I was kindly sent a free copy of this book for a review by the publisher Austin Macauley.  'The Demon Within' by Byron Nadgie is a dark fantasy horror:

In the remote mountain range of Iltar, Mauread and her son are cast out of their home by her father.  He can feel the great evil that is coming, the great evil that curses the Erlom bloodline, so he sends Mauread away to protect her.  But the Dark Demon Lord, a being of pure evil and great power, needs Mauread’s son.  With her son and the use of dark magic, he can unleash horror and destruction upon the world.

‘The Demon Within’ is the first book of ‘The Dark Orb Prophecies’.  Classed as a fantasy horror, it’s a large book with almost twice as much text per page so although marked as a 304 page novel it feels more like 600.  A lot happens in this book but you are met with the horror from the end of the first chapter.  The story begins with Mauread and her son fleeing the Iltar but it soon jumps to a different location with different characters.  Told in the third person I’m used to books that jump around to different scenes involving unrelated characters but this book had me confused after a while.

There are a lot of unrelated characters whose paths do not cross until well into the second half of the book, if at all.  When a chapter or two focus on one scene you spend so long on reading about those characters and what’s happening to them that I began to forget some of the others I’d already read about.  This was perhaps because of many of the characters at first were very similar.  Commanders of different kingdoms all had similar personalities and no physical description about them to separate them in my mind.  As the story went on though and some of the characters either died or changed (I won’t reveal more than that!) it became easier to remember.

The world is complete fantasy and there are two maps at the beginning of chapter two and three.  The second kingdom is focused very much on traditional Japanese culture and at times there were such detailed descriptions of the individual robes and rituals that it felt like the author was showing just how much knowledge he had of this culture.

The plot is actually very good.  The tone of the entire book is set in that first chapter.  Magic is something that possesses people and is hated by society.  There are no short sharp sentences that thriller novels have but you really feel the tension and horror and I’m surprised how many times I flinched at what happened to some characters.  This book is certainly not for those that don’t like reading gory details of attacks and death.

Despite my criticisms I really got into the book after a while.  I really enjoyed the whole story especially the darker it got.  There is no way to tell what will happen next and the story is unpredictable throughout.  Certain characters die and others change and all done with gruesome horror.  I have to admit I do like a dark novel and in this way it doesn’t disappoint!

There is some swearing in the book, use of the f word as well as milder but it’s rarely used.  There are also dark scenes of death and assault which would be unsuitable for younger readers, though more mature teens might enjoy this.

Overall this is a great book but being book one it doesn’t have much of an ending.  All the characters are still in the middle of the action and you have to wait for book two to see what will happen next.  There are also a few editing issues which make reading it less enjoyable, but for all the bad I still award this an overall 4 stars.  I really like the dark plot and for anyone wanting to pick up the first in an epic horror fantasy I would still recommend the read.

 

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