Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Dark Man’s Son, by Meg Whitlock: A Review

Today I am posting only my second ever review here. This is the first book for which I have ever given a five star review. It is a shame that it is not attracting the readers that it deserves.


The Dark Man's Son tells the story of Jason, whose life is transformed when he meets "Alex" who is the Guardian of Light, created to protect the human race from a multitude of threats, among them the Dark Guardian (her "brother"), Lucifer and a host of demons and other creatures. Jason gradually learns his own true identity as he and Alex battle to save, well, the world.

In many ways this is the classic good against evil, cosmic scale story that has been told many times. What is particularly impressive about this telling is how incredibly accessible the characters are. I am tempted to say "human", even though, clearly, most of them are not. Despite their awesome powers, these characters have well-defined personalities that set them apart, and make them something distinct from their mythical and cosmic personae. Their personalities are complex, and lift them above and beyond the mere good-evil dichotomy. Their motivations are understandable, even if, at times, very complicated.

This book is very well-written, lifting it well above the field. The author's use of humour is excellent - I found myself laughing out loud several times. She has constructed the scenarios brilliantly, pausing in just the right places, building carefully, then punching the reader with a surprise twist. The story is set across a broad timescape and landscape, which all seemed well-researched. Readers living in Paris or Hamburg may have some quibbles. Readers from the twelfth century may pick fault here and there; but the author convinced me.

I have a few minor quibbles of my own. It was a shame that the back story - told in flashbacks across the centuries - faded out about halfway through the book. This introduced some imbalance into the book's overall structure. I was also somewhat surprised by the abruptness  of the ending, which left so much unresolved. Clearly the sequel is presently under construction. However, I felt that the ending was so sudden, and that so much was unresolved, that this was less a book to be followed by a sequel, and more "part one" of a much larger story. I sincerely hope that the rest is coming soon.

I am always reluctant to give a book 5 stars. No book is perfect. However, this book is clearly on the 5 side of 4.5, and I have no choice but to round up to 5. This is a book that really deserves to be read.


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