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Review: Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat

on September 28, 2021

Dark Rise (Dark Rise #1)
C.S. Pacat
Allen & Unwin
2021, 464p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}: The ancient world of magic is no more. Its heroes are dead, its halls are ruins, and its great battles between Light and Dark are forgotten. Only the Stewards remember, and they keep their centuries-long vigil, sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns.

Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. When an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight beside the Stewards, Will is ushered into a world of magic, where he must train to play a vital role in the oncoming battle against the Dark.

As London is threatened by the Dark King’s return, the reborn heroes and villains of a long-forgotten war begin to draw battle lines. But as the young descendants of Light and Dark step into their destined roles, old allegiances, old enmities and old flames are awakened. Will must stand with the last heroes of the Light to prevent the fate that destroyed their world from returning to destroy his own.

I was very excited when I saw this book was coming out because I really loved the Captive Prince trilogy – much more than I anticipated when I picked up the first book. I found it really addictive and the story of Damianos and Laurent so compelling and the backdrop of political intrigue and war was so well done. For fans of that series, I think you are really going to enjoy this one.

The setting is a little more familiar to readers, being London although in the 1800s. It’s a world where magic once was but is no longer, for the most part. There was a great battle previously, between a Dark King and the Lady – a very good vs evil type of battle but now, some of the players are about to rise again. Someone seeks to raise the Dark King and are looking to completely exterminate anyone who has the blood of the Lady.

Will is a teenager who remembers spending years on the run with his mother. He is told to seek out an order who will protect him and it isn’t just protection he finds but friendship and knowledge. Will is preparing for an epic fight, to be able to defeat those that seek to raise the Dark King – and possibly the Dark King himself, should they fail. It’s the sort of fight where they seem hopelessly outnumbered and there are twists and turns in the plot that flip everything you think you know upside down.

Anyone who has read Captive Prince knows that C.S. Pacat is a master of the slow burn and this looks to be no exception. This book contains mostly set up – introducing the reader to their key characters and planting some small seeds to build the anticipation and expectation for what we know will be coming and I am so here for it. I am a big fan of the slow burn, the building of intensity and feelings until the tension basically snaps. I can’t wait to see how things develop with this part of the story because it just has so much potential.

Will has spent so much of his time on the run that he basically hardly knows anything at the beginning of the book, only that he is running from people who want to kill him, the same people that killed his mother. So Will is on a journey of discovery and at the place of refuge, he basically learns about the battle that book place, the Dark vs Light and the plan to raise the Dark King again as the reader does. The world building is good in that it gives the reader time to settle into the timeframe and the parts of the world that are “regular” that C.S. Pacat has chosen before she infuses it with fantasy and magic and potential battles that could destroy humanity. I had a huge amount of interest in the time where the previous battle took place and I feel like there’s a lot of that time period which could still be explored in much more detail in future books. Particularly after the twist at the end of the book, which definitely isn’t entirely unexpected but still flips the main trope in this book on its head. This world could be so richly detailed and I’ve no doubt that it will be expanded upon and delved into, history wise in future books and I’m really looking forward to seeing that development – the development of everything because I know just how much things will evolve and move forward and it will be glorious. Inject this slow burn into my veins.

I also really enjoyed some of the other characters – not really going to say minor as one was a POV character and one is definitely going to evolve into main character status. A little word of advice though – don’t really get attached to anyone in this book. Things….happen.

An excellent start to the series and I am super keen for book 2.

9/10

Book #169 of 2021

Dark Rise is book #73 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2021


One response to “Review: Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat

  1. great review!! i’m glad you enjoyed this one

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