I have been eagerly awaiting this, the second book in the Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy, and am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks to the lovely folks at Puffin Books for sending me a copy to review!
The Forever Court (Knights of the Borrowed Dark #2)
Puffin Books (2017)
Denizen Hardwick is getting used to his new life, as much as anyone can get used to a world of magic and shadowy monsters, that is. He is training hard to become a Knight, and struggling to control the swirling mass of magic in his mind. The fire wants to find a way out, but Denizen must remember the Cost that comes with using his powers, a price paid in iron. Then, the Knights of the Borrowed Dark are summoned to a meeting of the Forever Court, the higher powers among the monstrous Tenebrae. For Denizen this also means seeing Mercy, the Endless King’s daughter, for the first time since he saved her (and the world) and confronting his feelings for her…
With the same mixture of beautiful writing, exciting plot and strong characters that made me love Knights of the Borrowed Dark, this was a gripping and exciting read. I have a lot of love for Denizen, Rudden’s anxious bookish protagonist, and his voice (not to mention his repertoire of frowns) was even stronger in this sequel. I also feel that the relationship between Denizen and Vivian was explored very well in this book, the complexities for both of them in being reunited and trying to deal with their complicated past. The characters in the book are all nuanced and multi layered, and I enjoyed getting to know them better here.
The romance between Denizen and Mercy was sweet and endearingly awkward. Their interactions, and Simon and Denizen’s banter lightened the mood of the book which certainly has its dark and creepy moments.
Rudden’s language is lyrical, and there were many times where I stopped just to admire the way he phrases things. Things like:
Not beautiful in the way a human could be beautiful – no, this was a sparse and terrible kind of beauty, a beauty like that of the island, the kind of beauty that wanted you dead.
Dublin, however, was a liar of a city.
I love reading books set in places I know, and it’s great seeing familiar parts of Dublin in the KOTBD books. There are some fantastic scenes in this book set in the Long Room at Trinity College Dublin, as can be seen on the cover. Large scale fight scenes such as the one in the Long Room show Rudden’s skillful writing of exciting action sequences, but he is equally adept at conveying Denizen’s more contemplative and conflicted moments. My one criticism was that I found myself getting confused with the who’s who of the Croit family at times. However, overall this was an exciting read and a very satisfying sequel.
As there is quite a bit of darkness in these books, as a bookseller I would tend to recommend them for readers aged 10/11+ but teens and adults will also enjoy this gripping and beautifully told fantasy adventure.