There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it?
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
Every single character is a cinnamon roll, and now I live in fear.
Of all the things to strike me while reading There Will Come a Darkness, it was the fact that none of these characters are bad people. All five of the POV cast members are trying to do their best in a world teetering on the brink of darkness, and that is hard. All this responsibility, all this prophecy, is raining down on the shoulders of teens, and they’re not ready. They’re trying (they’re trying so hard), but this is so much more than anyone could have prepared them for.
All of these cinnamon rolls are falling headfirst into the fire, and I don’t have the oven mitts ready to pull them out. 😭
Really, though, the characters absolutely make There Will Come a Darkness the outstanding book that it is.
Sometimes, with a large ensemble cast, it can be difficult to make sure each POV is well developed. In this case, though, I think Katy Rose Pool knocked it out of the park. I fell in love with every single POV character, sympathized so much with their choices, and I’m going absolutely bonkers waiting for As the Shadow Rises to make sure that they’re going to be okay (which, all things considered, they’re probably not)!
Easily my favorites, though, are Ephyra and Beru. I’m such a sucker for stories about siblings who stand by each other through everything, and these two tugged hard on my heartstrings. They’ve lost so much and still cling to each other, even in defiance of nature and prophecy alike. And while I was expecting Ephrya to be much colder and sharper due to the book’s summary, she’s actually just…scared. That added an extra dimension that swept me off my feet, and made sure that the sisters rocketed up to the top of my favorites list.
But Anton, Jude, and Hassan were all brilliant as well! In Jude’s case, I felt so much sympathy for his predicament, trapped in service to a prophecy so vague that it feels difficult to do the right thing. Cap it off with the fact that Jude is gay and doesn’t quite know how to process it, along with the confusion you know he’s going to have to feel once the thing he’s been raised to do has come to pass, and it turns out he’s in a really stressful situation where all he can do is his best, even if it’s not enough.
As for Anton, I ended up angry on his behalf. He’s shouldering a lot of the prophecy surrounding the coming Age of Darkness, and has a dangerous family history dogging him every step of the way. It’s a lot for a sixteen year old kid to tackle, and it haunts every one of his actions. Plus, I’m really eager to see how he handles the information he comes into by the end of the book. Like the rest of the cast, he’s a cinnamon roll tossed deep into the fire, and I have a sense that he’s going to cling to doing the right thing no matter how burned he gets.
And finally, Hassan. I’ve seen some reviews complain about him, but he really was a delight. His romantic arc was the right bit of soft to balance out the mounting danger of the rest of the book, and I loved his personal arc. A prince who has not developed a Grace, despite a lineage full of Graces, he’s under an enormous amount of pressure. A lot of it is self-generated, since we see moments where his parents affirm him, Grace or not, and that resonated with me. Hassan is his own harshest critic, and he’s so eager to prove to everyone else that’s he’s useful, even though they already believe it. This puts him in some dangerous positions, but he’s always trying to do right by his people.
“Those who cannot own their choices will always be mastered by fate.”
I’ve talked about it now and again, but confronting fate is a huge draw for me. I love stories that ask what happens when we turn our backs on destiny and expectations. And naturally, that was the theme that pulled all the characters together. I would have loved the cast on their own, but their steady pull against fate, their resistance to the Age of Darkness, their determination to do the right thing even when the odds are slim, kept me so engaged! As the reader, you know that their choices are going to land them in hot water. You can just tell. But these characters don’t know. All they’re certain of is that they have to try, because their world is doomed if they don’t.
And for a book about darkness on the horizon, it actually gives me a shocking amount of hope.
Sure, there’s functionally an apocalypse resting on the horizon. Yeah, the world is kind of the pits, corrupt and dangerous as it is. But there are still people willing to see the best of it. There’s still people who want to save it and make it better than it is. And best of all, there’s people willing to look at a doomed future and say no, this won’t happen on my watch.
I guess I’m just soft for hope in the face of doom and gloom, huh?
Come for the characters and the defiance of fate, stay for basically all of it.
I really can’t recommend There Will Come a Darkness enough. It kept me engaged the entire time, and placed Katy Rose Pool on my autobuy authors list with remarkable ease. To cap off the great cast and themes, the Mediterranean-inspired setting captured my classics major heart, and the plot structure itself was both twisty and bursting with dramatic irony. Multiple times, I knew exactly what the characters had not yet realized, and it was excruciating in the best way. Plus, focusing on that dramatic irony left my guard down against the real twists, which only increased my satisfaction in the end.
If you’re looking for a book with heart and hope and a full cast, There Will Come a Darkness is it. If you’re looking for a book with peril and prophecy and odds stacked high, There Will Come a Darkness is still it.
And if you’re like me, waiting for As the Shadow Rises, we should talk, because I need to yell with somebody about all this. Mostly Ephyra and Beru. But also everything and everyone else, because this debut is everything I could have hoped for.
CW: implied sexual assault, violence, smoking, child death, alcoholism, suicide, gaslighting, torture, loss of a loved one, gambling