This book was different from what I was expecting. With a title like ‘The Darkest Knight’, and a fearsome image of some Warhammer-esque Chaos Warrior-type on the front cover, I was expecting a super grim-dark slaughterfest.
And while it did have plenty of action, and it certainly didn’t spare the details when it came to the violence, it was more of a coming-of-age story of a young girl and an enigmatic mentor.
And it was all the better for it.
Kizzy is a barmaid, working in a rough tavern in the village of Silverton, Bumfuck Nowhere. Her life changes when the Fellestan army approaches, led by the dread Black Knight, a figure of pure evil who shows absolutely no mercy, slaughtering every man, woman and child in his path.
Rather than fleeing with the rest of her village, Kizzy chooses to stay and fight, trained by a mysterious old man, Eion, who despite his pleasant demeanor and advancing years, is very handy with bow and sword.
The book is short, the prose simple, the plot typical, bordering on stereotypical, but it doesn’t really suffer from these things. If you take it as it is – a simple coming-of-age with a smattering of violence set in a mediaeval-esque world – then you will be pleased. It reads like Young Adult fantasy, and I think it would be better aimed towards that market, but I picked this up thinking it was something it wasn’t and still found myself entertained. The characters are likeable, even if Kizzy herself is somewhat too stereotyped as a teenage girl, with boys firmly on her mind even with an advancing horde on the horizon. My particular favourite character was the surly cleric, Daniul, who has the power to heal the most grievous of wounds – if you have the coin.
I will warn, it doesn’t wrap up as neatly as one would hope for a first-in-series. The twist in the plot (which I shan’t reveal) isn’t thoroughly explained, and a fascinating and fun dervish of a warrior is introduced towards the end, only to be instantly forgotten about. But then, this is a FREE book, and free books tend to be tasters, there to whet your appetite.
And for free, it’s a fun way to waste a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon.