The Dark Heart of Redemption by Darran M Handshaw SPFBO 9 REVIEW

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This was one of those books I picked up from Kristen so I didn’t read it until recently. I’ve had another book by this author on my TBR since forever so I was stoked to get to this one.

So, this opens with a giant glossary and a synopsis of what happened in the last book. So, I was a little anxious seeing that right up front. Although the contest does allow for “book 2s” they need to be utterly stand alone to make sense and do well. Soemtimes they can, I would argue that all of Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series are sufficiently stand alone. What makes them work is that the events and characters in that series are largely unrelated to one another, just set in the same world. There aren’t many stand alone books that have a synopsis of what happened in the last book because that implies you need to know what happened in the last book to understand this one. I was a little wary but I wanted to give it a shot.

As a reader you’re dropped into a large scale battle and I’ll be honest, I had no idea what was going on. A lot of battle though, lol. I would not say this is one of those “bloodless battles” it has a decent amount of blood and violence, “darkness” if you will — which shouldn’t be surprising given the title.

I liked the magic system/world building elements in this which is kind of like a sci-fantasy which you can probably pick up from the cover. There’s a lot of testing of different artefacts and things that behave like technology, like an ear piece this husband and wife wear to communicate with each other.

I read about 150-160 pages before feeling like I was just missing too much. Although I liked the characters okay, I felt like I was missing something in the relationships between them. There were references or things that just felt off or flat or “off hand” which probably has a lot more meaning. So, although I have no particular qualms with the characters I did feel like I was “missing something.” This theme followed me throughout all the aspects of the story from the character relationships and motivations to plot points to world building elements. Although I was getting enough to technically understand what was in front of me I often felt like i was riding on an iceberg without looking down.

Based on that, it’ll be a cut, but I do want to emphasize that I found this interesting enough to go back and I’m going to try and squeeze in The Engineer which I think really is a Book 1 in this series.