Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alison Sinclair - Darkborn

For the Darkborn, sunlight kills. For the Lightborn, darkness is fatal. Living under a centuries-old curse, the Darkborn and the Lightborn share the city of Minhorne, coexisting in an uneasy equilibrium but never interacting. When Darkborn physician Balthasar Hearne finds a pregnant fugitive on his doorstep just before sunrise, he has no choice but to take her in. Tercelle Amberley's betrothed is a powerful Darkborn nobleman, but her illicit lover came to her through the daytime. When she gives birth to twin boys, they can see, something unheard of among the Darkborn. When men come for the boys, Balthasar is saved by the intervention of his Lightborn neighbor--and healed by the hands of his wife, Telmaine. Soon he finds himself drawn deeper into political intrigue and magical attacks, while Telmaine must confront a power she can no longer keep sheathed in gloves, a power she neither wants nor can control.

Comment: I've had this book for quite some time and it seemed it was never a good day to start it, but this month I said to myself I had to get on with it.
This is a fantasy novel, the first of a trilogy, where a curse 800 years ago divided people into races: the Darkborn that can't abide light and only leave their houses after sunset and the Lightborn, who can't leave the light even inside their homes.
There are more differences between them, specially on their views of how a woman should act in society and about the need and meaning of magic. Of course, there's more to it than this, but in a simplistic way, this is it. However, some Darkborns have magic, but most of them hide it because it's not socially acceptable.
In this book we learn more about the Darkborn, obviously, but the following books present more information about the other races, I'm sure.

The story begins with a Darkborn aristocratic lady asking for help in Balthazar's door because she is about to give birth and she fears for her life because the father is someone who came to her during the day and when she is engaged to be married to a powerful man and she thinks if he finds out she will be disgraced.
From here, we start meeting new characters that seem to have a very important role int he developing story. Some of them don't seem to matter that much, but everyone will play a key role in something or other during the curse of the plot. I liked most characters because although we get to see them act and thus getting used to their thoughts and behavior, there's always a sense of mystery surrounding them which makes them interesting and alive.
Balthazar is a sweet man, caring and always wanting to help others. He doesn't have magic but he is a doctor and tries to help that way, not caring about social status although he is married to a woman in high society.
Telmaine is his wife, at first she looked like a silly bimbo, but looks can be deceiving.
Then there's Baron Ishamael, he isn't liked by the society because he has magic and lives close to the shadowlands, a place where there's too much darkness, the bad kind at that.
These three are the main characters and we see things from all of their POV's. This allowed us to see different things happening in the plot and also made possible for us to sympathize with all of them.

To be very honest, the beginning is a bit boring but I think it's natural, new world and all that. But from a certain point in the story - not very late - I got very curious and eager to read more not only about character development but also the story, which becomes very interesting as long as it moves along. I'm actually very surprised by how much I liked it, considering the time it took me to get to it.
There's a mystery, like I said, and the solution was a surprise. I think the author has done a great job in the world's built up and in the character's descriptions. I'm going to get the rest of the trilogy soon.

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