to be highlighted and a notebook needs to be carried everywhere just in case you need it. It’s no wonder so many bloggers burn out. In this two-month hiatus Ive read more than I did the rest of the year and I really enjoyed that time, but I loved writing and this whole journey has been incredible for me, so I feel like its time to start again, and what better book to write about than Of Darkness and Light by Ryan Cahill.
As per usual I will try and keep this review spoiler free, thank you to Ryan for sending me a copy of his book in return for an honest review.
Ryan Cahill is a name that’s grown with some serious pace in 2021 and I’m starting to think that maybe Cahill is half man, half machine. He somehow has managed to put in serious time and effort into becoming a pretty large and wonderful part of our Fantasy community, while promoting his series and still managing to crank out a new chonky sized novel. How he’s managing to do it is beyond me, (I don’t think the man sleeps) but it’s definitely working for him. He’s even doing well enough that he’s gotten the attention of our communities main little troll (I’m looking at you Radagast the Salty) . Ryan is a wonderful man and was kind enough to send me both a digital Arc and a beautiful physical arc, and Ive obviously preorder a beautiful full copy from The Broken Binding.
Of Darkness and Light is the second book in The Bound and the Broken series, following on from Of Fire and Blood which I sadly didn’t review as I read it during my hiatus but will briefly mention. Of Blood and Fire was a solid 8/10 and the reason I want to mention this first book is because I think my only real criticism of the first book is one of the reasons I loved the second book so much.
If you’ve read any of my reviews you will know at this point, I really love books with Dragons, I like them to the extent I wish Dragons were real and I myself was a Dragon Rider but not to the extent I have weird models of them throughout my house, just to clarify. My top 10 of all-time list contains Eragon and the Inheritance series, the incredible Shadow of the Gods and M.L Spencer’s fantastic Dragon Mage. Of Fire and Blood funnily enough contained Dragons and lots of action so you can see I knew I was going to love with before I even started. I wasn’t wrong either, the book was fantastic, it was gripping, the characters were well written and even being a multi-POV story, I didn’t want to skip over the chapters that didn’t contain Calen. My only slight critique about the book was that I felt I was reading something very similar to Eragon, the storyline had a few set pieces that really matched up and the whole arc of the story really followed similar beats. Regardless of this it had enough differences that I didn’t feel it was a copy but just similar tropes and a world that contained a lot of the same aspects of classic fantasy worldbuilding elements that I can find in a hundred series. And honestly, it isn’t a complaint, Eragon is still my favourite series almost 20 years after reading it, Of Blood and Fire gave me that feeling of nostalgia I crave, it was a book I loved reading and it left me with a massive urge to read book two.
Of Darkness and Light turned out to be everything I wanted and more. The book I was expecting wasn’t what we got and instead Cahill really flexed his world building muscles and expanded on what he had written before. Everything was bigger and better, Cahill took the building blocks of his world from book one and went to town, fleshing out the lands we had heard little about and introducing new character’s to go with these wonderous places, adding new peoples and cultures and giving the world of Epheria a real depth. The similarities between of Blood and Fire and Eragon fell away, and at no point during book two did I have that same thought. We had a number of new POVS which were excellent additions and added to the incredible story Cahill was building. We got some insight to things we saw in book one that I wanted to know more about, and we got some beautifully rendered set pieces that had me on the edge of my metaphorical seat.
A flicker of a smile touched the old mans face. “Not for a second. It is better to die with a sword in your hand then to kneel with a chain around your neck. Go, do what we could not.”
Not only was the story better but Cahills writing quickly took on so much more everything. It almost felt like these two books were written years apart, Cahill writing like a man that had put out another five stories in-between these two novels, the writing was more serious, the world grew darker, the action got bloodier. In Of Blood and Fire there were a few sentences that grated on me at times or some conversations I felt were overly cheesy, book two again didn’t leave me with these impressions and I feel like Cahills writing just got better. If this man continues to improve between every book like this, I feel like book three could be my favourite release of 2022, and this year’s entry already made its way into my best of 2021 list alongside authors like Gwynne and Abercrombie.
Thats all bards ever seemed to talk about; Splendour and riches, the beauty of battle, and the honour of warriors. I’d wager every one of those bards would shit themselves if they ever saw the pointy end of a sword.
With Cahill’s growth in writing, we saw that transcend into his characters and I would be a fool if I didn’t point out the journey that Calen is making as a character and how incredibly well he’s written, he’s the perfect main protagonist. The issues Calen faces and the decisions he makes, added to the sometimes relationship with Valery’s, his Dragon, bring about genuine emotions in you as a reader and this is something I always think makes or breaks my enjoyment in a book. If I can skim through and finish and be happy, that’s good. If I come out feeling like Ive been punched in the gut and genuinely sad, then I think you’ve done something great.
All in all, Of Darkness and Light was an incredible book that had me gripped from page one, all the way to the last page two days later. Cahill is absolutely going to keep on getting better with each book that he puts out and I can’t wait to see what happens in book three and even where he goes after he finishes with The Bound and the Broken.
TL:DR If you loved Eragon or any of the books I mentioned this read is a necessity and you won’t regret it. Cahill’s Of Darkness and Light is magic, brutal, and an absolute pleasure to read. It will be released on 31/12/21 for the stupidly low price of £3.99 on Kindle or you can get a beautiful HB copy from The Broken Binding on the link below.
Thanks for reading.