Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
304 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

Confronted with the loss of all they know, the powerful Mages of two warring factions band together to appeal to dark forces to save their world in Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer. In this cataclysmic time, Braden Reis, Ambassador to Aerysius from Caladorn and Grand Master of the Sixth Tier of the Lyceum, is the only one who seems to be in a position to prevent the rise of Xerys, God of Chaos. Unfortunately, no one can be trusted and it is only the love he shares with Sephana Clemley, a Third Tier Master from the Hall at Rhen, that gives him the strength to try. Faced with shadowy beings and the results of secret dealings, Braden and Sephana stand firm in their refusal to allow the combined council of Mages to open the Well of Tears, gateway to the Netherworld, to balance the power of the magic fields so that they can maintain their hold over the rest of humanity. Braden himself holds terrible secrets and a fractured relationship with his brother is at the root of most of his issues. Will the end of times bring them together or will the powers of darkness cloud everyone’s judgement?

In classic epic form, M.L. Spencer has written an engaging and heart wrenching tale of love, loss, deceit and desperation in Darkstorm. This prequel to the dark epic fantasy series, The Rhenwars Saga, details the divisions of power in the realm and how the power of the Mages affected the course of human events. There is tremendous passion on both the personal and universal levels that draws you in and breaks your heart as you cheer for the good guys, but then realize you can’t really tell who is who at times or even if bad is really good. Vivid descriptions, deep emotions and a well-defined world make Darkstorm a story that you find yourself believing is quite real and all the more intense.

K.C. Finn

Darkstorm is a paranormal fantasy novel by author M.L. Spencer, prequel to Darkmage and the first book of the Rhenwars Saga. In Darkmage, Darien Lauchlin faced a world of mages, warfare and carnage, and now Darkstorm takes readers back a thousand years to see how this world was formed. The story centers on the desperate decision of Zavier Renquist to protect the magic of his land in the only way he knows how. This dark deed can only be prevented by magical duo Sephana and Merris, who are accompanied by their somewhat dubious protectors, Braden and Quinlan Reis. Their fate and that of the whole realm is at stake as we begin an epic journey in a far off land.

The opening to Darkstorm raises many interesting questions as to the fate of a particular character, an intrigue which kept me guessing for a very long time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the portrayals of Merris and Sephana, two distinctly original female characters who break down many of the traditional roles that epic fantasy would usually see them play. Each of them is capable yet compassionate, strong, resourceful and intelligent in their separate ways, which I found highly refreshing in a novel of this genre. M.L. Spencer writes with highly readable and descriptive prose that moves the story along at an excellent pace, displaying the full gamut of human emotions through the trials and triumphs that her characters face. Fans of epic fantasy will find Darkstorm an excellent starting point in this thrilling series.

Tracy A. Fischer

In an interesting and unique tale by author M.L. Spencer, Darkstorm is certainly a book that will take readers on an epic journey. A battle is brewing between two Assemblies of mages, and nations are on the brink of war. Zavier Renquist was forced to use demonic means to protect the legacy of magic, and the only mages who stand a chance of defeating him are Sephana Clemley, her acolyte Merris Bryar, and their protectors, a pair of brothers with a dark history of their own, Braden and Quinlan Reis. Will the brothers be able to protect Sephana and Merris while they work to stop the work of Renquist, or will their failure lead to the doom of them all?

I very much enjoyed Darkstorm. This book was a fast read. I couldn’t stop reading it once I started, and found myself reading well into the night when I had originally intended to read only a few chapters. Author M.L. Spencer has done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will be able to connect to and care about, and in a work of fantasy this can certainly be a challenge. The author’s world-creation abilities are second to none, and she has done a great job in providing a cohesive and very exciting storyline. I am pleased to recommend Darkstorm to any reader who enjoys a great work of fantasy. I am excited to read more from this promising author in the near future and certainly hope that she is already working on the next installment right now!