December 2, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Spoiler Free Review Of The Devastating, Soul Breaking Dark Heir (Dark Rise #2) By C.S. Pacat

Dark Heir (Dark Rise #2) By C.S. Pacat Summary

Goodreads summary of Dark Heir (Dark Rise #2) By C.S. Pacat (Review Below):

In this riveting sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel Dark Rise, Will and his allies have survived the Dark’s first assault, but at a terrible cost.

A new threat from the past is rising, and only a handful of heroes remain to fight. Pursued by dark forces, Will and his allies must leave the safety of the Hall and travel to the heart of the ancient world, making new and dangerous alliances and revealing the shocking secrets of the past.

But Will is carrying a dark secret of his own—his true identity. Drawn to the beautiful and deadly James St. Clair, Will is pulled ever deeper into the web of the past and finds himself tempted by the darkness within. As the ancient world threatens to return, can Will and his friends fight their fate? Or will the truths they learn tear their world apart?

Dark Heir is the explosive and highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dark Rise from the global phenomenon C. S. Pacat.


Dark Heir (Dark Rise #2) By C.S. Pacat Review

When I said that Dark Rise  (review linked) was the most challenging review I’ve ever written, I underestimated its sequel, Dark Heir, by C.S. Pacat (Teaser Tuesday linked). So, there are four disclaimers I’m going to put up front.

1) This review will not live up to Dark Heir, but I will do my best- not a five reasons to read because, like Starling House by Alix E. Harrow (review linked), that is impossible.

2) There are spoilers for Dark Rise but not for Dark Heir.

3) If I put a lot of quotes in this review, it is because no matter how much I talk about C.S. Pacat’s writing, only showing it can do any justice.

4) If I repeat things I said about Dark Rise, it is only because the brilliance carries over and goes even a step further

-Which, by the way, I never thought was possible.

Having said that, let’s get on it. And speaking of getting on it, Dark Heir wastes no time getting down to business. I’m not even talking about the action, although it does kick off from the beginning. Let’s talk about the emotional weight of Dark Heir that steps up from Dark Rise.

Let’s start with a little reminder of how Dark Rise ended between James and Will. Will now knows he is the Dark King, and James always believed he’s fate was to follow the Dark King. But not knowing that Will is the Dark King, he believes he is now free. Will knows better.

‘I thought Simon would bring the Dark King back. I thought the collar would close around my throat. I never thought I’d be free to choose my future. But I am… But I don’t want to follow them,’ said James. ‘ I want to follow you.’ Will said, ‘Of course you do.’

Thank You To Quill Tree Books And HarperAudio for an advanced copy of Dark Heir (Dark Rise #2) By C.S. Pacat, which releases on November 14th.

Dark Heir picks up right from there, with an added layer. While we were often in Will’s head during Dark Rise, now we are privy to how the revelation of being the Dark King is tearing him apart. Readers knowing how he is being pulled apart, while those closest to him don’t know, make the emotional stakes even higher. Moreover, it makes knowing that an explosion is coming that will tear everyone, and you, apart. Even as Will is determined to fight the darkness off, his relationships with those he held dear, who didn’t know, are held precariously on a rope.

He heard Violet say it with no hesitation. They’d kill him or die trying. There was no acceptance waiting for him on the otherside of that revelation. The others could never know. He was the Dark King, but he could refuse his fate.

The entirety of a chapter (I won’t say which) plays into how much James and Will are alike, yet how much in the dark James is about Will. They had both been saved by complete opposites of the spectrum. The Stewards had saved Will while Simon had saved James. Will now wants desperately to work to avenge the destruction of the Stewards, and James thinks he is free as he runs from Simon. Yet, James is running right into the destiny he never wanted, following Will, the Dark King.

Can you see why I’m putting all these quotes in the review? C.S. Pacat’s writing is, once again, perfectly fitted for the tone of Dark Heir. The rhythm, word choice, and flow of C.S. Pacat’s writing takes a plot that is already ready to destroy you and brings it right off the page. Her writing shines even when the emotions aren’t running high because of Will’s torment.

‘My Queen,’ he said. ‘I am your champion…’ Her frown deepended ‘If I’m your queen, or whatever, you have to do as I say… I don’t have to do anything with you… You are going to shutup and not kill anyone, and not say anything else in that weird language.’

Of course, the Dark Rise series without C.S. Pacat takes your dark-heart reader expectations, ripping them up and spitting them out. In Dark Heir, she has no fuck bucks to give for our feelings. By the book’s first quarter, you have possession of one body by another’s soul and death.
Summary Review

Because… C.S. Pacat.

I’ve talked a lot about Will and James (who I came to love in Dark Heir). However, none of the characters are left out to dry. Violet, Elizabeth, Cyprian Devon, and Sarah continue developing through a character arc that never stutters between Dark Rise and Dark Heir. Visander also has an intricate piece of the story that evolves perfectly throughout Dark Heir.

Lastly, I have to talk about worldbuilding. C.S. Pacat does a fantastic job building out the Old World and its history. Multiple settings carry over from Dark Rise or are new to Dark Heir. All of them shift perspectives and/or build out to more expansive, impressive landscapes. All the while building out the mythology of the Old World, connecting the relevance to the plot.

With that, and before I write a review as long as Dark Heir, I have to reiterate that this review does not do Dark Heir any justice. I am dying to see what the third installment will entail. Speaking of which, the ending of Dark Heir? <Dead>

C.S. Pacat

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