Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Trade paperback: 384 pages
Release date: March 20th 2012
Series: Knight’s Curse #2
Reviewed by: Christine
“Betray your sisters or your lover. You choose.”
After the warrior she loves saved her from a murderous gargoyle, Chalice watched helplessly as Aydin turned into a gargoyle himself. Now, free from the curse that enslaved her, Chalice pledges to join her sister knights in The Order of the Hatchet—and do whatever it takes to regain Aydin’s humanity…and his love. What she encounters within their hallowed sanctuary is pure intrigue.
Someone—or something—is murdering her sisters in their sleep, provoking fear and suspicion among the order. Meanwhile, Aydin, unable to stay away, starts haunting Chalice’s dreams, urging her onward. Ultimately, Chalice will be faced with an agonizing choice—one that will tear away at her newfound identity and force her to choose between duty and desire.
Let me start this review by saying that I might not have noticed this series if it weren’t for the covers. I absolutely adore the cover for the two books that have already been released.
Darkest Knight is the second book in Karen Duvall’s A Knight’s Curse series and I wouldn’t recommend reading this book without having read the previous one. Not only would you miss out a whole lot of action and introduction into this world, I guess it would simply not be possible to follow Darkest Knight.
The book picks up right where the first one left the reader: Aydin is now a gargoyle, but somehow still human and Chalice tries to change him back into his human form by trying to get the heart of the gargoyle Aydin is/was bonded to. Only by eating this heart can Aydin regain his human form. It isn’t all about romance though, because when the house is attacked by the evil force and a squire called Xenia disappears with something very valuable to Chalice, she is determined to get her back and vanquish the danger threatening her family and the Order.
In Darkest Knight, Karen Duvall creates an incredibly complex world with intriguing characters. Chalice is a strong woman who is willing and capable of fighting for what and who she loves. I didn't really feel the romance between Aydin and her in the first book. However, after the events of this book, there is no doubt about the depth of his feelings for her. It was really heartbreaking to see how much both of them long to be together.
The other character I really felt for in this book is Rafael, Chalice’s guardian angel. His part in Darkest Knight seems almost like a cautionary tale for the saying “be careful what you wish for”. I´m really anxious to see how the relationship between him and Chalice will develop after the events of this book.
Personally, I thought the story arc about who was killing all the members of the Order of the Hatchet was slightly more gripping that Chalice´s quest to return Aydin to his human form. Some of the young squires are interesting characters I would like to meet again in future books. Xenia was my favorite among them. She was complex, very realistic in her behavior and you always had the feeling that she has an interesting story to tell.
I also have to admit that I would not have guessed who was behind all the killings in the end. Sure, one character was suspicious, but there was far more behind the murders that you would initially guess.
At the beginning, the pace of the story was a bit slow and I was slightly overwhelmed with the world building. The world with its different veils and dimensions, the complex structure of the Order with its squires, knights, gargoyles, guardian angels and Arelim is a lot to take in. But if you keep on reading, you’ll be rewarded by a thrilling and gripping tale, a touching romance, first class world building and characters you can relate to. There are also a lot of details in the book that make Karen Duvall’s world special. I mean, who would guess that the founder of the Order was a talking mummified head? I also especially liked all the charmed objects Chalice introduced to the young squires. The pen that makes you invisible kind of reminded me a little bit of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak! =)
While Darkest Knight might not be among my Top 10 books so far this year, it is definitely an intriguing read and worth checking out if you enjoy complex world building.
Phew, that review was pretty difficult to write. So much happened in Darkest Knight that I had a bit of a hard time to find the right words. Do you know that feeling? When a book is so overwhelming (in a good way) that you can hardly get your head straight?