Now that Gil Swanson has joined the elite ranks
of the Valkyries the mystery of Malice deepens.
He finds that this conflict has been raging for
centuries and their enemy Malice is an evil
from the ancient world.
A malignant force who will stop at nothing to
have her revenge. Now Gil stands on the threshold
of Ghost Mountain with the fate of
two worlds hanging in the balance…
Mark has done it again. A little bit of romance, a lot a bit of action, and a touch of intrigue to weave you into the story so deep I had trouble putting it down after I started.
With a combination of modern day and Norse Mythology, Mark does a great job building his world with a depth and clarity that carries you right into the story without bothering to advise anyone to buckle up. And, if you don’t, the ride might be a little too thrilling.
This is definitely a character driven story, and so with a large cast front and center is is imperative that each is as unique and distinct as people around you are. Mark has the touch, and knack, to do just that. Not only are the cast from the first installment of the series developed even further, there are a few new characters brought in who are given just as much attention, though not as much time in the spot light.
A good example, since Mark is nice enough to hang this one out to lure you in, is Gil. Though he is well developed, and shows tremendous depth in the first book, in this installment, entire new vistas of is personality and psyche are revealed. Some due to his new status, some due to who he was before, and some of it is just because that is who he is to begin with. Rarely have I seen characters developed so well, or so thoroughly. At least, fictional ones. The rest of the main cast that we’ve met before receive the same careful and considerate development as well. All without the action getting bogged down or the momentum being destroyed by long stretches of exposition.
The pace of the story is actually accented by the way the characters are developed, rather than the development accenting the pace. There are a few places where things slow a touch – poignant scenes when things need to slow down for the reader to assimilate what just happened. No, I’m not going to reveal anything – I’ll let you discover it fresh as you read through. But, the story has enough twists, turns, and loops to make just about any physical roller coaster green with envy.
Though this is part of a series, and reading the books in order is recommended, I think it is well enough defined with its own beginning, middle, and end, that if you haven’t discovered the first book “Valkyrie: Darkness Awaits” you can still follow along. (And I would highly recommend reading Darkness Awaits as well. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!)
Once I was brought back to reality by the end of “Darkness Rising” I actually paused to look around and wonder what had happened. Mark DOES bring you back gently, but the story manages to linger a while longer.
Overall, I would say this is a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. It almost makes me wish I used a wider scale, because I think this one is actually off the charts!
If you would like to see what all the fuss is about, Here is the link to Amazon where you can pick up your copy. Definitely recommended for anyone who enjoys a well developed fantasy story that has a little bit of just about everything that makes a story fun to read.
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