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Darkborn by Alison Sinclair
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Darkborn

by Alison Sinclair

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Series: Darkborn (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3021837,080 (3.36)22
  1. 00
    The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Fantasy that plays with the concepts of day and night in mannered societies.
  2. 00
    Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold (ultimatebookwyrm)
    ultimatebookwyrm: Although Barrayar is a sci-fi and Darkborn is fantasy, both have great characters, a fast-moving plot, mystery, suspense, action, and phenomenal world-building. Plus a kick-ass Mom who will stop at nothing to retrieve her child.
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I have had the Darkborn trilogy on my bookshelf to read for quite awhile. I’ve actually started it a couple times and just couldn’t get past the first couple chapters. I was determined to read at least the first 100 pages this time to give it a fair shot….I still didn’t like it much.

Let’s start with the things I thought were interesting. I think the main draw for this story is the unique world. Sinclair has created a world with two different species of human: one that will burn in the light and lives in the dark and one that will unravel in darkness but thrives in the light. What is interesting is they live side by side (literally) in the same cities. There is a council of representatives that meet occasionally to make sure both species are coexisting okay. Despite that each species has their own forms of government and generally lead completely separate lives from each other. This whole concept is a bit unbelievable but still kind of neat.

Okay, so then why did I stop reading it? Well there are a lot of readings. First of all the characters names were tough to keep track of; two of the main heroines have names that are very close and I was constantly getting confused about who was doing what. Secondly the book jumps around between POVs a lot and it just wasn’t working; it was jarring when we switched POV and not at all well done. Thirdly our main heroine, Telmaine, is married to sweet and scientific minded man who adores her and whom she adores. She has two lovely children and is generally happy. Then when another mage enters the story (an older man) she is suddenly drawn to him. Now I didn’t get to the point where she actually cheats on her wonderful husband but that’s kind of where the story seemed to be going and it was just...yucky.

Less specifically I didn’t like that the story didn’t flow well and was very hard to engage with. The characters were likewise hard to engage with and I pretty much struggled to read every page of this book. I read it until 100 pages and then stopped. This is one of those cases where I just didn’t have the patience or time to read something I just was not enjoying.

Overall I didn’t like this book. The world-building is well done and unique but the characters were hard to engage with and the story didn’t flow well. I wouldn’t recommend this and, obviously, won’t be reading the last two books in the series. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 12, 2016 |
Took me a bit to get into this book but Im glad I was able to keep going. Overall, I thought it was a great book with a few twists that may be confusing but will make sense. Full of mystery, magic, the fear of light and dark for people, and a conspiracy. I'm rooting for the Baron & hope he finds his HEA. ( )
  Eire2011 | Mar 11, 2016 |
Great, atmospheric, neo-Victorian, slightly steampunkish fantasy with Dark and Light elves, wild magic, rigid morals, high society and plenty of dangerous intrigues. I dearly loved it, literally inhaled the book and will be reading more. Recommended to fans of G.W. Dahlquist. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
I thought the writing style was a little coarse, but the story was an interesting change. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
I liked this book more than I expected. Well, from the cover and the blurb, I expected more fluff. When I started reading, perhaps because of that, the book felt more stiff to me than was necessary. However, just one or two more chapters in, it had captured me, and I found it to have more depth than expected.

For one, the world is quite original. Due to a long-ago curse, half the people cannot stand the light (darkborn) and half cannot stand the dark (lightborn). The lightborn and darkborn are living side-by-side, unable to be in the same room together. The only way they can manage it is by dividing a room using a paper screen. a sign of trust in itself, because if the paper wall were to be breached, the darkborn would burn. Then there is such a thing as shadowborn, who exist on the border of the realm and aggressively attack the darkborn who live there. The darkborn cannot see, and use a sort of sonar (sonn) instead. Although there were some little issues with sonn at the beginning, where I felt there were some inconsistencies, the concept is quite intriguing.
This first book mostly follows the darkborn, but there is some interaction with the lightborn as well, since the main characters share a house with lightborn (using the paper-wall concept).

Then, the characters. I felt they were amazingly diverse. There is a psychiatrist, an aristocrat lady who despite wanting to fit into society, flaunts its rules by marrying him, and the psychiatrist's sister, who is a mage and healer, and works in a hospital (something that is equally flaunting the rules, since in darkborn society, magic is abhorred and women are expected to be ornaments). Then there is the darkborn mage who fights the shadowborn, and the lightborn assassin who is a guard of the lightborn princes.
Perhaps more importantly, the characters had a depth to them that I was not expecting. What I loved most is that although the story starts with Balthasar, the psychiatrist, before long it becomes clear that the real protagonist is his wife Telmaine. She is expected to be ornamental and tries to conform to society where she must, although it means hiding her abilities. Even while denying her own powers, she does not lack courage, however, and when events force her to use them, she is no cowering wallflower. I was glad that the men directly around her (Balthasar and the shadowhunter Ishmael) may sometimes be worried about her safety, but they also recognize her strength and the necessity of the situation and do not stand in her way. Considering that this is the society that belittles women, the number of strong women in it and the number of men who are willing to support them gives high hopes for the sequels, which I expect to focus more on lightborn society (where women are values as equals).

I think there is more to say about this book, but for now I will simply warmly recommend it to anyone interested in good fantasy. ( )
2 vote zjakkelien | Oct 13, 2013 |
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Alison Sinclairprimary authorall editionscalculated
Delon, MelanieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 045146270X, Paperback)

A new romantic fantasy of magic, manners, and espionage that is also a "fast-paced thriller" (Carol Berg).

For the Darkborn, sunlight kills. For the Lightborn, darkness is fatal. Living under a centuries-old curse, the Darkborn and the Lightborn share the city of Minhorne, coexisting in an uneasy equilibrium but never interacting. When Darkborn physician Balthasar Hearne finds a pregnant fugitive on his doorstep just before sunrise, he has no choice but to take her in. Tercelle Amberley's betrothed is a powerful Darkborn nobleman, but her illicit lover came to her through the daytime. When she gives birth to twin boys, they can see, something unheard of among the Darkborn. When men come for the boys, Balthasar is saved by the intervention of his Lightborn neighbor-and healed by the hands of his wife, Telmaine. Soon he finds himself drawn deeper into political intrigue and magical attacks, while Telmaine must confront a power she can no longer keep sheathed in gloves, a power she neither wants nor can control.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"For the Darkborn, sunlight kills. For the Lightborn, darkness is fatal. Living under a centuries-old curse, the Darkborn and the Lightborn share the city of Minhorne, coexisting in an uneasy equilibrium but never interacting." "When Balthasar Hearne, Darkborn physician, finds a pregnant fugitive on his doorstep just before sunrise, he has no choice but to take her in. Tercelle Amberley's betrothed is a powerful Darkborn nobleman, but her illicit lover came to her through the daytime. When she gives birth to twin boys, Balthasar realizes that they can see - something unheard of among the Darkborn.". "Two days after the birth, men arrive in search of the children. Balthasar is saved only by the intervention of his Lightborn neighbor - and healed by the hands of his wife, Telmaine. Soon Balthasar finds himself drawn deeper into a web of political intrigue and magical attacks as an ancient enemy of both Darkborn and Lightborn appears in a new guise, while Telmaine must confront a power she can no longer keep sheathed in gloves - a power she neither wants nor can control."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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