Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
With the Leran threat laid to rest, Alec and Seregil are now able to turn their attention to the ancient evil which threatens their land. The Plenimarans, at war with Skalans, have decided to defeat their ancient enemy by raising up the Dead God, Seriamaius. The early attempts at this reincarnation—masterminded by the sinister Duke Mardus and his sorcerous minion Vargul Ashnazai—once left Seregil in a sorcerous coma. Now, an ancient prophecy points to his continuing role in the quest to stop Mardus in his dread purpose.
Seregil’s friend and Mentor, the wizard Nysander, has long been the guardian of a deadly secret. In a secret, silver-lined room hidden well beneath the Oreska, he has served for most of his 300 years as the keeper of a nondescript clay cup. But this cup, combined with a crystal crown and some wooden disks, forms the Helm of Seriamaius, and any mortal donning the reconstructed Helm will become the incarnation of the god on earth.
Nysander holds the cup and Mardus the wooden disks—one of which was responsible for Seregil’s coma—but the crown must still be located. Threatened under pain of death by Nysander to keep his quest a secret even from his loyal companion, Alec, Seregil is dispatched to find the last missing piece of the Helm so that he and Nysander can destroy it. But this is only the beginning of one of his deadliest journeys ever, for the prophecy also holds that four will come together in a time of darkness, and gradually all that Seregil values is placed at risk as he, Alec, Nysander and Micum are drawn into a deadly web of terror and intrigue.
After absolutely loving part one of this series, I of course had high expectations for this book, too. And I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. This might even have been a tad better than part one.
I read part one a while ago, so I did have some trouble with all the names in the beginning. It’s probably best to not take too big breaks between the individual parts. This way you won’t have so much trouble remembering names and events of the previous book(s).
At times, this did get actually rather gory. It fit the plot and it wasn’t overdone, but if that’s not your thing, be careful.
I continued to fall in love with Alec and Seregil. They really grew and changed throughout this book, especially Alec. His life has changed so much in such a short time and it really affected his development.
All main characters really grew on me and my heart went out to them whenever they were faced with difficulties. It was easy to relate to their feelings and they felt very realistic to me.
I loved that the author introduced a new main character with Micum’s daughter Beka. Her pov was really interesting.
The plot was absolutely amazing. So very addictive. I often found myself reading till the early morning hours, because I just couldn’t stop. There was so much going on, but it never got confusing. The ending just about broke my heart. It was so completely unexpected, I could only gape in horror for a few minutes.
There’s a bit more romance here than in part one, but only in the second half and still very low-key. But the little bit that was there was absolutely wonderful.
Once again, the world building was very impressive. Lots of descriptions about religious and cultural rites made it very easy to really feel at home in the world the author created.
Overall, I just absolutely loved “Stalking Darkness” and I’m delighted I already own part three. I absolutely can’t wait to find out what adventures Alec and Seregil will face next.
This is a series for all those fantasy lovers out there, who are craving awesome world building with a hint of gay romance.
The cover by Gary Ruddell shows a scene toward the end of the book. Just like the first cover, it definitely fits the story. Well done.
Paperback, 501 pages, first published 1997 by Bantam Spectra
Series: Part 2 of the Nightrunner series