The world gathers on a precipice over chaos: In the West, the God-Emperor Cardolyn Tyier broods over his vast conquests and plots the subjugation of all other kingdoms. To the South, the Kalvonder plutocracy continues their bloody entertainments, too invested in small schemes, transient vices and petty ascensions to notice one of their own has a far grander design. From the East, a legion of paladins embarks on a crusade of holy conquest against the secluded Northlands, intent on supplanting the land’s sovereign deity and crushing it beneath their pantheon. But these are children’s squabbles, for a forgotten evil hides behind these conflicts, amassing power and guiding humanity toward the precipice. The world has had many names for it, but men always called it the Muntalabacs: Dread Lords. The Avenar know one has resurfaced. They can feel his quiet footsteps resounding across the world and heralding the renewed conflict between their families. The Avenar are spent, though, and will need whatever help they can find, be it from eccentrics, outcasts or madmen.
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Gwendolyn Rose - 5 stars
I love dark fantasy. Gritty and bleak. I love epic fantasy. Sprawling and richly detailed. Combine the two and I'm all in. This is the kind of world you can get lost in. I loved wading in the murky atmosphere. Though not leisurely, as it is intricate and you must activity engage to hold it all in your head. It is the kind of novel you can read more than once and will probably catch something that slipped by you. Well, I know I will anyway.
The attention for detail reaches into every aspect of the story from the settings and their dressings to the areas and their histories. There are some really neat systems in place with masters and souls that were chilling to imagine. The characters are also richly drawn and have slow burn arcs that you want to follow. Some more than others... Of course I have always loved a good villain and by good I mean dark. So that worked well for me too.
This will appeal to a broader fantasy fan as well as those who like to explore stories with darker leanings.
The Darkness That Slept is an unusual novel. It is fantasy; it is dark; it is gritty, but the level of writing rivals the one usually found in Deborah Harkness’s or Gavriel Kay’s novels. The tension raises slowly, creeping inside you by pulling many psychological strings. The world building is amazing and, most of the time, takes precedence over the story.
There are four threads of action, each following a main actor. I found the one related to the High Warden being the most rewarding - it is an enigmatic character, who fights against the evil to protect his land and his people. The only reason this novel has four stars and not five is Slade; it is very difficult to follow his arc of story.
This is a slow novel, with a high degree of complexity; the writing is philosophical at times, and if you don't like the style, you may not like the novel.
Readers who enjoy Lord of the Rings and similar epic quest adventures that embrace an emerging new land that challenges the psyches of its peoples will find The Darkness That Slept a gripping read. It's filled with action, insights, and confrontations between disparate forces in a world gone amok—a fitting read for a new generation of dark fantasy and sword and sorcery followers.
Midwest Book Reviews - Diane Donovan
K.C. Finn. 5 stars
The Darkness That Slept is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy genre. It is suitable for all ages and was penned by Keegan and Tristen Kozinski. Set in a rich fantasy world with factions preparing to make their moves for power and glory, all are unaware that a greater threat than each other is preparing to descend upon them. The Dread Lords have faded from history into legend, but now one of them has awoken and is seeding the conflicts necessary to weaken the land for their return. With those aware of the danger few in number, the world may be easy pickings for the returning darkness.
The Darkness That Slept is a captivating and unpredictable fantasy novel of epic proportions that will keep you on the edge of your seat. One of my favorite things about this novel was the author’s wealth of imagination that aided in crafting a world with depth and intrigue. I found both the plot and the characters to be immersive and well thought out, which made the book feel fully developed and three-dimensional. Authors Tristen and Keegan Kozinski balanced the intensity of the plot well, adding moments of humour that gave a nice break from the grittier parts of the novel. I look forward to reading further novels and would not hesitate to recommend this book to fans of epic and engaging fantasy novels and anyone looking for a book that will grip them and allow them to escape from reality for a while.
Rabia Tanveer. 5 stars
The Darkness That Slept by Tristen Kozinski and Keegan Kozinski is an epic fantasy where there is plenty of action and drama. What would you do if your world was destined to be destroyed in chaos? Things are changing, and it seems like no one is aware of it. The North is about to be taken over by the New Order comprised of demons and wizards. However, one of them is not so keen on the devastation the New Order is planning. Valeriius in the South is hungry for more power, while his gladiator hopes for anything that would stop this emptiness inside him. Some in the West are looking for more power while the rest are scrambling to save the world. Unbeknownst to them, evil is sitting on the outskirts, just waiting for the right moment to strike. No one is safe, not even their gods. Who will protect the world if it thrives on chaos?
The Darkness That Slept is an intricate story with a complex universe that the authors handled exceptionally well. It would have been so much easier for the story to get muddled and confusing, but Tristen and Keegan Kozinski masterfully directed the narrative to become cohesive. The worldbuilding is out of this world, and the atmosphere is suspenseful. While too many characters can be a little overwhelming, the authors made sure each character had enough page space for readers to connect with them. Out of all the characters, Dieharamon is my favorite. His existence is soulless, yet he craves anything that will make him feel something. I hated Slade with a passion and sympathized with Brimares. Brimares is my second favorite character. She is aware of her actions; she is ready to do whatever it takes to take a stand and fight for what she believes is right. Valeriius is despicable, and I hated him with a passion. The narrative is powerful, fast-paced, and entertaining; it leaves the reader wanting more and enjoying it at the same time. I hope there is a sequel because I have so many questions!
Susan Sewell. 5 stars
Gods are attacking the North, and the rest of the world is in chaos in the epic fantasy, The Darkness That Slept by Tristen Kozinski and Keegan Kozinski. After centuries of silence, a Dread Lord returns from the depths of obscurity to subjugate the world's inhabitants. Most of the planet's population is unaware of his presence, and everyone's way of life is in peril. Even worse, the High Warden of the Northland is earmarked for death, and the Elementals', Paladins', demons', and nobility's governing systems and cultures are in jeopardy. While each corner of the world is battling with its own conflicts, The Dread Lord Sinnitar Muntalabac's power continues to grow, and the ability of the earth's citizens to stop him is swiftly decreasing. In the meantime, the gods are attacking the barriers of the North. Can the earth withstand the clash of Darkness and Light? Will anyone survive the devastation?The Darkness That Slept by Tristen Kozinski and Keegan Kozinski is a sweeping epic fantasy with a sinister undertone. Divided into four plots, the story takes the reader on a wild and fantastic journey. Even though he is exceptionally wordy and complex, I absolutely adored Slade's character. He is enigmatic, charismatic, and quite humorous and diverting. His role is the perfect contrast to the bloody conflicts and horrifying sadistic practices of the other regions. I appreciated how Slade's character kept me wondering whether he was a villain or not. The Tragnashi Dieharamon and the Demoness Brimares characters are paradoxically easy to sympathize with and are surprisingly relatable. The plots are well-written, the characters nicely developed, and the story world is stunningly built. Although the book ends abruptly, it leaves the reader desiring more. This dramatic saga will delight fans of epic fantasies who enjoy intricate story worlds with dark psychological twists.
Steven Robson. 4 stars
The Darkness That Slept by Keegan and Tristen Kozinski delves into a land burdened by the malignant lust of gods, and powers seeking dominion over mortals striving to survive harsh realities. A land defined by the points of a compass, where the North is old beyond age and shepherded by the High-Warden, a being of incredible power, and the South is held in the vice of the Kalvonder, vile political animals wielding life or death over the Avaran inhabitants in an endless game of life. Seeking to bend these kingdoms to their will are the New Order, sweeping North from the East under the sway of the God Telacra, and Cardolyn Tyier, the Imperial Emperor, whose shadow from the West hazes over all the lands with a dire threat. Woven into the vastness of these mythical conflagrations are stories of individuals of equal antecedence; characters with their own stories, that may add their brush strokes to a widely varied canvas. Not even the Gods can know what the final picture resembles.
Keegan and Tristen Kozinski have, in The Darkness That Slept, assembled an entire world of awe and wonder, expressed by wordsmiths at a level to be admired by all. The plot and subplots are compelling, enriched by characters to sate the most demanding appetites; characters like Slade Lammerock, a brilliant blade in the guise of a jester, unpredictable and entertaining in equal measure, or Brimares, a demon to break the hearts of men, torn by the malice within and the hint of a past wrongful betrayal; my favorite of all. Given the nature of the story, relationships are less likely to develop when many are facing an uncertain future, however, those that did were nicely managed. There was wonderful chemistry in play between Slade and Tasha, and to a lesser extent with Feylin, which provided some truly entertaining moments. All told, this is a sweeping adventure of limitless scale, with action aplenty and powers of every shape and form, which will satisfy the most demanding of fans of mythological fiction.
The first thing to be said about The Darkness That Slept by Keegan and Tristen Kozinski is that they know how to write a compelling fantasy epic that dabbles in the themes of power, greed, corruption, and rebellion. Adding to this are the deep and thoughtful character motivations that are well-supplemented by action. At the pinnacle of power is the god-emperor Cardolyn Tyier, whose appetite for conquest is reminiscent of historical tyrants like Genghis Khan and Hitler. In the neighboring south, the Kalvonders enjoy spectacles of blood in their gladiatorial entertainments and are preoccupied with their self-interests and other indulgences. To the east, a legion of paladins is bent on a crusade for holy conquest against the Northlands that will largely remind you of the Crusades. Meanwhile, a formidable evil lurks as a Dread Lord walks among them once again and has the power to destroy everything.
There is a certain scale in fantasy epics that is sometimes difficult to pull off, but the Kozinkis have done it without much effort. I enjoyed the dialogue and pre-action scenes that led to the big battles. I have read enough historical and fantasy stories so that sword-wielding warriors are no longer strangers to me. But the way Keegan and Tristen Kozinski handle the battle scenes has that uncanny feel to it, stirring your emotions to the point that you compare it to the atrocities of modern-day warfare. The Darkness That Slept is, above all, about the personal codes of its heroes and villains that lend credence to the adage that conflict is about who is truly rightful. You might find it comforting when some of the characters find themselves in absurd and idiosyncratic situations that give off sparks of humor from time to time. The Darkness That Slept is an epic fantasy that should be on the top of your fantasy reading list.
Divine Zape. 5 stars
The Darkness That Slept by Keegan Kozinski and Tristen Kozinski is an epic fantasy with strong dark themes. Kingdoms are seeking expansion. Some are in a state of lethargy, corrupted by their greed and lust. A fiery group is on a crusade to impose their religion on other lands. While the lands in the West, East, and South are experiencing some form of turmoil, something more deadly and sinister is happening — the darkness that slept is waking. In fact, one of the Dread Lords, one of those that men call the Muntalabacs, has awakened. The Avenar know it. And to survive and stop it from pushing humanity over the edge, they will need more than the fight in them to stop it.
The Darkness That Slept is a book into which a lot of imagination has been put, a world brimming with conflict and plot twists that are gracefully woven, each scene crafted with ingenuity and designed to propel the story forward with the meticulous inclusion of the elements of the conflict. The writing is dazzling and the world-building has no match; the fields of fantasy are elaborately written with an enjoyable take on the powers and forces that are pitted against each other. The authors do a marvelous job in building a conflict that grows in crescendo, culminating in an explosive encounter.
The writing is filled with exceptional descriptions, the scenes are focused, and the deft handling of the proverbial conflict between light and darkness illuminates the writing. How can a land fragmented by conflict face something as powerful as the Muntalabacs? The characters are well-developed, the action electrifying, and the sense of impending doom intelligently written to arrest the attention of readers and keep them turning the pages. Characters like Cardolyn Tyier are symbolic of humanity’s greed and insatiable thirst for power. Keegan and Tristen Kozinski offer a wonderful treat to fans of epic fantasy in this conflict-driven and compelling narrative.
Maureen Dangarembizi. 5 stars
The Darkness That Slept is the first book in the Chronicles Of The Far Dawn epic fantasy series. Written by the talented duo Tristen and Keegan Kozinski, the tale follows four individuals who will have to risk everything to save their world. The High Warden will protect the north from the invasion of outside gods and their minions. In Tellor, Slade Lammerock and his band of thieves try their best to avoid coming under the Thief Guild. For Valerius, no crime is too big or too heinous in the pursuit of power. As the New Order attacks the North, it is discovered that there might be a bigger threat everyone had forgotten. Dragons. Can everyone let go of their personal goals in order to defeat this world-destroying force?
This book is a slow burn with plenty of worldbuilding. There are so many types of interesting beings and all of them have an intriguing history. There are powerful magic systems, myths, and a strong backstory that would make for a gripping book on its own. The Kozinskis’ have characters who are so varied it’s sometimes hard to imagine them as heroes. My favorite was Slade who had a crew that reminded me of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn crew. I found The Darkness That Slept to be funny and oftentimes dark. The story has a lot of action to balance the narrative. The world is laid out well by the end of this book so the second book should explore the current story more than the backstory.
Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
The Darkness That Slept by Tristen and Keegan Kozinski is an epic fantasy that brilliantly explores a complex conflict, featuring compelling characters and rollicking, nonstop action. Cardolyn Tyier is the insatiable God-Emperor who has plans of conquering more kingdoms. In the Southern regions, the rich Kalvonders indulge in gory entertainments and vices, oblivious to the threat that is heading their way. Crusaders from the East are determined to impose their own beliefs on everyone. Meanwhile, an ancient evil known as the Muntalabacs is rising. The Dread Lords are awakening and the Avenar know that one of them is resurrected for they can feel his footsteps across the world. To stop the evil from steering the world towards the precipice, they will need more than their strength.
This is one of those fantasy tales that made me feel like I was watching the movie 300 starring Gerard Butler. The impeccable world-building and the authors’ gift for developing a phenomenal conflict take this narrative to a bestseller level. The authors have created a thrilling fantasy with hidden gems for fans of the genre, with suspense so masterly woven into the story that it keeps the reader racing through the pages. We encounter sharp and sophisticated characters, enmeshed in a world filled with mystery and the struggle of a lifetime to save the world from impending doom. The novel seems to answer the question: What happens when the darkness that slept suddenly awakens? Tristen and Keegan Kozinski have crafted a story and imagined a world in which danger is always lurking around the corner and where the threat from powerful darkness leads characters to rethink their space in that world. It is cleverly plotted and executed with the mastery of genius.