The Dark Lords Stir

Evil Arising Cycle, Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
360 Pages
Reviewed on 06/28/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Dark Lords Stir is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, adventure, and supernatural subgenres, and forms the first novel in the Evil Arising Cycle series. It is intended for the general adult reading audience with some scenes of war-like fantasy violence and was penned by author S. M. Doll. We follow the exploits of the central protagonist, Daniel Manslayer, a man with a price on his head and very little in the way of lasting relationships or emotional ties to the world around him. In the Lands of Chaos, Daniel thinks he may find freedom, but what transpires is a new adventure that will involve him more deeply than he could ever have imagined.

Epic fantasy often walks a fine line between its grand, sweeping vistas and world-ending plots and the intricacies of the individual characters who make up the bigger picture. Author S. M. Doll has achieved an excellent balance in a relatively concise fantasy work, enmeshing these two elements so that each continually informs and develops the other and makes you feel like you’re entering a fully realized story world. I enjoyed the presentation and development of Daniel, from his flaws and vulnerabilities to his awesome potential as an action-packed hero in a high-stakes game of life and death. The atmospheric writing also offers a superb cinematic background to the action, which only serves to keep readers turning the pages faster and getting more and more immersed. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Dark Lords Stir for fantasy fans everywhere seeking an accomplished new novel, and indeed series, to get into.

Samantha Gregory

The Dark Lords Stir: Evil Arising Cycle, Book 1 by S. M. Doll is the story of Daniel Manslayer, a young man who has a bounty on his head. Prize seekers are looking to cash in on it and he is constantly on the run. The story opens with Daniel being attacked in the tavern where he is sleeping. It seems he can trust no one and has to find a place where he will be safe. He travels to the Lands of Chaos, which despite the name, is where he hopes he can lose himself. Though he thinks he will be better off on his own, he soon learns that is not always the case. With new challenges waiting for him in the Lands of Chaos, Daniel is going to have to fight harder than ever if he wants to survive.

S. M. Doll has written an interesting tale with The Dark Lords Stir. The book grabs your attention from the first page with the attack on Daniel. You get to see how he reacts to this and he comes across as a very capable person. However, the fight is taking its toll on him and you do feel for him constantly struggling. The story moved at a good, steady pace and the author has created an imaginative and vivid world. I would like to read more in the series, as I feel The Dark Lords Stir has the potential to continue. I think it would appeal to epic fantasy fans and I would recommend it.

Anelynde Smit

The Dark Lords Stir by S.M. Doll is an epic fantasy adventure novel. It follows various characters as they get ready for the upcoming prophecy to be fulfilled. Three hundred years will pass before a new queen will take over the Land of Chaos and restore peace among its people. Our story focuses on Daniel, the teamster and Manslayer with his magical sword. A sword that can only be wielded by royalty or someone from the royal family. Daniel isn’t alone. Valkar and the prize seekers are constantly following him to kill him. Our story also focuses on Alssa the warrior princess and her ascent to the throne of the Three Sisters. As she makes her way to the Land of Chaos, they are attacked. Will Daniel escape the clutches of Valkar? Will the prophecy come true? Will there be peace in the Land of Chaos?

The Dark Lords Stir by S.M. Doll is a beautifully painted picture of a distant land you could only dream about with well-written fight scenes and intricately detailed descriptions of the lands and surroundings. One could easily see this turned into a feature film. I loved the character of Daniel. His scenes were very action-packed and the mysterious blade he carried was thrilling to read about. I also loved the warrior women of the Three Sisters kingdom, the epic battle near the border and the tricks pulled by Megan to secure her place and that of her niece on the throne. A non-stop thrill ride from start to finish and definitely a story you can and want to get lost in. I highly recommend this book for adventure seekers.