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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
In Dark Prisoner: The Kruthos Key (The Dark Prisoner Series, Book 1) by D. Thomas Jerlo, Suna Di’Viao, the last of the Divenean race, blames herself for the death of her king and queen. Without them, incessant fighting for the throne scars the kingdom. She lives in isolation for years as self-inflicted punishment, but is mysteriously summoned to embark on a dangerous quest that she can’t refuse. A retired general named Feran Lambert is also summoned to share the burden of the quest with Suna. The catalyst of this ominous journey is the demon lord Balthazar, who has commanded his minions, Isafel and Ilio, to get the Kruthos and its key to free him from his imprisonment. It's a race against time to find the Kruthos Key and the first one who finds it will determine the fate of the world.
Jerlo’s world building is detailed and unique. The descriptions of places are evocative and it doesn’t take much effort to imagine yourself in the heart of the cities or woods of Etharia, following the protagonists on their ominous quest. The solid characterization gives readers a strong sense of characters' emotions, personalities and complexities, making both main and secondary characters alive and believable. Suna is an easy character to root for. On the other hand, it took me a while to warm up to Feran. The antagonists, particularly the demon Isafel, are well-written and personified. The well-structured plot gives the story a good depth with all the politics, magic, mystery, sinister schemes and conflicts. Simply put, I enjoyed this debut from The Dark Prisoner Series and look forward to seeing how the story continues.