Following on from D.W. Ross’ debut novel Cold From The North, The Darkest Dusk is the next instalment of the adventures of Ogulf Harlsbane and his allies as they attempt to thwart the advances of malevolent forces trying to take over the realm of Gelenea.
Battle lines are drawn all over the continent as the march of The Order of Maledict continues, Ogulf and his companions must summon magical weapons which have the potential to even the odds, and all the while powerful new players emerge among the fray, bringing with them vast armies and new abilities as the struggle for control intensifies.
With the fate of the world in the balance – can they march of the Onyxborn be stopped?
The Darkest Dusk is the second novel in the Onyxborn Chronicle by D.W Ross. I’m very glad to say that this is a fantastic sequel to his debut novel Cold From the North. Normally the second book suffers from middle child syndrome, but in this case I can safely say this was not the case.
The first part of the novel did feel like a bit of an epilogue to book one, however once the action started it REALLY started. Danger lurked around every corner and many of my favourite characters found themselves fighting what seemed like a losing battle against far superior forces. Despite this, there was still a feeling of hope in this novel, that drove me forward to discover what lurked further in the story. To reiterate, the plot was filled with action from all sides, so that there was never a boring moment. The plot ended on a very satisfying cliff-hanger, that made me want to read more, but closed off book two at a high point.
For me Ogulf was the character that represented the aforementioned hope in the novel I believe will continue to represent that hope with some fantastic upcoming potential in book three. However, rather than most of the focus being on just him, there was much more of a mix of viewpoints, which worked extremely well in such an action packed novel. The characters also felt more fleshed out, as though Ross felt more comfortable with them. Melcun, one of the main characters, is a great example of this due to how far he has come since book one. Another hugely note-able character is King Nadreth, leader of The Order of Maledict (basically the bad guy), who despite trying invade an entire continent in his gods name is actually very like-able. I felt this character had multiple different dimensions and a lot of depth to him due to his motivation for invading in his gods name. He didn’t feel like the usual “I want to destroy you because” but rather one motivated more by his love for his god, beliefs and people. I may find it difficult not to root for this guy…
The pacing of this book was a big improvement from the first book, so that I was consistently engrossed in the story. Ross added just enough descriptive language to immerse me in the world, but not to much to bog me down. As before, the writing is excellent and just makes all of his novels so much more enjoyable to read. I also particularly enjoyed the dialogue between the characters, making it feel much more natural and at times even funny.
Like Cold From the North, I highly recommend continuing this fantastic Nordic fantasy trilogy and finding out what book three has to offer. Be ready for lots of fast paced action and epic battles, like-able heroes and some pretty evil, yet also kind of like-able bad guys.