Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Land of Darkness by C.S. Lakin

Jadiel is a young 12 year old girl who loves her father and misses her mother, who died the year before. On top of grief for her mother she has to deal with her new step-mother, Huldah, and her two daughters. Huldah quickly feels the need to put Jadiel in her place making her do difficult house chores. Still the witch, Huldah, doesn’t like Jadiel taking up time with her new husband and his wealthy estate. To get rid of this nuisance she devises ways to kill young Jadiel. After a couple attempts Huldah comes up with an impossible mission; find the Tree of Youth and bring back a satchel full of its leaves. If she doesn’t Jadiel’s beloved father will die at the next full moon.
Only thing is… no one knows where this tree is, or if it even exists. 
Callen, a young carpenter discovers some old drawings of a bridge, a magnificent bridge, unfortunately no one knows who made it. Determined to find this bridge and learn of it’s creator Callen takes leave of his apprenticeship to find it.
Only thing is… no one knows where this bridge is, or if it even exists. 
These two seekers find each other on the road, Callen fearing for the young girls safety (Who just happens to be his apprentor’s niece.) Offers to help Jadiel with her mission to save her father. Traveling across the land they learn of the bridge’s creator, the Tree of Youth and so much more.

Once again I was entrapped in the wondrous realm of Sherbourne and it's surrounding lands. The hidden magic the world holds and the innuendoes to the previous 2 books — The Wolf of Tebron and The Map Across Time, in the Gates of Heaven Series by C.S. Lakin — had me feeling at with home with The Land of Darkness.

The speed of this tale is one of Lakin's best. The Land of Darkness starts out a bit slow and cumbersome but when I reached part two I was having trouble putting this adventure down. I was blown away at how easily Lakin places facts and stories from other books of the Gates of Heaven series in her stories yet they can be read as stand alone novels. Seeing references to Adian, Tebron and other things would just make me smile.
Now the main tale is about Jadiel and her conflict with Huldah. But Callen had his own villain stalking him a Golgoth, the dark creature from another world that can kill armies in a matter of days. This added a great twist and suspense to the plot, giving it a more grown up feel to your normal fairy tale yet keeping it very friendly for younger readers.
C.S. Lakin also did a wonderful job of laying the mood of the story and scenes. Many times I would find myself holding my breath hoping Callen wouldn’t open the door or wanting to jump for joy when Jadiel was freed from the slavers.  At other times I was irritated at the characters for not understanding, or practically yelling at them trying to tell them to believe.
The characters in this book had as much personality as the other books in this series. From talking boars and frogs, to the strange man constantly speaking in riddles.

I enjoyed this book and am extremely thankful to C.S. Lakin for giving me an advanced copy of her latest tale.