Read Darkspell by Katharine Kerr Online


In this sequel to her first novel, "Daggerspell", the author returns to the extraordinary world of Deverry and to the three enchanting characters whose poignant love transcends the boundaries of time and even death....

Title : Darkspell
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780586200797
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 476 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Darkspell Reviews

  • Shel
    2019-04-07 19:53

    Just as entertaining a tale as the first book, but I had to knock off a star for the blatant homophobia. Sigh.

  • Penelope Green
    2019-03-30 18:01

    Re-read after several years away and it's held up really well. Again, I get irritated when the change of storyline happens but one quickly gets sucked into the new storyline and cranky when you have abandon that one later on.The pseudo-celtic setting is well constructed and unlike many tales, does not stay totally static over the 400 years the story tells.Reading with fresh eyes, there is a little homophobia creeping through but that might be the era of books and trying to anticipate the moral outlook of an essentially medieval setting. (Gender politics also suffers from this but not too badly - there are multiple female characters with agency and brains which is not always true of fantasy from the 80s.)But I accidentally stayed up well past bedtime on a re-read which seems a pretty good endorsement.

  • Peat
    2019-04-21 20:42

    Not a huge amount to say. I love the setting, I love the characters. I even love the strange mish-mash Deverry accent. If I have a criticism, its the plot is a little disjointed. It feels more like a series of vignettes than something with a beginning, a middle and an ending - and if there is a plot, its actually the bad guys', with the main characters just riding along for giggles. I like vignettes, so I'm okay, but cohesive plot demanders beware.One point - I've seen a lot of other reviews talking about the homophobia. Well, they've got a point, but I don't think the book itself is homophobic. Depicting a homophobic society? Yes, but I don't think they're shown to be right. Maybe not shown to be wrong either, mind. Are there homosexual predators? Yes. But - and here's the rub for me - the whole damn series is about the messes caused by dysfunctional sexuality. Katherine Kerr goes to that well time and time again. As such to me, its not saying "All homosexuals are this", any more than its saying "All close knit families are incestuous". But YMMV.

  • Beth
    2019-03-21 18:38

    Darkspell is the second in a multiple-book series, and, much like the book itself does, this review will presume some knowledge of the series' first book, Daggerspell. I'll do my best to skirt around spoilers for Darkspell itself.Darkspell continues the interlacing episodes of Daggerspell between the centuries-distant past and the "present" of the story in Deverry of the 11th century. The past segments are set in the 8th century this time around.I'll get the gripes about this particular book in the series out of the way first. A lot of the 11th century sections did nothing for me. It's hard to say if it's just a current frame of mind, or one that will last quite a bit longer, but I don't have a lot of patience for scenes of youthful badasses at battle, or a story's major conflict being between Good and Evil, or the major goal being possession of a magical doodad. The 11th-century sections have all of these elements, such that I was bored through much of the last half of Darkspell.The presentation of the evil characters, the wielders of dark dweomer, was especially over-the-top. It isn't enough that they wield dark magic--they also drink blood, create zombies, and are major players in the opium trade in Deverry. One of the two central characters on the evil side is a pederast. The two psychically and physically rape a captive to add power to their magic. Whose side are we expected to be on, here, and which side will win the mystical battle at the end? I wonder. While I'm normally happy to see LGBT characters in a novel, their only representative being also representative of capital-E Evil in this book wasn't great, to say the least. It was written in the '80s, but still... but still.Moving on. In Darkspell's case, and of the book I read previous to this one, it was important to me that the book have a good ending, that the author stick the landing after long patches of flagging interest. I'm happy to say that Darkspell delivered wonderfully. One of the "evil" characters meets the end he has coming, and that end fits both the setting's value of honor, and a motif or theme that is hugely important to the series as a whole.The 8th century sections were far better for me, overall. At one point, perhaps inspired by my reading of Deverry: Three Tales, I thought to myself that this part of the novel would work just fine on its own, and immediately changed my mind: without the previous tragedies in Daggerspell, and without the ongoing improving hopes of the characters' wyrds in the main body of these novels, this section wouldn't be anywhere near as powerful.Cullyn's previous incarnation, Dannyn, was my favorite character in this section. He's my favorite in the 11th century, and you don't see much of him in the "present," and that could have something to do with Dannyn's appeal for me, but there's also his loyalty to his brother. It's a redemptive streak that prevails even when he is driven to do something unforgivable. (That act is also a point of similarity or resonance with an evil character mentioned previously, in kind if not in degree.) Mael, a new character introduced during this sequence, was another favorite, with a quiet arc and nice ending of his own. Rhodry and Jill go through a cycle here, too, of course, and I'll leave you to discover how that plays out.It takes a lot, and I mean a lot, for me to say I love a series, for my internal critic to sit down and shut up for a minute and let me just enjoy something without its interference. Daggerspell completely broke down these defenses, and while Darkspell didn't have quite the same impact, whether due to its being a second book or to the failings I perceive in it, Deverry's marvelous braid of present and past; of background detail, character and theme; of tragedy and hope, takes me as close as I'll ever get to declaring love. Occasional prickly disagreement and all.

  • Rhod Chang
    2019-04-21 18:42

    To be honest, I like the old, unrevised version better. My guess is that Kerr edited it so that it wasn't quite so negative about homosexuality -- incest in the first book! pedophilia and gay rape in the second. But I liked the family connection, and I love the complexity of Sarcyn's character. And I really, really, really do love the story of Lady Gweniver in the Time of Troubles. When I started re-reading the series, I squealed when I realized the reference back -- remember in Daggerspell when Jill starts trying to convince her father about women warriors? Lady Gweniver, and she was only back in the time of the troubles. <33333

  • Helen
    2019-04-17 15:57

    This was quite difficult to read for two reasons. Firstly, the formatting was off and I'd be flung out of the story by sentences that didn't make sense only to realize that a letter was wrong (rite becoming lite, some pure random words thrown in that made no sense e.g. ro instead of to). Secondly, the dialogue didn't feel natural to me, it felt like modern upper-class English which didn't match the setting. I did love the Welsh sounding words, given I'm Welsh.Rhodry came across as a sword-wielding loon at times which was hard given he's a main character. As usual Nevyn was interesting.2.5 rounded up

  • Suz
    2019-04-08 17:58

    It was interminable for about 85% of the book. I am not amused with the timeline jumping to show the reincarnations of the characters. The last 10 to 15% of the book made significant head way in opening up the long arc and the world, but for me it was too little too late.I may return to this series at some point just to see if it improves in subsequent books. It's much loved by a lot of people. But I'm not very motivated for it right now.***********How can there not be any audiobooks of this on Goodreads?

  • Nerine Dorman
    2019-04-18 18:41

    We continue our journey with Nevyn as he comes up against the sinister Old One – a dark dweomer master who has sent his operatives into Deverry to steal a magical jewel and sow dissent. Of course Jill and Rhodry soon find themselves entangled in the plot, and Katherine Kerr also takes us on a secondary journey to examine more of our central characters’ past lives, and how these influence current events.The template of the warrior-maiden seems to be cast for Jill, only in her past life we get to know her as a priestess in service of the Moon Goddess’s dark phase. Events unfold that have definitive repercussions much later, as the souls bound by a shared wyrd seem fated to re-enact certain patterns until they’ve worked out their issues. Of course the outcomes are never quite the same, but there is always an undercurrent of tragedy.New characters include Rhodry’s father, who is one of the Elcyion Lacar, or elvish folk, and also Rhodry’s half-brother, Salamander. We are also introduced to the mysterious McGuffin – a magical ring (surprise, surprise) – that is supposed to be Rhodry’s birthright, though we are yet to discover the full circumstances that suggest Rhodry will be playing a more important role in Saving The Day.Apart from the retrieval of the magical jewel of the West (that’s quite chatty too, thanks to its imbued spirits) that the dark dweomer practitioner Alystyr (shades of Crowley, perhaps?) and his two bumbling acolytes attempt to steal for the Old One, and which Jill, Rhodry and Nevyn then intercept, there really isn’t much else that happens in book #2.Granted, the world-building and characterisation, as well as magical system, is what keeps me turning the pages. I find that this time round I am a bit annoyed with the good/light vs. bad/dark dweomer divisions. Also, the stereotyping of protagonist vs. antagonist in that the evil is portrayed as physically repulsive and some degenerate (and queer, for that matter) was not to my taste. But I must point out that I feel fantasy has evolved over the years to take a less dualistic approach, or at least in my experiences as a reader when showing a preference for protagonists that are not necessarily squeaky clean or particularly nice (um, hello Jorgy-boy a la Mark Lawrence).Villains have, in my opinion, become more ambiguous in their negative and positive traits when it comes to fantasy literature. This is a good thing, because in my opinion, it’s closer to reality, but it must also be kept in mind that I feel Kerr’s earlier writing slips into an era when hard lines between good/evil were still the norm.Yet, these issues considered, this remains an enjoyable story that has stood the test of time, especially since many of the details have remained foggy from the first time that I read this novel when I was a teen.

  • Dani
    2019-04-09 18:47

    Honestly I feel a little bad giving this book such a low rating. Not because I actually have a higher opinion of it but because a lot of people appeared to really like it and I'm obviously missing something....I read the revised version before anyone asks.It's slow. I still can't get drawn into the way that Kerr writes, the looking in from the outside sort of feel that it has really draws me out of the moment. Most of the time I pick up the book to read it I find myself fading off and almost falling asleep. I, personally, consider that a bad sign.There was one past flash back in this book and while it was pretty cool I kept waiting for something MORE to happen and it never seemed to. The bad guys who practice the dark arts... I'm not too sure why they are so dangerous. They haven't really done much except murder some people, but a lot of people seem to murder in these books. So maybe I'm missing something that makes these guys so scary. The man rape? Is that supposed to make them seem MORE evil to me? Because there's also sort of a lot of rape that's been happening since the beginning.In fact I sort of expected Gwen to get raped in this one but she never did which left me a bit.... disappointed? I don't know. It seemed like it would've made for a more interesting story instead of the one Kerr actually wrote. There would've been a lot of facing your own demons and dealing with the reality of what happened and I would've liked to see how a past Jill would've handled that situation.I feel bad for giving it such a low rating but it was just.... Boring. It was Boring.I don't like the writing style, I don't like Rhodry (and seriously he just sort of realizes he can do things as it helps the story, could we have one character who's out of it and has no idea and is clueless?), and I don't like the way people talk! It feels so fabricated. Its this awkward way of speaking that has no flow and I just feel so disconnected from this book.Sigh.oh and I forgot to add: The battles are so impractical in this book. Always on horseback? Really?? It would never work. Yes horses are wonderful but there's no way they could've maneuvered in battle the way she describes. This also means every solider has a horse which is not cost effective at all!! They would need as many horses in the kingdom as they have humans. And who pays for and trains all these horses? Where do the replacements come from? How does every enemy have the same amount of horses? Someone just needs to have an army on foot and they could easily wipe out these horse riding idiots.

  • Mark
    2019-04-13 17:44

    It has been 16 years since I first picked up the first Deverry novel, DaggerSpell, and here in am, 16 years later, about to finish the fifteenth and final one.Has the journey been worth it? Yes. Was the wait too long? Yes.I would not recommend anyone starts reading the Deverry cycle unless they intend to read them all, as the macroscopic story is at least as important as the microscopic ones, and as such I am reviewing the books as a set.I almost give them 4 stars (excellent) but in the end I am not enjoying them quite as much as I did in my early 20's and so I settled on 3 stars (good). As fantasy novels go the concepts and the writing are really excellent but for me the last couple of books haven't been as enjoyable as the early ones and it's a lot to expect people to read fifteen novels. That said I don't regret a single minute of the time I spent in Deverry. I even used to own a 'deverry' domain and use the handle of 'Rhodry' when t'internet was young. Highly recommended IF you have the stomach for a lot of reading.

  • ShariMulluane
    2019-03-29 18:36

    I am not much of a plot person, being way too much of a character lover but as far as plots go, I prefer one that is complicated and multilayered. Well you do not get any more layered then this story. You have the present storyline that revolves around Jill, Rhodry, and Nevyn fighting against the forces of evil. You have the previous incarnations with their storylines covering the extensive back-story and you have the ever-present question, will Nevyn be able to help Jill fulfill her destiny in this lifetime or will he have to wait, once again, for her to be reborn. Whenever I read a book like this, I think of a tapestry. You start out with a bunch of individual threads of various colors, and then you weave them together, creating an intricate picture. It is really pretty amazing if you think about it, and this story gives me that very same feeling.Full Review Here: Dragons, Heroes and Wizards: Fantasy Series Book Reviews

  • Deysha Rivera
    2019-03-30 20:34

    I'm giving this book two stars because it's at least written in complete sentences. It is one of the most poorly written books I have ever read, lacking in creativity and relying heavily on the authors personal biases to invoke darkness or evil in ways I find to be ignorant and offensive. If I were to mark up this book with a highlighter every time the author uses the phrase "all at once," it would dry the highlighter out completely. This book is nothing short of a waste of life.

  • Jesslyn
    2019-03-29 16:45

    I am really enjoying this series again. Very happy that I didn't finish it the first time around (I started in 2008 when Kindle was just getting off the ground and ebooks were scarce) so I have no idea how it is going to end.This is true epic fantasy, of a kind that we don't seem much of these days. And the ones we see seem to be taking 10+ years to finish and or get the next books out.

  • Kes
    2019-03-22 18:03

    I finished the series in one sitting, but regarding this book in particular: I liked that Rhodry was getting used to his reduced status, in particular:Even Jill had to admit that, expensive drink or not, it was pleasant to sit in a tavern room that didn't smell of moldy straw and unwashed dogs. They had a table to themselves, because when customers entered, they took one look at Rhodry, another at the pommel of his silver dagger, and sat elsewhere, a double insult when one considered that they were smugglers themselves.Lol.I liked that Rhodry's father got introduced and I liked the Brangwen/Gweniver incarnation. I was a little confused about why we kept following Mael, but it was extremely satisfying when we eventually found out that it became "Maelwaedd".

  • Debbie Jinks
    2019-03-22 13:35

    After reading the first book in the Deverry series, 'Daggerspell' I wondered if this 2nd book would be able to live up to it. Carrying on from where it left off, this story re united the characters of Jill, Rhodry and Nevyn. The story initially saw Jill re incarnated as the high priestess Gweniver. Then moved back in time to Jill and Rhodry with the ever present Nevyn at their side. The quest was to reunite the humans and elves so they could join forces to overturn the evil dark forces and master of dark majics only know as 'The Old One'. This book had a more sinister feel than the first and left me feeling desperate to know more with each turn of the page. When it concluded, with the humans and elves being victorious, I was so glad I still had two other books to read! I am devouring the series and fear that we haven't heard the last from the evil 'Old One'.

  • Paula
    2019-04-08 21:51

    I had an issue with the gender politics of these books and stopped after this one. Why did the characters get reborn into the same gender every time? That bugged me. And I found it deeply disturbing when the bad guys are the only people engaging in homosexuality. Seriously? This review is really for my own record of why I stopped reading this series ~ perhaps there's redemption in further books? But I'll be reading something else.

  • QueenTut72
    2019-04-01 15:53

    Another fantastic book in a fantastic series. I like series because you really get to know the characters and, for me, these folks are old and dear friends. I'm ready to dive into the next book.

  • Lawrence
    2019-03-30 13:43


  • Mighty
    2019-04-10 19:54

    Removed 1 star because the gay rape scene was too graffic. I'd rather it was implied.

  • Colin
    2019-03-24 20:44

    This one gets a little dark. And I liked it.

  • Fantastisk Fiktion
    2019-03-25 13:38


  • Amanda
    2019-04-06 16:56

    This is the second Deverry book and proves to be just as gripping as the first. Here we are dealing with a present time storyline of Jill and Rhodry's life on the road as silver daggers, and the danger they face from masters of dark dweomer. Jill discovers from Nevyn more about dweomer as he tries to gently encourage her to fulfil her Wyrd (destiny). We also go back in time to a previous incarnation of Jill and Rhodry and Cullyn (Jill's father). The three souls (and others) have been twisted together because of vengeance, a miscarriage of destiny and incestuous love. Here Jill is Gweniver - a lady who pledges herself to the Moon Goddess, and therefore will be unable to take to a life of dweomer. Nevyn resigns himself to watching her die in the service of the Goddess and going back to waiting for her soul to be reborn. There is also a quick backstory to the start of the Maelwaedd clan (Rhodry's people).I adored the whole story of Jill and Rhodry, and everything that happens in modern times. I found the masters of dark dweomer genuinely creepy, especially hearing what takes place during their rituals. It is lovely to see more of dweomer at work, including an entertaining piece of jewelry. I particularly like the way that Kerr ensures that there is always a downside to working dweomer.One of my favourite characters right now is highly peripheral - Jill's grey gnome (one of the Wildfolk) is extremely cute and Kerr does well to lend him so much character since he is unable to speak properly. I also like Ebany a great deal, and suspect we shall see much more of him.However, the success of these books depends greatly on how enjoyable the tale set in the past is, since it encompasses a large part of the novel. And I didn't get on with Gweniver - I found her naive and arrogant in turn. Very different from other past incarnations such as Brangwen (the first incarnation) and Lyssa (a gentle bard's wife). This is why I drop it half a star from the first book in the series.The strong Celtic feel again embued the book with a sense of almost historical fiction - the language and the lifestyle is a fantastic part of each novel. Once again, I would recommend highly.

  • Grianne
    2019-04-14 15:39 storia prosegue ed è affascinante, è bello vedere finalmente i cattivi un passo indietro nella comprensione degli eventi e terrorizzati dal potentissimo "buono" ci sono anche alcune cose di questo volume che nn mi hanno entusiasmato troppo.Per prima la parte in cui Brangwen è reincarnata in Gweniver...è troppo lunga, l'ho trovata noiosa. L'idea in sè di queste reincarnazioni successive è bella, ok la prima in cui Nevyn si rende conto di alcune cose...ok la seconda che cmq è breve (e queste stanno nel primo volume) ma questa è davvero TROPPO lunga.Altra dweomer...questo tipo di magia inventato dall'autrice è estremamente complesso e "astratto" perchè basato quasi completamente sul potere della mente. Nel primo libro ci sono accenni a tale potere senza che esso, giustamente, venga completamente svelato. Ma ora che mi trovo al termine del secondo libro la chiarezza nn è molto svolgono strani riti, si descrivono molteplici situazioni anche in maniera dettagliata ma sempre ad un osservatore esterno...credo che un modo per inserire qualche spiegazione in più ci poteva essere...e sarebbe stato utile e gradito a noi lettori. Con questo non voglio dire che la cosa sia confusa e incomprensibile ma credo che descrivere nei dettagli più e più volte l'uso di questa magia senza mai trovare il modo di dare qualche spiegazione, magari tramite la voce di un maestro che parla ad un allievo o qualcosa di simile tolga il gusto nel leggere certe parti.Come nel libro precendente l'ambientazione è chiara ma forse qualche particolare in più qui e lì sarebbe stato gradito.D'altra parte i personaggi rimangono invece il punto forte della storia. Ben caratterizzati, ben distinti e fortemente fedeli a sè loro identità è netta e chiara; è facile tifare per loro.Consigliato, nonostante le mie critiche, :) leggerò ben volentieri il seguito della vicenda.

  • Nick Reys
    2019-03-24 20:03

    Darkspell is the second Kerr-book and, unfortunately, it wasn't as strong as the first one was. In the end, not much is fundamentaly different compared to Daggerspell aside from the plot. There, Darkspell lacks a bit.Since a big part of these books take place in the past, my appreciation of a Katharine Kerr-book depends on how that part turns out. Here, it was a tedious affair. We meet Gweniver, a noble lady on the run for another clan. After some bickering, she enters the priesthood and becomes a warrior priestess, sworn to avenge her clan. With a warband behind her and a loyal commander by her side, she roams the country. so far, all is well, cause this is not all that different from the Jill/Rhodry-storyline. Gweniver, however, is a really stubborn and hard-to-like-character. Even the patient and goodhearted Nevyn doesn't know how to handle the girl. Because she is so hard to like and the whole past-part centers around her, I really had to drag myself through those 160 pages. I found myself actually cheering for the other side, cause if Gweniver got killed in battle or got dishonered, things would finally wrap up.Once back in the present with Jill and Rhodry, things start to get really excited as the Dark Dweomer comes into play. Main badasses are Alyster and his apprentice. Both are quite messed-up and there actions are pretty disturbing. Though we really have to wait till the very end to get some big action, the tension is never really far which makes sure that you get an exciting read.If it wasn't for the lacklustre first half, this would have been top-notch, cause all the good from the first book are represented in the second half of Darkspell. Good writing and characters combined with the presence of the Westfolk and off course the extremely adorable Wildfolk make it a pleasure to read, again.

  • Federica Leva
    2019-04-13 21:48

    Continua l'esilarante avventura di Jill e Rhodry, braccati dai Maestri Oscuri e dal Wyrd, il fato. Sono momenti difficili, per i due amanti. Esiliato dal nobile fratello maggiore, Rhodry è costretto ad indossare una daga d'argento - simbolo di vergogna - e a sopravvivere prestando servizio presso signorotti e ricchi mercanti. Ma un giorno Jill trova nell'erba una strana pietra capace di parlarle e di modificare forma, e d'allora sente su di sé lo sguardo invadente di un dweomer oscuro e pericoloso. Di chi si tratta? I nemici si stanno scoprendo per costringere il mago Nevyn a non opporsi ai loro piani?Un'altra prova d'indiscussa bravura da parte della Kerr, una conferma del suo talento. Profonda studiosa delle tradizioni celtiche, da cui trae pretesti per scatenare la sua ampia immaginazione, l'autrice ci trasporta in uno scenario fantastico, spesso idilliaco, dalle atmosfere squisitamente tolkeniane, dove due diverse fonti di magia si affrontano in una battaglia che perdura da diverse generazioni di uomini. Non ci sono insicurezze, nella sua capacità di narrare. Con mano sicura traccia gli schizzi dei personaggi, e poi affida alle vicende il compito di svelarli ai lettori e di conquistare i loro cuori. Ed è difficile non innamorarsi di ciascuno di loro, allearsi con le loro virtù, e comprendere, senza condannare, anche i loro difetti.Descritto con uno stile immaginifico ed evocativo, questo secondo capitolo del Ciclo di Deverry apre le porte ad un terzo, appassionante romanzo: "Il destino di Deverry". Da leggere.

  • Lindsey
    2019-04-05 13:41

    A very solid "comfort fantasy"... some overuse of tropes but likeable characters, solid worldbuilding, nice hints of things to come. There's nothing revolutionary here (and I wouldn't expect it from a book almost three decades old) but it's a good story and the reincarnation meta-plot is still an interesting conceit. I suspect that once the first four books are read, you could have a great discussion about Campbellian characters and the repercussions of small acts. It's also worth mentioning that Kerr's representation of feudal life seems credible and could provoke some discussion about "historical accuracy" in secondary world fantasy.I read that Kerr has reworked the original story both for continuity and issues with how homosexuality was represented. I've never read the original but the reworked version doesn't have any major issues that I can see, although there's probably some room for discussion about why (view spoiler)[only Bad Guys are homosexual and why they're always ashamed of themselves (hide spoiler)]. While the overall story is relatively simple, it is graphic in places, particularly scenes with the dark dweomer. This is definitely a mature audience book for scenes of severe abuse ((view spoiler)[child and sexual abuse, including rape (hide spoiler)]).Overall, this story holds up well at nearly 3 decades old and I'll be moving on to The Bristling Wood fairly soon.

  • Mary
    2019-03-26 13:40

    "Darkspell" is the second novel in Katharine Kerr's high-fantasy "Deverry" series. It continues building on the themes of reincarnation and fate as it predominantly follows the story of Rhodry and Jill, and their somewhat mentor-like figure Nevyn, interspersed between flashbacks to their past lives.I definitely enjoyed this book more than the first since the conflict was much more interesting to me. (I'll take stealthy espionage over all-out gritty warfare any day!) The characters and their intertwined relationships are still being developed, but I found myself curiously detached from most of the main characters. On the contrary, I was far more interested in a few of the newly introduced side ones (like Salamander). Alas, Nevyn is still super exasperated no matter where and when in the timeline and the theme of karma is still being heavily emphasized and forced onto the reader.One of the highlights of the book was the thread that followed a captured prince in a past life. At first, I was curious why the author continued writing about that timeline when most of the major players have already met their demise. However the way it was tied in at the very end of the relevant chapter left me with chills. It truly demonstrates the author's masterful writing and the extensive planning that goes on behind the scenes in this series!

  • Lylah
    2019-04-03 14:04

    Holy homophobia, batman!Okay, so... I enjoyed this book. The flashbacks were very interesting and I loved seeing Gweniver, warrior of the goddess, and the fact that Kerr knew the flashbacks weren't enough to keep reader interest in the reincarnation plot. I liked seeing the Maelwadd founding and the construction of the world of Deverry.The villains were atrociously horrible, which they were supposed to be. One of them is gay, but only seems to get sexual pleasure from raping men. Everyone was repulsed by him and the idea of homosexuality and one character literally wanted to die to avoid the shame of finding out he was gay. Um, what? Was that really necessary? I can't excuse this with "it was because of the times" because that was only in the '80s, and I can't excuse it as merely a Deverrian worldview because the villainization of homosexuality is universal by all of the characters. This could've been progressive or neutral but instead it was Very Bad. Shame on you, Katharine Kerr.With those flaws pointed out, this is a "definitive edition" which has been redone since its original publication. I wonder what the changes were and I hope the homophobic thing wasn't worse before.This fantasy is slightly above average, but the world is immersive and I'm interested in seeing where the dark dweomer plot is going. I wouldn't call it high quality but I like the premise a lot.

  • Deborah
    2019-04-08 20:59

    Prince Rhodry is sent into exile by his bratty brother Rhys, who has long felt his position to the throne threatened by Rhodry. Jill goes with him, their journey along the road is frought with danger from both physical and magical forces, The strong distinctions between good and evil are drawn in this novel; the corruption of innocence being perhaps the most troubling and disturbing element of the dark dweomer magic when we see the rape of a young boy as part of ritual magic, however it is carefully written and would not be disturbing for teen readers. The main theme of the story continue to flow well with the integrated plots, as we watch Nevyn try to get hold of destiny once again, or face losing Jill and Rhodry and having to wait for another reincarnation. The intertwining of the past and present continues, yet it flows well and Kerr has developed this style much more in this second novel. The constant in all of this is Nevyn, as he tries to fulfil his vow to put right the messes he made hundreds of years ago. This rich tapestry continues to build for us an epic story, spanning hundreds of years in Devvery's history and several reincarnations. Once you start this series you won't be able to stop.

  • Broodingferret
    2019-04-05 18:41

    Kerr's storytelling showed a marked improvement in this book over Daggerspell. As a whole, Darkspell is less derivative of prior works and more Kerr's own thing; after reading this book, it seems fairly clear that Kerr pretty much used Daggerspell to get the less creative portions of her story out of her system. She still shows too much of a tendency to wrap things up too neatly by the end, but if I remember correctly, that gets better as the series continues. On the up-side, she spent longer on some of the characters' previous incarnations, which provides more depth to the "past" as well as the "present". All in all a descent follow-up to Daggerspell.