The Dark That Dwells

Fiction - Science Fiction
518 Pages
Reviewed on 03/03/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Dark That Dwells by Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy is a science fiction novel that takes you across the universe where there is action, adventure and a fight to live. What do you think will happen to civilization when the world is all but destroyed? Rebuilding a life is not easy, so when someone is born different in such an environment, you can expect things to be a little difficult for them. Such is the case with Sidna Orin. She is different than most people around her. She is a young arcanist who is trying to find power and strength so that she can protect her people from the ones who want to destroy them. Sidna is special; she can wield both lightning and fire and she needs to control these powers before it is too late. She knows that her future is paved with darkness and adversaries that are far more powerful than her, but she has faith in her powers. Can she gain control of her powers before it is too late for her and her people?

I love it when a science fiction novel is complicated enough to keep me entertained and simple enough so that I don’t have to twist my tongue to pronounce the protagonist’s name correctly. Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy have done a great job at world-building, at creating some excellently driven characters and ensuring that everything ties up well. The descriptions are phenomenal, the imagery is vivid and the characters are carefully woven to be as complex and as realistic as possible. While there are multiple characters in the story with multiple points of view, I enjoyed Sidna and Ban the most. They had a very compelling story that was executed wonderfully. I was immersed and ready to learn more the moment they were introduced. The Dark That Dwells is a great start to a new series and I have high hopes for it to be one of the best. Very intricate and complex. I enjoyed this book a lot.

Caitlin Lyle Farley

In The Dark That Dwells by Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy, Arcanist Sidna searches for a priceless artifact in treacherous tunnels and Aeturnian Ranger, Fall Arden, prepares to journey beyond the civilization of Fathom space and into the Frontier as a guide for the crew of the expedition ship, Morning Rain. Ban, an Alidian Bond-sergeant, and his squad are supposed to be distracting the defenders of a small base on a wintry moon when the operation goes wrong in the worst possible way. Tieger of Westmarch, Malleus Maleficarum of the Elcos religious order, is also searching for arcanist witches to burn in the violent flames of Elcos, and a shard that will lead him to a source of unholy power and, with any luck, the Arcanist’s hidden world of Endi.

Rich world-building and intense action sequences abound in this unique blend of space opera and epic fantasy elements. Digman and Roddy breathe new life into the sci-fi genre by including a sense of the mystical in the strangeness of travel through Rift space, the inexplicable Never, and the seemingly magical power wielded by Tieger and Sidna. The characters are complex, if a little stiff around the edges, with convincing motivations that tend to the darker aspects of personality in Ban and Tieger’s cases. Although the highly visual descriptions paint a clear and detailed picture of people and events, they tend to be a little heavy-handed and this drags at the pacing. Exciting fight sequences do much to compensate for the slow start and the gradual interweaving of plot elements leads to a thrilling and shocking conclusion in The Dark That Dwells by Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy.

K.C. Finn

The Dark That Dwells is an intense and immensely entertaining work of science fiction and space opera penned by author duo Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy. Fans of science fiction television series with large ensemble casts and plenty of planetary drama are certain to adore this epic-length adventure that takes its readership through several episodes of action. Four central characters lead the way, diverse and complementary in their personalities and skills. Each of them has a past that has given them scars and marks out the path of their future, and when they collide, it makes for truly explosive interpersonal drama and some very exciting quests to be fulfilled.

As a huge fan of Warhammer, Star Trek and Firefly, this novel really did have it all for me. There is some moderate language and violence which makes the book more suitable for older teens and up, but any science fiction fan can pick up this excellent work and find something to satisfy them within its immense and varied adventures. Author duo Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy have their pacing down to a tee, and the dialogue is distinctive for each character, capturing the atmosphere of their moments to shine. I particularly loved Tieger for his wild fanaticism, and Ban Morgan is a character who fascinated all the way through for his hidden history. Overall, The Dark That Dwells is a stellar work of space opera that is sure to tick all the boxes for fans of high drama and plenty of sci-fi adventure.

Liz Konkel

The Dark That Dwells by Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy is an exciting science fiction adventure that weaves together the lives of strangers for an unforgettable battle. Sidna will do whatever it takes to regain knowledge that will save her people, no matter the risk to her own life. Fall embarks on a job as a guide to explore unchartered lands along with his most trusted ally, Hermes, as they make a surprising discovery that could change everything. Ban works to confront his past when old ghosts surface that might be the key to his own redemption and faces a dangerous threat. Tieger harbors a source of power that continues to grow as he gets closer to fulfilling a dark plan for the galaxy.

This delightful adventure has everything that makes for an epic science fiction romp that takes you along for a grand battle. The story is character-driven with a cast of strong voices as each of the characters has significant wants and agendas that give the plot plenty of suspenseful twists. Each character has a solid arc that Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy weave throughout the chaos and adventures so you get to know each of these characters as individuals and really connect with them. Hermes is a shape-shifting being that interacts with various characters throughout the story and is a wise little creature that often shares advice with the others that helps each of them to move forward. He’s also one of the characters that voice the theme to not give in to hatred as the darkness could control you, taken both literally and figuratively throughout.

As Digman and Roddy bring the threat of literal darkness to life, the characters must also confront their own personal darkness. The world they’ve created is so vast that it pulls you in through intricate details that give this world life. As the characters dig further into the mysteries all around them, they’re introduced to worlds unlike anything they have ever seen, which includes stunning places within crystals. The Dark That Dwells is an epic story ideal for readers that crave an intricate and rich science fiction adventure.

Christian Sia

The Dark That Dwells by Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy is a character-driven story with an intricate plot and a setting that transports readers across the planets. Readers encounter complex characters, each in pursuit of a mission fraught with challenges. It is a world of advanced technology, one that features a wide galaxy that is about to be torn apart by war. To save her people, Sidna Orin, a young woman, sets out to find secret knowledge, racing against time and facing impossible odds. Ban Morgan is an ex-marine with a past that haunts him, but in possession with a powerful weapon, can he find redemption? Then there is Fall Arden, a mercenary for hire and Tieger of Westmarch who is in possession of the most feared starship across the galaxy and generations.

Matt Digman and Ryan Roddy have crafted a novel that grips the reader and entertains them with sophisticated characters and prose that is enjoyable. I normally don’t enjoy novels written by more than one author as I guess there can be issues with the plot. But The Dark That Dwells has an interesting plot, filled with strong and dramatic moments. There is a level of unpredictability in the story that creates suspense and makes the reader want to turn from page to page. The story is told from different viewpoints and the reader is absorbed into the narrator’s worldview, which is ingeniously handled. This is a breezy read filled with strong imagery and characters that are believable.