Gil Swanson has been struggling with PTSD for years after the death of his comrades.
When a mysterious woman from his past appears pleading for his help he jumps to her aid. Suddenly he finds himself in a epic battle between light and darkness..
I’ve been looking to update my library, and though I’ve some good ones through another group, I wanted to see about expanding my fantasy and sci-fi collections. So, when I encountered Mark on Facebook, I figured I’d give his work a chance. I’m so very glad I did.
In Darkness Awaits, there are several themes running under the surface that may not be immediately apparent. It starts off in the modern world, practically present day. It lets you get to know the main characters, and figure out that not everything is quite what it seems. Then Mark takes your hand with a gentle smile and warns you to buckle in, because things are about to get fun.
With the sharp turn into the fantastical, Mark has his work cut out for him. He has to build an entire new world while carrying the story forward without losing the momentum he’s developed. And he does this quite well. In fact, he adds to the momentum, letting the change in scene help develop the characters even further. Normally, I’d separate the world building from the character development critiques, but in this book, that is impossible. If either part has a flaw, it would have shown up in the other – and I never once felt a hiccup as the story progressed.
Past and present also wind up woven together – not because of flashbacks, but because of who the characters are. There is a depth to the characters that lets you feel their age, and the pool of skills they have to draw from. It peeks out from time to time to tempt and taunt you into forging out even further into the wilderness of the plot.
The pace starts off pretty sedate, but when Mark warns you to buckle up, he’s not joking. It’s similar to when you first get on that monster roller coaster at the theme park: it’s slow while you’re being chained upto the top of the first drop, and then it’s the breathtaking speed after that until you come to the final set of breaks that slow you down to return to the station. Nothing is rushed, but it comes at you fast as you turn the pages. I’m a fast reader, I know. I expected this book to take at least a couple of days to devour. I finished it in one sitting on a single night with enough time to get a comfortable amount of sleep before I had to get up for work the next day.
So, with all of that said, is it any surprise that I heartily give Mark five out of five stars for his captivating efforts? I almost can’t wait until I can get my hands on the second book in the series. It’s out already!
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