Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro
Ean Sangrave’s friends are gone.
At least, his human ones are.
Zin, as always, is by his side. Years of advice and getting Ean out of trouble has earned him the title of Ean’s closest friend, joining them now is Azalea the Yulari, another creature from the Abyss that feeds off the emotions of her victims to the point of death. Summoned in a moment of jealousy, Azalea would have killed Ean’s friends if he had not stopped her in time. So how do Bran and Jaslen pay him back for saving their lives? By running off with all of their supplies, leaving Ean with his imp and a fragile alliance with an alluring but deadly Yulari.
Ean is now at a crossroads. Does he continue the quest originally placed on him and his friends to find a way to save Rottwealth from the monster that has taken over the mine? Or does he follow the advice of his companions from the Abyss and learn to control his growing power? The Healer’s apprentice inside of him hopes to somehow do both.
Regardless of which quest he ultimately decides to follow, its Ean’s inner turmoil that worries him the most. The dark power of the Abyss is spreading through his body at an alarming rate. The tattoos that represent the power continue to grow across his body while dark dreams invade his mind. Can he hold off the darkness growing inside of him, or will Ean give in to the power and become the tyrant he has feared?
In Descent into Darkness, the reader picks up exactly where book one, Bound to the Abyss, ends. Ean is left behind by Bran and Jaslen, with only the power of his tattoos to fend for himself. As the story progresses, Ean meets new people that help him realize that there is more to Rottwealth than what he has known all of his life. The author takes our healer on the road trip adventure of his life, discovering that there are humans and creatures whom he can trust on and those whom he should stay away from. Ean’s magical world is mysterious and dangerously alike.
Author James R. Vernon delivered, once more, a story I have become fond of, especially knowing how much of an effort he puts in creating a world as big as this one. Not to mention all of the terms he has created, to which I still have trouble remembering the villages our group made stops in. This time around, Ean, finds himself more alone than ever in Descent into Darkness. He does have Zin and Azalea to accompany him, but he had to do most of the hard work to get to the Deadlands, while the abyss creatures stayed elsewhere being more mysterious than ever. I like that he is a straight forward character, brave enough to get himself out of trouble or uncomfortable situations. He has definitely come to accept his connection to the abyss and the path that is being planned out for him.
“I’m just getting used to the thing speaking in my head.”
Azalea, the Yulari, is one of the first, new characters, introduced to the story. She is a creature, summoned from the abyss, and plays a key role as Ean travels throughout the book to the Deadlands in search for Zin’s previous master’s lair. She is a character I just couldn’t know if to trust or not. Most of the book she is a mystery even to Ean; she spends her time roaming around among the humans whose emotions she feeds from and always is right to find Ean the toughest jobs for a healer to do. Eventually, Azalea, makes her great appearance, and she is proven to be a better companion than Jaslen. This is where I’m thankful the author kept Azalea’s best contribution for the last, otherwise, I would have gotten tired of her demeanor. She is a character that definitely grew and changed during this long road trip into a better one.
“I certainly like the idea of enslaving the world.”
Zin is a character that one can’t help but like. He might be an imp trying to survive and not get sent back to the abyss, but he stayed loyal to Ean until the end, and becomes quite humorous. He has a friend or foe relationship with Azalea, and doesn’t trust her kind at the beginning, but when they are left on their own he even takes consideration of Azalea’s condition. This makes Zin and Azalea better companions for Ean than the previous ones, and a great team to work with.
“Maybe it’s got attachment issues. Or maybe Azalea has already rubbed off on it.”
I do have to say, that at a certain point of the story our group forgets the main reason why they were set out to find a way to save Ean’s village from the lizard monster, becoming more involved with a different agenda. I feel that this book is more of a character and story development. Ean encounters people, throughout the trip that give him more information about the mystery surrounding Rottwealth, the gods, Zin’s former master, the Deadland, and alike. The most interesting part is at the end, in a somewhat cliffhanger full of questions.
How did Rottwealth’s monster get defeated? What happened to Jaslen and Bran on their way back to Rottwealth? What exactly is Sadiek? Good thing there’s two more books to wait for in the series, in which readers will hopefully get an in depth look to some unanswered questions and maybe a link to the short stories from The Three Moons Realm. All in all, Descent into Darkness, is a good sequel to Bound to the Abyss, which takes the reader into a world of magic and darkness. If you like fantasy this is a book for you.