Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
337 Pages
Reviewed on 05/10/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

M.L. Spencer was born in Southern California and grew up on the works of Steven R. Donaldson, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen.

By day she works as a biology teacher; by night she sweats over a beaten-up keyboard. Her novel Darkmage won the Indie-Reader Discovery Award for Fantasy.

Her favorite authors are Robert Jordan, C.S. Friedman, George R.R. Martin, David Eddings, Patrick Rothfuss, and Terry Goodkind.

M.L. Spencer won 1st Place Prose in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration and the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Darklands by M.L. Spencer is an extraordinary fantasy with exceptional characters, a huge conflict involving a people’s cry for freedom, and magic, and redemption. Meet Darien, a prodigy who once sold his soul to a dark god whose bidding he is now compelled to do. Now the arduous task of saving the people of the Dark Lands is entrusted to him. He has to deal with the hatred of the people, handle his own inner demons, and face a curse that could destroy him? Can he become the man he is called to be and lead his people to true freedom? Book Three of the Rhenwars Saga, this story explores the themes of self-discovery and freedom, amongst many others. Darien is a sophisticated character in whom multiple worlds open for readers.

One of the things I enjoyed enormously about M.L. Spencer’s work is the beauty of the language. The words seem to flow from a place of energy, a place of magic, and they ring through with an appeal that is irresistible. The prose is nothing but exquisite and it is sprinkled with powerful descriptions and intelligently crafted dialogues. There is a permeating sense of darkness about the setting, the barrenness of it staring the reader defiantly in the eyes. The characters are plucked from a dream world, a place where our fantasies take root. I enjoyed Darien and the transformation taking place within him. There is a beautiful lesson about this fantasy — that painful experiences awaken us and shape us into the persons we are meant to be. The complex plot, coupled with the exciting setting and the memorable characters make Darklands a perfect read for fans of fantasy.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Darien’s world changed the moment he decided to sacrifice himself for the one that he loved most and the people who supported him. But now it seems that his sacrifice may have been for nothing at all, as he finds himself back in the conflict, but on the other side of the war. The carnage he died to stop is back yet again and it’s up to him to find a way to stop it without betraying his oaths to either side. But is it possible? And does he really care if it is? And what about the woman he loved so much that he sacrificed his very soul to save her? Will Meiran ever understand what he did? Will she even care? Darklands by M.L. Spencer may not even be able to answer all of these questions.

This is a story not about redemption, but about sacrifice and honor and what many will do to preserve their own honor, whether it might be right or wrong. The characters in this story are definitely flawed, and you may find yourself rooting for the ones that aren’t actually ‘good’ after all (or maybe they are?). Darklands by M.L. Spencer is a story of good and evil, but there’s no definite understanding of what (or who) those things might be. I loved this book and I’ll be looking for more to find out what’s going to happen next for the Rhen, the Black Lands, Azar, Quin, Darien and a whole lot more. Because you never know what might happen next.

Christian Sia

M.L. Spencer’s Darklands is a beautiful, dark story, the third book in the epic Rhenwars Saga. Darien is a character that readers will love to follow, a man who has sold his soul to the demon and who is on a mission to lead his people and save them from a terrible curse. The people of the Dark Lands do not particularly love him, and coupled with his internal conflict, reconciling with dread truths about himself and the land, the protagonist has a lot on his plate. Read as he overcomes obstacles, faces his demons, and learns to trust in himself.

Darklands is a tantalizing read with numerous plot points that will interest readers. It will appeal to readers who are into dark fantasies. The author did a brilliant job in exploring the psychology of the protagonist and readers will enjoy navigating the complex mind and dark soul of the protagonist. The writing is exceptional, highly descriptive and loaded with passages of vivid imagery. The story is strongly built around the conflict, which is powerful and sophisticated, pulling the reader irresistibly in and compelling them to want to watch out for the denouement. I love books that take me into strange and exciting places, books that literally transport me into the inner workings of the protagonist’s mind, and M.L. Spencer’s offering is just that. The setting is epic, captured in its lofty detail, a land where evil hovers. This is an exciting and entertaining read and I couldn’t help imagining the images on screen. Looking forward to the next book in the series.