Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Starblade Chronicles
Source: eGalley from NetGalley
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got an eGalley of this book to review from NetGalley. This was a well done continuation of Tom’s Ward’s story, which started in The Last Apprentice series and consisted of thirteen books. A New Darkness is the first book in The Starblade Chronicles which is a planned trilogy. I really enjoyed some of the new characters introduced. I would definitely recommend reading The Last Apprentice series before this one, A New Darkness builds heavily on events started in The Last Apprentice series.
This book picks up a few months after the last book left off. Tom is trying to make a living as the Chippendale Spook. A girl named Jenny comes and wants to be his apprentice, she claims to be the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. Tom is reluctant to take her on as an apprentice but when Jenny gets captured by a creature unlike any Tom has fought before he ends up reconsidering.
Tom thinks that the new monster he ran into must be part of the Kobalos, an all male race of monsters that we were introduced to in the eleventh book of The Last Apprentice series, Slither. He sends a message to Grimalkin and she confirms his suspicions. Now they must journey deep in Kobalos territory to determine how much of a threat the Kobalos are to the County and the rest of humanity.
This was a well done novel. The addition of the character of Jenny added a lot to the story. She is very determined, spunky, positive, and comes with her own interesting set of abilities.
Grimalkin is also in the story quite a bit, and as usual her motives seem to be her own. Tom has taken some hard knocks and is a bit downtrodden throughout the book, however we see even more of his lamia abilities surfacing in this book and I enjoyed that. Alice is mentioned but not really in the story much at all, I hope we see some of her in future books.
There is quite a bit of action throughout. I thought the gore and violence was a bit heavier in this book than in the earlier Last Apprentice books. There were a lot of parts where I went “Eww, gross”.
I am not sure if the final book will have illustration throughout (as The Last Apprentice series did). I read this as an eARC and there were no illustrations in the eARC. As mentioned above I would definitely recommend reading The Last Apprentice series before reading this one, this planned three book series really builds on the events that happened in that series.
The largest disappointment for me was that this book ended on a horrible cliffhanger, I am not a fan of cliffhangers and don’t like when authors use them to keep readers reading their books. I would rather read a book because I like the story and writing style than because I am dying to know how a cliffhanger is resolved.
Overall I really enjoyed reading about these characters again and enjoyed the new threat that they faced. The writing style is very similar to The Last Apprentice series, but a bit heavier on gore. I would recommend this series to fans of the Last Apprentice series and fans of dark fantasy.