Henry Saint shouldn’t exist. Every year on his birthday, he kills someone and takes their soul so that he may live another year. He is a darkling, not fairy… but not human either. Yet he is bound by the laws of both worlds. With a new King on the throne of Annwyn and the mortal world trying to rebuild after plagues killed so many, Henry seizes the opportunity to carve out a place of his own. He wants Detroit.
A spy without a soul…
Darah was Felan’s spy before he became King of Annwyn. Now he has one last mission for her. He wants her to join the darkling’s Court and discover what Henry’s endgame is. No one trusts the Banished when they gather in great numbers. As Darah gets drawn into Henry’s world she realizes he can give her the one thing she could never find in Annwyn—love. But is love worth betraying her King?
In the previous book, To Love a King, Ms Husk showed us just how truly soulless they really are and yet here, that idea is turned completely on its head as our hero needs a fresh soul every year just to survive! Yes, Henry Saint is neither human nor Fae and yet he is caught in the middle of the aftermath that the wars in Annwyn have created. Returning to Detroit, a place full of happy memories, he is disturbed to see the true devastation the plagues have caused. Henry wants to finally do something good and has set out to bring hope and prosperity to the survivors but not everyone trusts his motives.
In Annwyn, the rumours of an alternative Court being set up in the mortal realm cause grave concern. Is it really possible that all those exiled are rallying around a new leader? Darah has only recently started to convince the new King that her loyalty lies with him alone, but to prove it he sets her a challenge. Leave Annwyn and travel to Detroit to discover the true motives of the Darkling known as Henry Saint. Darah is hungry for recognition and a place at Court but totally unprepared for the strange feelings that arise as she learns more about Henry and his plans. She is unused to such openness and frankly stumped that Henry would allow her such access whilst knowing she's really there to spy on him. Will Henry convince Darah his motives are pure or will she betray him and be his ultimate downfall?
I enjoyed The Darkling Lord but have to admit it was a little short on action. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it left me wanting more. These fairies are portrayed as cold unemotional creatures who live to cause mischief and it's small wonder that those banished from their homeland ( known as Greys) seek to do harm and yet with Henry leading them, they are diverted into good works. I think what really surprised me was the emotion Ms Husk wrung from me as Henry faced the truth of the ultimate cost that Greys' pays when kept from Annwyn.
I didn't expect sadness and yet experienced it as Ms Husk, with just a few words, stole my breath. Yes, this is a romance and it all revolves around Henry and Darah. It's not an easy relationship to believe in but I could understand that Henry's joy of living would be attractive to Darah whose heart is starved of love. Theirs is a passionate relationship but it's not cut and dried as the choices of a lifetime are not easy to throw off.
It's not my favourite in the series as I'm left wondering about one or two loose ends but it's an entertaining story and I'd certainly recommend this series to those looking for a refreshingly different approach to stories about the Fae.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.