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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Darkling Wind by Jamie Sedgwick

Editorial Blurb:
Ben always thought his grandfather's bedtime stories about the darklings were make-believe, but now the darklings have invaded his hometown and only Ben can stop them. When a mysterious package arrives containing his grandfather's old journal and a crystal pendant, Ben knows he's found the way to stop the darklings. Unfortunately, the journal is encrypted and Ben is running out of time.

With the help of his Best friend Sara, Ben must unlock the journal's secrets and find a way to banish the evil darklings before they destroy the town and kill everyone he loves. But does Ben have the strength to face his greatest fears? If he succeeds, Ben will have to sacrifice everything just to survive. If he fails, Ben will not only lose everything he loves, he will also become the thing he fears the most.

Reviewed by Dale

This is a well written and very heart warming story. It's written in the first person and is largely narrative driven. Usually I would not like this style of writing but it pretty much works in this format and for young adult readers it shouldn't be too tiring.

The young hero of the story is Ben Larbinger a fourteen year old nobody who gets picked on by all the school bullies. Ben's amiable sidekick is Sara, or Sarah depending on which page you are on. Actually I only saw that once but it was funny to see a major character's name changing through a story. There were only a couple of typos and the editing was good about 94% perfect.

Back to the story; young Ben meets a sinister man with an evil aura whilst visiting his grandfather. The evil stranger tells Ben and Sara that they will meet again soon. This is a nice little tension building tease that the author uses throughout the book, to successfully build his story. The characters indeed meet the stranger again and have a near fatal run in with their teachers at school. It was very exciting when Ben accidentally fell into a room full of darkling monsters and gouls. I couldn't wait to see how Sedgwick was going to write Ben out of that scene. You will have to read it yourself to find out.

Tragedy strikes early on in the story and the cute litle sidekick, Sara, falls victim to the invading darklings. I was really upset by this as she was a character I had come to like and care about. A hallmark of great writing is in conjuring this kind of emotional attachment in readers.

So the story is novel, refreshing and definitely very interesting, the writing is good. A few overly introspective descriptive passages towards the end but easily forgiven in the rush to turn the page to see how it finishes. I would have liked a more dialogue driven story. I would have liked to have seen more of the other characters in the book developed more fully. This is a challenge with first person stories. The lead actor is well characterized and the bad guys can be left too one dimensional.

I'm still giving this book 5 stars though, and I thoroughly recommend it. It's not long at a bit over 30,000 words or so. So why not download it for a rainy day?

Title: The Darkling Wind
Author: Jamie Sedgwick Author's Blog
Genre: Fantasy
33,000 words
Free download via smashwords: Download link

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