Review: The Benighted (The Benighted Saga, #1) by A.M. Dunnewin
The King was dead.
His body was found slain in his room, only months after his son had been brutally murdered. Skylar Mandolyn, his daughter, has now become the last heir to inherit the throne. But instead of becoming Queen, she has been imprisoned for helping in the escape of Sir Harlin Brien, her knight who was framed for the King’s murder.
Confined to darkness, Skylar's captors have given her no choice but to yield to a new kind of enemy: a kingdom that has advanced in both technology and warfare. It's when she refuses that the prison uses its other means of persuasion, and although unmerciful, the whip lashings and isolation can't suppress the memories of her family's downfall. Pulled between her subconscious and reality, Skylar already knows who the true enemy is, because even the darkness can't hide the deceptive hands that have destroyed them all.
With two kingdoms on the brink of war, Skylar's only hope is in the person who has gone missing — Harlin, the knight who was sworn to protect her. The memory of him surrounds her when the darkness screams louder than the prisoners, and when Death smiles a faceless grin in between the cracks of the stone. While the tremors start to rise from the deep, crawling up through the prison's walls, Skylar doesn't realize that she will soon see why he's one of the Benighted.
The mystery was never how Harlin escaped. It's how he'll return.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Another-World, Mystery, Royal-Court--
In a kingdom full of unrest, Skylar the crown princess is grieving the loss of her brother from a hunting accident. Not only does she face loss, but now she must step into his role of being groomed to rule. Her father has sent for a knight to come be her personal guard, but he is not just any knight, but one of the Benighted. With only her guard protecting her, Skylar is a pawn in the machinations of some bad and powerful men.
The delivery of the book was slightly confusing when I first started reading. This is not a linear story, instead it goes back and forth between the present and memories of the past. The current moments were very dark, filled with Skylar being tortured and abused while people try and force their will on her through force. I also found the setting interesting. I could not determine if this is supposed to be historical or modern, because the costuming and actions were something out of the past, yet mentions of electricity were thrown in as well. And speaking of costuming, the clothes Skylar wore were to die for and the author so lovingly detailed them even in the face of the horrors of murder and torture.
Sylar is the main character in the book, everything is told from her point of view. I liked her personality and how tenacious she was even when she would only find hardship as a result of her behavior. She stuck to her beliefs and would only accept the truth, even if they weren’t pretty. She may not have expected to be the ruler, but she really was the best possible person for the job. Harlin is the focus of the story (at least in my eyes). We know basically nothing about him except that he is one of the mysterious Benighted, an elite group of men who have skills nobody is even sure and leave fear in their wake. It was interesting that while Skylar is the narrator and the one experiencing all this terrible history, Harlin is the character that I was waiting for, because I knew he had more to show even though he had said almost nothing in the book these expectations arose on their own.
I liked watching how the relationship unfolded between Harlin and Skylar, it was not over the top or in your face, it was so subtle that it did not really even feel as if it was happening (as if you blink you might miss it). I liked how the two had a mutual respect and the belief in the other’s skills/feelings regardless of hardships. In the midst of this relationship, there was the intrigue of the murder and court dynamics woven in as the main plot of the book. I was really shocked as to how long Skylar was in the prison as well as why the plot was started. The ending of the story was fairly abrupt and it feels like there might be more to come, and if that is the case, I will most certainly read more. This story was executed very uniquely and I liked the book overall.
I received this title from the publisher in return for my honest review.