Book Review : The Shattered Vigil
The Darkwater Saga #2
By Patrick W. Carr
Victory over the dark forces during the feast of Bas-solas should have guaranteed safety for the continent. Instead, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover they’ve been outsmarted by those seeking to unleash the evil that inhabits the Darkwater. Jorgen, the member of the Vigil assigned to Frayel, has gone missing, and new attacks have struck at the six kingdoms’ ability to defend themselves.
Just when the Vigil thought they had quenched the menace from their enemy in Collum, a new threat emerges: assassins hunting the Vigil, men and women who cannot be seen until it’s too late. The orders of the church and the rulers of the kingdoms, fearing the loss of the Vigil’s members altogether, have decided to take them into protective custody to safeguard their gift. On Pellin’s orders, the Vigil scatters, leaving Willet to be taken prisoner by the church in Bunard.
In the midst of this, Willet learns of the murder of an obscure nobleman’s daughter by one of the unseen assassins. Now he must escape his imprisonment and brave the wrath of the church to find the killer in order to turn back this latest threat to the northern continent. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
Carr continues to be one of my favorite authors. I like his world building because of the complexities, but also because it is logical. In The Shattered Vigil we learn more of the intricacies of the relationships within the Vigil. It seems that the distrust was building in such a way, that even without the evil forces working against them, the Vigil was at a breaking point. Books that work well have flawed characters. From The Shock of Night the reader discovers fairly early that Willet Dura is mad; he sees a priest for his spiritual guidance and the others recognize that there are no footprints other than Willet’s.
“‘There’s no one here.’ I murmured those same four words over and again in a voice small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.” (p. 30)
“Bolt came forward out of the shadows. ‘He deserves to know the truth of your experience, Lady Bronwyn, and he’s stronger than you think. Men are like swords, tempered by circumstance.” (p. 31)
Bronwyn has an ingrained distrust of men, Toria Deel is still reeling from the separation from the man she loved who betrayed his ideals, Pellin fully knows he isn’t as good with people as his brother had been as Eldest and Volsk wants redemption, though even he doesn’t feel that he is worthy. Each character, including those not listed, have a greater depth and humanity.
The understanding of the church also is extended in this novel. Here is the critical passage:
“…they were admited to the cathedral of the Pueri, or the Servants, as most people referred to them. Pellin stifled a centuries-old regret at the split of the church. Barely a score of years after the north-south split between the continents, led by the priest, Maren Wittendor, the Servants had been the first to split from the Merum. The absold and the Vanguard had split soon after.” (p.70)
Knowing that evil doesn’t just quit, the Vigil is on a hunt to better understand their enemy. All the ancient texts reveal no clue to the source of the evil that resides within the forest. They also need to understand how the Clast fits into the puzzle. Bronwyn, who has always loved the old children’s rhymes, has Custos searching for a connection to find out more about their enemy and how to defeat this growing evil. Custos discovery is unfathomable to the Vigil, and his knowledge is withheld masterfully by Carr until the final moments of the book.
The political forces within the northern kingdoms faces more pressure as the threat of the forest stretches unseen hands into their homelands. Even the kings and queens of the land are left stumbling for safety. The Vigil is the only hope, while they are also under attack and may soon cease to exist.
As a second novel, The Shattered Vigil, progresses the plot while developing the characters and increasing the intensity. So many second novels feel like a set-up for a grand finale, however, there is so much happening in this installment – think supernatural assassins – it feels like an important step in our progress to the end of the tale. I can hardly wait for the third book!
Sensitive readers need to know that there is a rape within the book. It is not graphically portrayed, but relies on the knowledge of what has happened and the characters dealing with the aftermath of the brutal experience.
As one more note, I am surprised that Carr’s novels are listed as Christian fiction because of the intense subject matter. Other ‘Christian’ novels I have read often feel like they are spun from sugar, without substance and a heavy dose of preaching. Carr never preaches; he just tells a good tale.
Thinking through this series again, I just bumped up the star power to five. You’ve got to read the last one to fully appreciate how Carr manages to bring the elements to a conclusion.
5 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
Fans of Brandon Sanderson will enjoy Patrick W. Carr’s books and vice-versa.
I would also recommend trying Cinda Williams Chima, The Demon King and Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron.