As The Shadow Rises (The Age Of Darkness #2) By Katy Rose Pool
For those of you who have been around since last July? Let me extend my apologies for being around all this time. Also, love you! You know that There Will Come A Darkness (The Age Of Darkness #1) was one of my favorite books of the year, favorite debuts of the year (how is it even Katy Rose Pool’s debut). Plus, it was definitely my favorite new series of 2019. That left me dying for As the Shadow Rises for over a year, now. For those of you that are new to these parts of the interweb, welcome. That is, welcome to the site and to the fandom!
Now, with a deep breath, I can honestly say that As The Shadow Rises blows There Will Come A Darkness out of the water. Mind you, this is coming from someone that felt like she’d been hit by a bullet train after finishing There Will Come A Darkness.
Note: This has nothing to do with Six of Crows. They are nothing alike. I don’t know what bad marketing ploy decided this is a good idea. If you are reading this and thinking, “I love Six of Crows too.” STOP. STOP RIGHT NOW. They are not the same and should not be comped. It isn’t fair to this series or Katy Rose Pool. At all. This is amazing work, on its own merit, structure, and content. End of story. And honestly, this is true for a lot of bad comps.
As The Shadow Rises is the second in Katy Rose Pool’s The Age of Darkness Trilogy. This dark fantasy series features an ancient prophecy, morally gray characters, and an ever-expanding world on the brink of destruction.
“A birthright is not a destiny… What must you surrender to meet yours?”
There Will Come A Darkness Spoiler Disclaimer- ONLY There Will Come A Darkness
If you have not read There Will Come A Darkness? First, stop here. There are spoilers for There Will Come A Darkness. Next, cancel all plans and go read There Will Come A Darkness RIGHT NOW. Third, come back and read my review of As the Shadow Rises. Then read As the Shadow Rises. Don’t worry when you have a heart attack.
THERE AREN’T ANY SPOILERS for As the Shadow Rises, which took some serious choice of wording and memes on my part. Ok. Flat out? It was hell.
Becky was a huge help because her review schooled me. It is funny how some of the buddy reads are starting to show up in our reviews.
Last, here is Becky’s Review, which is incredible
Here is Lili’s amazing review!
Here is Maddie’s Amazing Review!
And so you don’t just have to take my word for it. (All containing spoilers for There Will Come A Darkness)
Ok. That is your warning.
There Will Come A Darkness Only
As The Shadow Rises…So Does My Blood Pressure
If There Will Come a Darkness hit me like a bullet train, As the Shadow Rises
put me on the bullet train. It put me on a bullet train that was on fire, hurtling towards a cataclysmic impact that was destined to destroy my heart. My doctor says I’m not allowed to read Katy Rose Pool’s books anymore. I told him to go to hell and give me blood pressure medication because once you board this speeding death train, you can’t get off.
As the Shadow Rises picks up at the end of There Will Come a Darkness. And the struggle is real. Ephyra is chasing the chalice. Jude has no grace, the council might kick him out of the order, and Anton is straight-up confused and overwhelmed. Hassan is stalking Witnesses, Beru is attempting to atone at underground MMA fights, with what little life she has left from the stolen esha at the end of There Will Come a Darkness.
Each chapter has something to reveal, something to answer, and a new question to rise. There were so many possibilities and paths that Katy Pool set-up that it was impossible to put the book down.
Each cross-continental book discussion ranged from fun to shock to, why hasn’t Jude and Anton done it yet, to the deep philosophical questions over fate, destiny, and free-will. And of course, it always involved
Also, lots of…
OK, fine. Maybe that last one was just me.
Hey! Shuri! What was that you said?
Bless you Chad Boseman…
Katy Rose Pool built an expansive and dynamic world in There Will Come a Darkness. In the same vein, the Graced magic system was one of a kind, detailed, and purposed. There was no reason to believe or expect that either would become more expansive. Yet here it is and here we are.
Thank you to Henry Holt for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The world kept exploding off of each page. From deserts to an oasis, claustrophobic inducing undergrounds, and sweaty fighting pits. Pool brought each landscape to life without skipping a beat. The Graced, well, I’m not going to spoil anything, but let’s just say that there is a lot more to it, depths that are explored, doors (figurative) that are unlocked. And with each, come challenges, revelations, and growth. All of it comes together to make one hell of a ride for the characters and readers.
A Moment For Indiana Jones
Look I have some love for Indiana Jones. There was so much action in As the Shadow Rises that it could be marketed as an easy way to burn weight. I was out of breath and sweating the whole time. But can I just have a minute to talk about Ephyra and Illya’s journey? Cause I was completely in love with everything. I’m not spoiling anything here. I’m just saying that if you like that kind of action (and not just one movie in particular, but some of each), then you will love their journey to pieces.
And it is fitting because this is you and the characters trying to get to the end with Pool throwing everything but the kitchen sink at you…
Themes were incredibly heavy in There Will Come a Darkness, but it didn’t weigh it down. Not only did Pool build on them in As the Shadow Rises, but there were additions. We kept walking down the free will vs. destiny path while adding in acceptance (of yourself and others), ethics, and figuring that like Billy Joel says, just because you can see when you are wrong? You also need to see when you are right.
“You burned your Grace out deliberately?” His eyes roved over the Witness, taking in the scars. “Why?”
“To purify myself of its corruption,” he answered. “And to prove that I am the most loyal of the Hierophant’s followers… The flames destroyed me and remade me. I emerged from them brand-new, pure and whole at last.”
Next up, you have grief, support and when does support become enabling? The idea of letting go because when you don’t know how to let go, you can make things a whole lot worse. Also, atonement and forgiveness. For yourself, and for others. These themes didn’t just stop at how we normally perceive them, but also the idea of grief when you lose pieces of yourself, or what you consider foundational parts of your life. Can faith save you? Can you maintain faith when something that was a core piece of is disrupted? And then that disruption is disrupted, and then twisted, and… well you get the idea.
Outside of Hassan (but I think that is set-up for the final book in The Age of Darkness), who’s arc isn’t as developed, our returning characters grow spectacularly. And as they should. They deserve it after everything Pool throws at them from the beginning of the book. Jude is battling self-doubt while having obstacles galore, secrets, and his feelings for Anton all being thrown at him, at once. Jude is fighting what everyone around him expects of him, what he expects of himself, and weighing it against what he actually wants for himself. And if he even knows what that is, what it means, and if he is ok to think it.
Anton doesn’t know how to handle his role as prophet, let alone that the only person he trusts is the person he isn’t supposed to be with. Being the last prophet isn’t easy. It isn’t something anyone could be ready for and everyone, including Anton has no problem saying he ain’t ready for it over and over again. But Anton has to find his feat for himself, for Jude, at times. And whether he is ready or not? He is the last prophet, and if he doesn’t figure out all of what he was running from in There Will Come A Darkness, there is no hope.
Because they call them growing pains for a reason- good or bad- they hurt.
Ephyra is still fighting to keep her sister alive despite Beru making it perfectly clear that she doesn’t want anything to do with that life anymore, nor Ephyra to be a part of murdering in her name. But still, Ephrya is chasing down the chalice that she discovers a map to at the end of There Will Come A Darkness in order to save Beru for good.
The best part of all of this? Through the character interactions, we often find out more about how each is growing than through their own. How Jude and Anton grow together tells us more than each apart. Illya and Ephyra’s dynamic is strange, insane, and just out of nowhere refreshing. Also, some downright honest shit that I can’t even get into because of spoilers. There is another pair but again… spoilers.
As if I haven’t damn near gushed over Pool’s brilliance enough, here’s the thing. Among all this heaviness? There are some damn fine moments of dry-wit, sarcastic, out of nowhere, snotty-giggly-juice out of your nose moments throughout As the Shadow Rises. Towards the end, there is one part between two characters that was so damn funny and so unexpected I may go back to it a million times. And when the third book is out? I am going to have to talk about it just because I can’t, now.
Also, on a general note, without spoilers. There are some damn fantastic moments of pure spit-fire honesty from characters when they start reuniting when they are just like:
…and they are catching up on not just— you- as in you the person but you, the role they play in the plot. It is like everyone knows everyone but doesn’t at the same time. Maybe that doesn’t make sense now because I can’t get specific but remember this, read it, and come back. Maybe, if I remember, I’ll label this after the series is over or something because it would be HYSTERICAL. OK. Fine. I think it would be hysterical.
Also, at one point, someone says (and I’m paraphrasing) … you know what after everything I’ve heard today? I’m just gonna go with you on this. That completely reminded me of:
It was so perfect, so honest and real that I died. It was exactly what I was thinking in my head (again that is a complete paraphrase as to not spoil anything) but it was just perfect timing, right characters. I cackled. Also at the very beginning of the book, I would like to give Beru a standing ovation for this, which I’m going to quote:
“Oh, for Keric’s sake,” Beru muttered, pushing herself between them. “You might as well take out your dicks and measure them.”
Frighteningly enough there is so much more I want to say or could say but I can’t. Just. Read it. At the end of the day, it is just a complete mind bend. If you don’t like it, throw it at me. I don’t even care. It is worth you taking the chance. Katy Rose Pool deserves it. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got without spoilers.
What would your Grace be?
The Grace of Sight- Being able to sense and locate people could help do good in the world, I think.
What would happen to your Grace on PMS?
If people start disappearing from the earth… -_-
If you liked… You will like As the Shadow Rises
If you want to go darker/older, I want to say the Nevernight series (this is not an easy series to do this with so shaddup), if you want to go younger, I’d say Dark Shores/Dark Skies
Part of me also wants to say Ink in the Blood, just because … I don’t even know why. I just do. Maybe Scavenge the Stars?
Maybe people should give their suggestions and thoughts!