A Darkness at the End
Ruth Frances Long
O’Brien Press, 2016 (YA)
The final installment of Ruth Frances Long’s Dubh Linn trilogy is gripping and dramatic. It opens with Izzy reeling from the loss of Jinx, and struggling with the gaps in her memory left by the storyteller’s book. But with Holly more powerful and more ruthless than ever, and angels, fae and demons on the brink of all out war, Izzy must act now. The darkness is coming, and there is no escape…
I loved the third Dubh Linn book, I couldn’t put it down. For me, it was the most powerful of the books emotionally. Long does not pull her punches when describing Izzy and Jinx’s pain (yet, Izzy’s grief and trauma is handled very sensitively) and the body count is high in this book (one loss was particularly painful. If you’ve read the book you’ll know who I mean. Gulp.) I loved the development of characters like Dylan and Clodagh in this book, both are given greater roles in the plot and we get more of an insight into their minds. I am impressed by how rounded all the characters are considering the vastness of the cast. There is a complexity to all of the characters, to how they handle magic and power, and to their histories. Izzy is a strong protagonist, but this is a series with many strong women. In Long’s magic system it is women, the matriarchs, who hold power. Brí and Silver are fantastic and memorable characters, and I was delighted to see the Morrigan make an appearance in the book (I loved all the hints about her earlier in the book too).
As always, Long makes excellent use of locations in Dublin – Marsh’s Library, the Long Room at Trinity College Dublin, the National Gallery of Ireland and Glasnevin Cemetery all feature in this volume. She skillfully melds real Dublin and magical Dubh Linn, making excellent use of the history surrounding the locations. She writes about Dublin as a place of magic and story, making the (Irish) reader see their place in a new way. The final showdown, on Dalkey Island, was very dramatic and provided a suitably spectacular climax for the trilogy.
A Darkness at the End is a brilliant read, both heart-pounding and heartbreaking, and I look forward to re-reading the trilogy as a whole in the future.
Ruth Frances Long will be appearing at Octocon this weekend.
My interview with Ruth Frances Long following the publication of A Hollow in the Hills (Dubh Linn #2)