Book Review: The Benighted by A.M. Dunnewin

19064550Title: The Benighted

Author: A.M. Dunnewin

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4 stars


Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The King was dead. His body was found slain in his room, only months after his son had been brutally murdered. Skylar Mandolyn, his daughter, has now become the last heir to the throne. But instead of becoming Queen, she was imprisoned for helping in the escape of Sir Harlin Brien, her knight who was framed for the King’s murder.

Confined to darkness, Skylar’s captors have given her no choice but to yield to a new kind of enemy: a domain that has advanced in both technology and warfare. It’s only when she refuses that the prison uses other means of persuasion. Though unmerciful, the whip lashings and isolation can’t suppress her memories. She’s forced to face again both her brother’s death and her father’s emotional decline, though even the darkness can’t hide the deceptive hands that have tormented them all. Advisor turned adversary, Cross Lutherus has brought the ancient bloodline to its knees, and Skylar is the only Mandolyn left to feel his wrath.

With two kingdoms on the brink of war, and the end of her life drawing near, Skylar’s only hope is in the person who haunts her the most – Harlin, the knight who was sworn to protect her. His presence surrounds her when the darkness screams louder than the prisoners, when Death smiles a faceless grin in between the cracks of the stone. And it’s his strength she embraces just as the tremors start to rise from the deep, crawling up through the prison’s walls to terrorize the benighted realm and all its souls.

The mystery was never how Harlin escaped. It is how he will return.

The Benighted is a dark read filled with mystery, dread and suspense. It’s set in a mythical, epic-fantasy world with princesses, knights, and the ancient battle between good and evil. With a set of characters so real they feel like you could walk up and talk to them, and a plot that doesn’t shy away to explore some of the darker sides of humanity, this is an interesting, enjoyable read.

Skylar, the princess of a fallen kingdom, daughter of a murdered king, is captured and imprisoned for helping the escape of Harlin Brien, the knight who was framed for the King’s murder. But Skylar is convinced of Harlin’s innocence, and she’s certain the king’s advisor, Cross Lutherus, is the real culprit behind the murders on the royal family.

When I read “princesses” and “knights”, I can’t help but think of an unimaginative, innocent fairytale that will have a happy ending you can see miles away. Princesses tend to be personality-less cardboard figures. Skylar…not at all. She has personality, wit, backbone, courage. What she goes through isn’t for the faint of heart, and even though she wants to give up several times, part of her always manages to cling on. This is the kind of princess I can root for.

The writing is haunting and descriptive, and the fantasy world A.M. Dunnewin conjures up, is definitely intriguing, but also dark and unsettling. An inspiring story for anyone who enjoys the darker side of fantasy.

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