Science fiction and fantasy
by Lynn Flewelling
There's a certain amount of intrigue and a good helping of magical omens and visions presaging doom. We are left wondering where the loyalties of Thero, Nysander's apprentice, lie, and what big secret Nysander is keeping from everyone. Yet the story takes a fairly straightforward direction and it doesn't take a genius to work out where it's headed.
Lynn Flewelling's characterisation is very effective, so even when characters have stock roles to play you find yourself believing in them and caring about what happens to them. This is an entertaining and emotionally involving story against a fairly standard backdrop of magic, intrigue, and whacking people with swords. It crackles with gay sexual tension, but although that may be a niche taste the descriptions of sex are never too graphic. There's also a coming-of-age aspect to the tale as Alec learns more about himself and his heritage.
Although this is the second book in the Nightrunner series it isn't a middle-of-the-trilogy book in which very little happens. It ties up the events in Luck in the Shadows very neatly and reaches a satisfying finale. This is enjoyable escapist fantasy, absorbing fun that's not too dense or pretentious. Whilst it's not vastly off-the-wall or weird, it is just a little different. Stalking Darkness is a well-written story with characters who draw the reader into their intense world. Recommended.
If you like this, try:The Still by David Feintuch
Rodrigo is a young prince fighting to claim his kingdom in this fantasy of war and betrayal.
Review © Ros Jackson
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