Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, YA Dark Fantasy | Release Date: 31 March 2022 | Series: The Darkwatch Trilogy | Series Book: #1 | Pages: 557 | Indie Author | Review
Thanks to the wonderful E. M. Duffield-Fuller and Book Sirens, I was lucky enough to get a copy of Felgrim to review! I’m going to be honest (of course), and tell you I didn’t have astronomically high expectations for the first book in The Darkwatch Trilogy. But I solemnly swear I will never be so naive and cynical again, because Felgrim is a *massively* brilliant book! So much so that (once I finish my review), I’m going to order a paperback copy; this YA fantasy needs to have a place on my bookshelf.
So what is Felgrim all about? The newly-crowned King, Davon, is struggling in his rule: the thimmaru (rune-marked undead ‘rebels’) are trying to cause chaos, his people call him the Little Tyrant, and there is currently a demon roaming around Hollowick, killing people. King Davon employs Marla Black, an assassin apprentice, to find the rebel leader’s nephew and bring him back to the city, so that he can find out what is going on. Marla sets out without questioning this, but when she finds Eaton Poole, the task becomes so much harder. Marla likes Eaton, and actually admires him. How can she prove her loyalty to the King, without condemning Eaton to death? Should Marla even try to reconcile these opposing demands?
This is an epic fantasy in every sense of the word. There’s an ensemble cast of characters, each with their own thread within Felgrim, and Duffield-Fuller has worked them together seamlessly. I love that we have a sizeable group of characters to love, and that for quite a few of them we get chapters from their POVs! I immediately find more rapport with characters when I can understand their thought process, so some of the characters I didn’t expect to like? Seeing their POV gave me reason to like them a lot. Who wouldn’t count that as a happiness boost?!
There were many, many things happening in this story. We didn’t have only one clear obstacle for the characters to overcome. I really enjoyed that there were numerous events happening (often simultaneously), and everybody has their own agenda as things progress. I was not expecting some of the events and bombshells that Duffield-Fuller gives us within these pages! It’s such a cutthroat world, and the fact that this is only book one in a trilogy makes my heart happy.
I am always, *always* going to fangirl when there is a strong heroine (or more) in a story. They don’t have to be perfect, they can be wrong, but I love when we get female characters who have strong convictions and a desire to make their world a better one. More often than not, they’re surviving in a harsh setting, and life isn’t kind to them. But you know what? They don’t give up, and I am always impressed by that. In Felgrim we have a couple of characters like this, and I absolutely adore them.
I will say some readers may dislike that we have multiple POVs. But personally, although I was surprised by the number of them (I think there’s 6 all up), I really enjoyed it!
Like I said earlier, Felgrim is a cutthroat world; nobody is guaranteed even an ounce of gentleness, because this kingdom is on the verge of collapse. You know what that means? Duffield-Fuller has given us an intense and massive fantasy that is as dark and exquisite as your favourite dark chocolate. It is an epic tale, with a lot of detail and beautifully complex relationships that are forever changing. I have thoroughly enjoyed Felgrim, from the first page to the very last. And I am already wishing we had the next book in the trilogy to read!
Now I’m off to add a paperback copy to my shelves…
You can order via my Amazon link: Felgrim