I received this book via Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor
Length: 165 pages
Reviewing eARC from Author
Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It's what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.
When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn't exactly what it seems. Kaylyn's new quest, harder than any she's been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.
My Initial Reaction to this Book:
So yeah, I’m torn on loving this book and being a tad confused. Ever Darkening is just that, an extremely dark and twisted fantasy adventure. What it essentially boils down to though is a story of good vs. evil and the natural balance of the world. Kaylyn is destined to bring an end to evil in her world, and when she defeats the last of the Malryx she finds herself a bit lost. Her whole life has been to destroy evil and now there isn’t any. Then a villager from a faraway village comes asking for help. A darkness has consumed his village and they don’t know how to defeat it. With a renewed sense of purpose Kaylyn and the other Zophas set out to help, but how do you stop nature?
I really liked the characters. Kaylyn is an unstoppable force of good. She’s a bit naive though in that she doesn’t question her charge to kill all Malryx. In fact she feels a sense of pride and accomplishment with each kill. It’s her sense of duty almost. She’s strong, she’s independent, and she ALWAYS puts others before herself. When things go wrong, she takes the blame whether it’s hers or not. Then there’s the other Zophas (warriors against the Malryx): Azleco, Felix, Sosha, Tavi, Marsa, and Jorrin. Marsa is Kaylyn’s best friend and adoptive sister as Marsa’s mother raised Kaylyn after her parents died at a young age. Marsa is a bit obsessed with Jorrin, Kaylyn’s other best friend. And when I say obsessed I mean she loves him and wants to have his baby obsessed. Jorrin though doesn’t seem to return the affection. Instead he focuses most of his attention on Kaylyn, creating a tenuous friendship between the three.
I also really enjoyed the main story, once I understood it 😉 The plot was slightly confusing to me. We are dropped into the end of a hundred-years war. The author doesn’t give much explanation about the Zophas or the Malryx other than that one is good and one is evil. What helps the plot and the book as a whole are the characters and the relationships that are established as the plot gears up for the return of evil.
I felt like the book dragged in parts though 🙁 There’s a short prologue setting up the convoluted love triangle among Kaylyn, Marsa, and Jorrin (which in all honestly let me predict the ending). Then it jumps 7 years and we see Kaylyn killing the last Malryx, lots of action and suspense. Unfortunately it just drops off after that. It’s almost as if the climax occurs at the very beginning and then we have to wait to reach a second climax, which doesn’t come until around 45% into the book. Foley, a messenger from a nearby village, comes asking the Zophas for help. A darkness has plagued their village, killing their animals and changing the forest. Kaylyn and the other Zophas answer his call and find that killing the Malryx has upset the natural balance of their world. To restore it, nature has turned evil.
Overall I DID enjoy the book. Kaylyn is a fun character and the whole nature is evil thing is a pretty cool concept. I could have done without the angsty love business though. I know it was necessary for the book, but really I just felt awful for the characters involved. This is a standalone novel, however I think if the author wants she could have more from this world featuring other Zophas. If you enjoy young adult fantasy with a little romance I highly suggest you check this book out.