There Will Come a Darkness

Holt. (The Age of Darkness: Bk. 1). Sept. 2019. 496p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250211750.
Gr 9 Up–Multiple viewpoints share the narrative in debut author Pool’s imagined world, constructed with hints of Greek and Middle Eastern influences. (For example, places named Pallas Athos, Herat, “the agora,” and Nazirah; meals of lamb stew and pomegranate; characters named Hassan and Ephyra). In this world, the Graced have heightened powers, which make them targets for jealous attacks each time they manifest their enhanced strength, senses, energy, and more. Working-class Anton (with his talent at gambling); prince-in-disguise Hassan; good-hearted Khepri; sisters Ephyra and Beru; and Jude, the Last Prophet and Keeper of the Word, twist in and out of one another’s orbits, caught up in their uncertain times. For the last 100 years, the Age of Darkness has been foretold, and now it looks like these older teens hold the keys to both destruction and salvation. First in a planned trilogy, the book sets the stage rather than concludes the story. The shifting narratives require attention, but there is ample payoff.
VERDICT Teens looking for epic fantasy can immerse themselves in Pool’s world, where the Witnesses have developed deadly Godfire, the Pale Hand is stalking, and the Age of Darkness appears just over the horizon.

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