Every once in great while you run across a book that stops you in your tracks and makes you think, wow there is something really special about this book. Darkwind, by Renee Dugan, is that book. It is the story about a bookish princess named Cistine who overhears her parents discussing trouble brewing on their southern border. Cistine decides to set out on a quest of her own to with her friends Ashe and Julian to seek help from the northern kingdom with whom her kingdom has a complicated past. The three are capture by a cabal of fighters and Cistine manages to strike a deal with their leader, Throne. His people will train her in exchange for information.
It is not overselling it to say that this book is absolutely amazing. I loved Dugan’s debut novel The Chaos Circus, which I highly recommend if you haven’t read it yet, but that book pales in comparison to Darkwind. It has everything to offer readers of all genres; action, love, drama, amazing characters, a great storyline, intriguing backstory, and a trained attack raven.
It is hard to pick a favorite character in this story because they are all just so well developed. Dugan does an incredible job introducing you to the cabal and Cistine’s band that at times I found myself forgetting that it was Cistine’s story and not Ashe’s or Throne’s or Maleck’s or Quill’s or Tatiana’s. By the end of Darkwind I felt like I had known this cast my entire life.
One of my favorite things about Dugan’s books, besides the beautiful descriptions of food, is her ability to surprise me with the twists and turns on her story. She did not let me down with Darkwind. She expertly weaves enough details into the story that you are left saying how did I not see this coming, but it makes perfect sense. Reading Darkwind was an adventure that I want to go on again and again. I can’t wait for the next book in the Starchaser Saga.