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  1. #1

    "By Darkness Hid" by Jill Williamson

    Although I am a vivid ebook reader, I had always avoid those cheap $1-3 books that show up at the front of my amazon recommendation page. Very narrow minded I know, but I always assume that they are there at the forefront due to pricing rather than quality. I decided to give it a try, thinking that I would only lose out on 2-3 bucks at the most, but then I ended up buying the full trilogy within a few days of reading.

    I chose "By Darkness Hid" by Jill Williamson based on its popularity of the poll found on this website. Not only was I proven wrong about my price/quality theory, but the pages also just kept turning. By the time I knew it, I missed dinner, and it was 3 a.m.

    The story is based around 2 protagonists. The first introduced is a boy of unknown origin, branded as a "Stray", whom are treated even worse than slaves. As a stray, he was given the poorest of jobs and suffered many cruel circumstances. He lived a life without purpose until a Knight from the Kingsguard took notice of him and started to train him as a Squire. As things start to get better, the boy's master took notice of the situation. He ordered the Knight away, and punished the kid further by pairing him up with the insufferable prince. It was not until the boy was framed and forced to escape that his latent gift sprung forth marking him for what he truly is.

    The second is the daughter and heir to the Duchess of Carn who is disguised as a stray boy in hiding from a political marriage. Despite the Duchess' multiple rejectances to the marriage offer, she feared that the prince may take offense and strong-arm her with force, thus she send her daughter in disguise as a ward to a close friend. The daughter lived a happy life apprenticed to a healer midwife, until the council came to collect her after sensing her gift. Facing the impossible choice between revealing her identity and most likely be forcibly taken to the prince, or sell herself to a new master, she submitted herself to the new master while praying to her mother for help.

    At the behest of her new master, she was sent to apprehend the unknown boy who held unimaginable power, where she found him injured and falsely framed. Admired by his courage and integrity, yet powerless to help, she once again found herself at impossible odds.

    The characterization was very well done. Both the protagonists are flawed in ways that are believable and highly expected. The children are shown as children, and their naivety are shown at every step of the way. The adults are also portrayed as adults whom are often forgetful of the age of their charges. This often leads to many humorous situation. The fact that the girl kept her disguise also added to the situation. As they grow closer, the boy loved the girl as a brother, and the girl couldn't help but be annoyed when girls are swooning after the charming handsome him. Before she know it, it was already too late to say anything. And her admittance would only be nothing but one more betrayal to boy's long history of suffering.

    The book is considered a Christian novel, but it did not bother me too much. I found the story pleasant and the whole faith thing not too overly done. I have finished the first two out of three, and looking forward to reading the rest. I highly recommend this book, and you can get it on your ereader for only $3!!!

  2. #2
    sapper-in-chief Whiskeyjack's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Western Honduras
    I also read this book about a year ago and agree with your assessment of its quality. There is a definite religious motivation to some of the actions by the protagonists, but such is commonly found in many other fantasy stories with a well-developed secondary world. I'd agree that the religion portrayed has a definite "Christianity" feel to it (as compared to the religions found in most other fantasies), though the book never comes across as "preachy" or self-righteous. This book would be an especially nice choice for a younger/teenage reader, since there's nothing in it that would be objectionable to most parents.

  3. #3
    Registered User JustaStaffer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Washington DC
    I read the first two books. The first novel wasn't so overt with the Christian themes. I got way worse in the second book and I couldn't pick up the third as a result.

  4. #4
    I read the first two books as well and enjoyed them a lot. I have the third now and will be reading it soon.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    what's crazy is the fact that I've never even heard of this series. It sounds a bit interesting. Any idea if they were treated to decent print runs - i really hate going kindle mode to be honest. Like to hold that paper lol

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