As the Shadow Rises

Holt. (The Age of Darkness: Bk. 2. Sept. 2020. 496p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250211774.
Gr 9 Up–The first book in this series ended on the cusp of the Age of Darkness, as religious beliefs clashed in Nazirah and nearby lands. The main characters from There Will Come a Darkness drive alternating chapters: Jude struggles without his Grace, with Anton by his side and their mutual attraction becoming harder to deny. Rightful heir Hassan and fellow fighter and companion Khepri have joined the Scarab’s Wing to depose false Queen Lethia and the Witnesses who support her rule. Ephyra is not pleased to be magically leashed to Illya, Anton’s brother, yet much to her chagrin, she invites him to her bed. Revenants Beru and Hector share guilt and blame over the circumstances of their deaths, while their intermingled esha (life force) is drawing them closer. The hunt is on for four vital relics, and the many characters, in skin tones from pale to bronze to tan (and in one case, heavily tattooed), each have parts to play. The Necromancer King, the Hierophant, and a god long thought dead also play key parts in determining if the future is darkness or a reckoning for a new era.
VERDICT The large cast of characters crosses miles and formidable obstacles while searching for relics, interpreting dreams, and occasionally seeking solace in each other’s beds. Buy where the first book is popular.

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