Friday, April 13, 2012

DARK WHISPERS


Review of DARK WHISPERS by BRUCE COVILLE
(third in THE UNICORN CHRONICLES)

If the second book in the series dragged a little (and it didn't really that much), then this is what we've been waiting for! The pace speeds up to even faster than the first book. The chapters switch quickly between different characters, each with their own compelling dilemmas. And Coville's worldbuilding hits a new level of intriguing. I adored every page.

My favorite aspect of DARK WHISPERS, though, is the added layer to Beloved. For me at least, Beloved was already a pretty terrifying villain. As purely evil as can be possible while still remaining human and even relatable. (She's not evil by nature, but by a magical accident.) However, in DARK WHISPERS it turns out there's an even worse villain than the one we already feared. A villain that, when revealed, makes sense in a painful and poetic way.

Besides that big twist, there are lots of worldbuilding details to love. I'm fascinated by the blind man's bargain with Cara's father. Then there's the skwartz, a monster that pulls on believable elements from nature but with a twist that makes me cringe at the thought of being its next victim. Let's not forget the Rainbow Prison, a magical cage that plays a much greater role in the third book.

I complain about cliffhanger endings, but really my problem isn't with cliffhangers. It's harder to articulate that than. Some authors write cliffhangers that leave me desperate for the next book and some write ones that just annoy me and even put me off reading any more in the series. Coville does the former. The ending of DARK WHISPERS is an intense cliffhanger, but I ate it up.

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