Darknesses: Not great but solid and well-paced

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Darknesses The Corean ChroniclesDarknesses by L.E. Modesitt Jr

First off, though this does stand as in independent story in what is called THE COREAN CHRONICLES, it will make a lot more sense to you and you’ll be a lot more invested in the characters if you read the first book ahead of time. Darknesses returns to the same main character, Alucius, who remains as in the first a reluctant soldier caught up in battles and politics he’d rather not wage, preferring to set down his sword and his strange Talent and return home to be a herder with his new wife. This book roams further afield than the first book as Alucius is sent to various locales (helps to periodically check the map to keep all his travels and the stratagems behind them straight) and involves more characters, which helps prevent it from feeling stale.

As in the first, the world and especially the military world is presented in a gritty realism and while there is a lot of detail regarding troop movement etc., Modesitt is careful not to let it overwhelm the story or bog it down. It’s a smoothly paced book throughout, helped by the many quick shifts of character and setting. Some of the side characters are given short shrift, but Modesitt does a nice job with the one ruler he focuses most on, giving us a seemingly full sense of character but in a nice deft touch, without revealing to us whether he will turn out friend or foe to Alucius.

Problems with the book are minor though distracting: The major villains of the story (as opposed to the many smaller ones) are introduced a bit too abruptly and through too much exposition as opposed through the natural flow of action and dialogue. There is a bit too much deus ex machina intertwined with that story line as well. The jumps back to his herder homestead are somewhat perfunctory. And some of Alucius’ actions and dialogue started to feel a bit repetitive, such as his many protests (clearly unbelieved by most he protested to) that he is just a normal guy doing his job.

The Corean Chronicles by L.E. Modesitt JrOverall though, it’s an enjoyable read which expands on the first book and leaves some clear openings as well for future material. It won’t wow you, but you’ll have a good time.

~Bill Capossere


book review Darknesses The Corean ChroniclesTantor Audio released the audiobook version on October 28, 2014. Kyle McCarley narrates Darknesses which is 18.5 hours long. Mr McCarley uses a slightly nasal tone for Alucius and he distinguishes the characters by giving them different accents that don’t seem likely (using an English accent for some, a thick German accent for others), but it does differentiate the characters effectively (if improbably) and the pacing is nice. I agree with Bill’s review of the story and I have no problem recommending Darknesses in audio format. 

~Kat Hooper


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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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