The day the lands of the Rhen feared has come. The people of the Darklands are massing on their borders, ready to invade. And this time, leading them is Darien Lauchlin, the man responsible for stopping the last attempted invasion.
Darkrise continues Darien’s story as he tries to unite the people of the Darklands, many of whom still see him as the mage who destroyed their army two years before and would happily see him dead. At the same time, he has to contend with his former allies planning ways to trap him and his new allies turning him into a weapon, no matter what it costs him.
The Rhenwars series has never been simple fantasy but as the invasion draws closer, each book has become gradually darker. There are plenty of conflicts, with several of the supposedly righteous characters showing themselves to be just as ruthless as the ones they decry as monsters. There are also enough gruesome moments to satisfy most grimdark fans, with the standout being Darien’s lesson in how to become a Battlemage.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Quinlan Rais serves to levy some of the darkness as he embarks on his own quest to find a way to forestall matters. As in Darklands, his self-deprecation and sarcasm is a welcome relief from some of the more serious characters.
Obviously, since this is the third book (and there has to be a fourth or Ms. Spencer and I will have words), I recommend reading both Darkmage and Darklands before this one. But then I’d highly recommend reading all of them anyway.