Review; Down a Darker Path by Laura Maybrooke

Must read πŸ†

Down a Darker Path hooks quickly and sweeps the reader up in the events along with Dulcea, who is facing the hard consequences. It’s time to make a choice.

Down a Darker Path
by Laura Maybrooke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To win, she must lose. To succeed, she must fail.

The time has come.
Dulcea must choose what is important to her.

Krath — the handsome, immortal vampire warrior — who rescued her from enemy hands, has proven himself to be a kindred spirit and a possible ally.

Yet, neither Dulcea’s dragons nor her army are willing to accept such a dark hero.

The golden dragons have long been her allies, but their power is limited. They are no match for the demon Grom, but they alone bring hope to her army.

What is the right way forward?

What will Dulcea choose, and will her choice doom the world – or save it?

Down a Darker Path is the second book in the Dulcea’s Rebellion series, by Laura Maybrooke. If you have not read the first in the series, I highly recommend it!

This book, as with the first, follows the silver elf enchantress and dragonmaster, Dulcea Lightbringer. We pick up right where the first book left off, and Down a Darker Path hits the ground running. We’re hooked immediately with the first scene and swept up in the events along with Dulcea, who is facing the hard consequences of her actions.

The rebellion is ramping up as winter creeps ever closer. The threat of advancing armies mingles with the bitterness of the looming cold. Dulcea has a lot on her plate as more challenges cross her path, hindering her progress.

Timelines were non-linear in book one, showing us Dulcea’s life through flashbacks, dreams, and memories. Book two uses flashbacks sparingly, creating a more natural feeling without being disruptive to the flow of the story. Having a preference for spending more time in a stable timeline, I enjoyed book two more in that regard.

Dulcea’s Rebellion series, thus far, is proving to have great strength in the characterization, world building, and natural flow of the dialogue. As I mentioned in my review of book one, the relationships between characters felt real, as if they are all individuals with their own wants and desires. It is both refreshing and beautifully done.

It was over three fortnights to date since she had first met the vampire lord of Gwyndoorn. He was to her as much an enigma now as he had been back in Blossoming Moon over that first game of Dominion, but she had since realized something. He was a challenge, and she enjoyed solving puzzles.

Laura Maybrooke, Down A Darker Path

Characters I adored in the first book are turning out to not be who we were lead to believe, as Dulcea makes her own startling realizations. Dulcea is left to face the consequences of her actions, which created rifts in friendships and unearthed hidden truths. Beliefs clash, tempers flare, and Krath’s nature reveals itself to be much darker than could be imagined. The differences in how I feel about various characters between the two books is drastic. In no way does it feel false, or forced, however. Again, as with the progression of the relationships and friendships in the story, this too feels natural.

And if that’s not masterful storytelling then I don’t know what is.

The sizzling heat seared and cracked the moist earth and burned the grass to varying degrees of brown. The axed forests, felled for firewood, protection, and construction in the last couple of months, offered no shade. Anything with a hint of green to it had wilted, but the river shallows bustled with life: pond skaters, dragonflies, and little bloodsucking insects.

Laura Maybrooke, Down A Darker Path

Down A Darker Path is, as the title suggests, a darker story than Immortal Defiance. The stakes are higher, the dangers greater, and there is uncertainty all around Dulcea and her party. There were times I was anxious for Dulcea, angry at her friends, and got caught up in the action right until the cliffhanger.

And that cliffhanger? It’s a good one.

I recommend this novel for the same reasons as the first: it’s a compelling fantasy with a healthy amount of worldbuilding, strong and realistic characters, and impressive prose. There is a slow-burn romance at the heart that progresses in a natural way that’s a refreshing change from the love-at-first-sight stories. The thing is, though… read the first one, first. Don’t start here. πŸ˜‰

I loved book one. Book two is engaging, exciting, and bumps Dulcea’s Rebellion series into one of my favourites. I can’t wait to find out what book three brings to the table.

I received a digital copy of the novel and offered to provide an honest review in exchange.

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