Darkness Hidden - Book Review
YA Urban Fantasy
The Name of the Blade #2
UK Publisher: Walker Books
If you haven't read the first book in the trilogy - The Night Itself - you can find my Review of it HERE!
In the electrifying second volume of Zoe Marriott’s The Name of the Bade Trilogy, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata against all odds, and brought Jack’s sister home alive.
But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the underworld has spawned a worse monster - one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire.
As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the swords deadly powers, she realises that this time there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive … and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world…
I have read all of Zoe Marriotts books to date and I feel her writing only grows more and more amazing with every book she publishes. When I picked up Darkness Hidden, I was truly in awe because I simply loved each and every page of it! There were no niggles, no shadows of doubt over plot or characters, the story just swept me up in its arms and carried me from beginning to end in that pleasurable haze that comes with all good storytelling. Its a magnificent read!
Picking up mere hours from where the first book left off, Mio and the gang immediately find themselves challenged by more monsters from the Japanese underworld of Yomi - and this time, they cannot rely on help from the Kitsune. But when Jack falls victim to the sickness spread by these new found fiends, Mio swears she will do everything in her power to save her best friend, no matter what the sacrifice.
But as London shuts down, the city becomes a prison of chaos and Mio realises that while the sword may be the only thing strong enough to defeat the minions sent by the dark goddess, the blade is also bit by bit, stealing away her humanity. Even now she can feel its inhuman voice calling out to her, poisoning her mind as it bids its time, waiting to take possession over her once more. And she is afraid.
For control over the katakana comes at a terrible price. Yet with her friend on the verge of death, the Kitsune confined to the spirit realm and the world falling to pieces around her, Mio comes to understand that when it comes to the future of mankind there is no choice, and if there was, its not necessarily hers to make. Deep down, she knows she cannot protect everyone . . . surely soon, she knows someone she loves will die. But how much of Mio will they take with them…
This was a brilliant, page turning read that took the reader through a roller coaster of emotions. Rather than a story that lead up to one great, epic battle at the end, each scene threw more and more at the characters so that they barely had time to catch their breath between one catastrophe and the next. With the constant threat of danger, the action was never ending and spaced out with an occasional revelation or romantic moment that only made you love the characters more - and boy does Zoe marriott really put her characters through the wringer!
From the last book, its clear to see Mio has developed a tougher skin. Through her battle with the Nekomato she lost a lot of her earlier innocence and is now aware that through both her experiences, plus the swords gift of increased speed and strength, she has both the ability and capacity to kill - a rather frightening revelation for her.
Mio’s romance with Shinobu has also been kicked up a notch. With many more near death experiences the two have grown even closer, yet it is more than just love between them. They are friends and comrades who share a mutual respect and trust each other explicitly. One can be strong when the other is weak and they balance each other well.
I was sad that - being sick and all - Jack played a lesser role yet even plagued by a supernatural illness her feisty spirit still shone through. However we did get to learn more about Jack’s sister, Rachel. In the last book she had a more damsel in distress part yet in this book we see that she can be just as vocal as Jack with the same, no bull shit attitude. Dealing with the aftermath of being held hostage by the Nekomata she played an interesting part in the story.
We also got to see different sides to other characters from the previous book, which really put a new spin on how we perceived them - however I won’t mention names as I don’t wish to give away spoilers.
But all in all this was a simply superb read! It had none of the second book drag or wish-washy fillers that I feel many middle books have and I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on the next book! Utterly fantastical, this is a five star read!