This second volume of The Corean Chronicles more than lives up to the expectations generated by its predecessor. Indeed, Darknesses is yet another strong offering by L. E. Modesitt, jr.

I love how everything which appears to be simple at face value turns out to be multilayered. Once more, that characterizations are of the first order, imbued with that human touch I alluded to in my previous book review. The worldbuilding is also quite interesting. The author refrained from revealing much about his new universe in Legacies. But Darknesses reveals many secrets, showing just how much depth this new series possesses.

Understandably, Alucius takes center stage again. Events continue to prevent him from returning to his wife and family. Our reluctant hero just tries to remain alive long enough to reclaim his life of a simple herder. But those very survival skills will make him a hero in the eyes of many others.

Like in the first volume, the pace is a bit slow at the beginning. But things take a dramatic turn for the better about halfway through. From that point on, secrets from the past are disclosed, and we learn a lot more about the fallen Duarchy and what caused the Cataclysm.

As always, Mr. Modesitt manages to create a very strong and vivid backdrop. And as is his trademark, somehow he succeeds at maintaining those individual storylines and demonstrates how much they influence the world at large.

There are a multitude of military encounters, as well as a number of magical confrontations, which should satisfy most battle lovers.

And the fact that characters must always pay a heavy price for every achievement imbues the numerous storylines with more credibility than is currently the norm in the market. Which makes L. E. Modesitt, jr.'s novels so different -- and so special!

The final verdict: 8/10

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