“Revenge is not for the faint of heart..”
“From the Darkness Comes”, Book One in the “Darkness in the Midst” fantasy series, by Joy Demers, is a grimdark tale of a re-animated woman on a quest for revenge that has unintended and weighty consequences. It was a well-written book that I enjoyed, and fans of fast-paced read with plenty of action sequences will definitely enjoy.
The protagonist is Cadda ni Caridos, a woman on a mission to avenge her slain father. Forces of a powerful noblemen raided Cadda’s village, driven most of her clan off, put many of its inhabitants to the sword, including HER and her father, and kidnapped her mother, forcing her into servitude. Cadda comes back from the dead, however, infused with abnormal abilities, such as enhanced strength, speed, and vision. It appears that the same nobleman responsible for the carnage at her village imbued her with her new powers, however she doesn’t know for what purpose. Cadda sets off to exact vengeance on the nobleman and rescue her mother. Enroute, she saves a band of travellers from certain death, and befriends some of those she rescues, including a young woman named Matty. In time she arrives in the stronghold of King Esmond of Ledonia, where the nobleman she seeks, Lord Kenric, is highly influential with the king. While trying to gain access to Kenric, Cadda causes mayhem and death, and is captured and prosecuted for slaying soldiers. Matty is deemed to be an accomplice, and the two accused women are given an ultimatum: join the army, or die. They chose life and forced conscription, and the adventure ramps up even higher after this juncture of the story.
The prose and plot are straightforward and easy to digest. Demers spins an intriguing tale, with plenty of fight sequences, heart-warming camaraderie, roguish figures, mysterious goddesses, and of course the vengeful, broken Cadda and her eerie glowing eyes, as she is relentless in her pursuit of vengeance and to discover her mother’s whereabouts. The worldbuilding was fairly subtle, and for my tastes I wanted to delve in a bit more into the various settings and cultures, however it was overall well-done. The best thing about the book for me was Cadda, because I love those protagonists with lots of blemishes. Cadda’s judgement does not always appear sound, and she is very driven, and sometimes appearing myopic in her quest. Yet, she is a fascinating character and she really carries the novel.
There is a prequel to “From the Darkness Comes” called “Awakening” and I wish I would have read that book first, to find out more about Cadda’s backstory. I will read “Awakening” as well, and the rest of the “Darkness in the Midst” series by Demers – definitely recommended. I can’t wait to see how Cadda will find her way forward from the explosive ending of “From the Darkness Comes”! 4 out of 5 stars! Very good read!