Author: Ciara Knight
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
I received this book via Lady Amber's Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Series: The Shrouded Kingdoms,
Published by Defy the Dark on 2016-01-19
Length: 195 pages
Reviewing eARC from Lady Amber's Book Tours
The fog of the High Gods choke Marseha’s Kingdom, forcing her to yield to their demands. She is ordered to ensnare a man she once loved and return him to the Elders of Dargon. There he will face an eternity of suffering for his sins.
Saldor trains his men to fight the evil magic that enslaves the people of Dargon, the eastern kingdom. He prepares for war until the woman he was sworn to marry before the days of enslavement, returns from the dead. She convinces him that the only threat to Dargon is his army, but when magical beasts attack, he suspects his true love of treachery.
The Secrets of Dargon by Ciara Knight takes The Shrouded Kingdoms series to a whole new level! In the first book I felt like the world-building was lacking as it was more focused on the romance between Arianna and Tardon. In THIS book however, while there is still some focus on romance between Saldor and Marseha, the author focuses a lot on the world-building and fantasy elements of the story.
We first met Saldor in The Curse of Gremdon, he was the Elder’s lackey, ruler of dungeon and ultimately Arianna’s friend. I honestly shipped the two a bit! Saldor is kind, gentle and wise beyond his years. He lost everyone when the Elders invaded Gremdon and the curse took over, including his fiancé Marseha. He’s never loved another and holds on to the possibility that she lives in another kingdom. He’s fiercely loyal to his friends, but he’s lonely and my heart broke for him over and over again.
Marseha is just one of the new characters introduced to the series in this story and she also happens to be the other main character (POV flips between her and Saldor throughout the book). To be honest I wasn’t really sure how to feel about her. She is the Queen’s apprentice and a powerful witch. She ran from Gremdon when she was marked so as not to face the fires, but not a day goes by that she doesn’t think about Saldor and what she left behind. She’s bitter, untrusting, and very secretive. Yet I felt for her as I did Saldor.
As I’ve already stated the plot really focuses on the world-building of the series. In this book, we find out a lot more about the Elders, why they are there, and how to stop them. Saldor is angry at the onset of the book. Gremdon is content to leave the other kingdoms to the fate of the Elders, believing that they are safe. Obviously after all Saldor did for the Elders, he wants to help the other kingdoms to atone for his past. It’s in this struggle with the new council that he finds his way to Dargon and back into Marseha’s arms. She is looking for a warrior, a warrior strong enough to close the portal the Elders are trying to open. Can they do it together or will their secrets come between them? I’ve said it many times, if characters would learn to communicate we wouldn’t have books 😉
Overall I enjoyed this story. Saldor is probably my favorite character of the series and seeing all that he goes through in the first book with Arianna and Tardon made me excited to read his story. The fantasy is present in this book much more than the first and for all you romance lovers out there, there’s that too! Ciara Knight does a great job of balancing the two this time. If you enjoy paranormal romance and fantasy, I highly recommend you check this one out!
Scolding breath escaped Marseha’s lungs. Nightmares clouded her vision. She couldn’t talk, couldn’t see, couldn’t feel, but she knew. Knew that Saldor lived. For that she would fight beyond this Elders’ curse.
“Please, you must be well.” Risme’s soft voice flittered through the screams of her people now fading from her consciousness.
“It cannot be,” a deep voice sounded. His voice.
Coughing to clear the ashen smoke from the back of her throat, she answered, but no sound passed her lips. Sadness wept from her soul. Not her own sadness, but something of another realm. Thick, frightening, deathly, a bone-crunching energy pummeled her, Elders and witches both fighting within for control.
“Come back to me,” Risme whispered into her ear, an echo of promise if she survived the war within.
“I have never witnessed such a reaction to the amulet’s removal,” a male voice said.
If the Elders and the Veiled Queen continued their battle, she’d be nothing but dust. Ancestors, I summon you. Break me from this madness.
A storm’s wind blew through her, hurling the control of others from her body. With a heave of breath, the madness went silent and her eyes saw beyond the dark mist. To a God. No, a man. A man with thick dark hair, brown eyes, full lips and the strength of a warrior. “Saldor?” she choked.
“Yes. Yes, it is me.” He remained a distance away, on his knees, his hands in his hair. His torn clothing revealed snatches of a man’s body, arms that she’d longed to feel around her for an eternity. No longer was he the boy she once knew.