Novel Review: Darkness Descends by Peter Arvo & Lauren Arvo

Darkness Descends (Elemental Kingdoms, #1)Darkness Descends by Peter Arvo
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This fantasy novel, that debuts a new series, targets an older child / young teen audience though I wouldn’t recommend it for either. The main characters are all magic-wielding 14-16 y.o. royals that overwhelming act privileged, spoiled and snotty if not psychopathic. Their world is not unlike the Holy Roman Empire, divided into a multitude of small kingdoms with a larger pecking order. Six of the kingdoms stand out for having historic royal families that wield elemental magic. [ie Kingdoms of Fire, Ice, Air, Water, Earth and Electricity.] One major miss is in the lack of exploring how the elemental kingdoms culturally differ from each other and the non-elemental kingdoms. Only the Ice Nation seems to truly have a unique view on the world.

Conveniently, each of the royal families has at least one 14 or 16 y.o. heir learning how to deal with their powers. With the exception of one prince from the Electricity Kingdom, none seem interested in dealing with responsibilities to their kingdoms and the people they administer over. They hardly seem to notice non-royals at all except to torment their servant cooks and soldiers. Royal life itself is depicted 2-dimensionally with Kings and Queens always decked out and wearing state jewels and crowns. Jewels and clothes likewise preoccupy the teens, along with being sarcastically sarcastic. [The term gets thrown around a lot.]

These young royals lose family members along the course of the tale. However, the emotional toll is barely scratched as most of the ill-adjusted teens seem not to retain empathy or even sadness beyond a few minutes. This in itself could be an interesting stance if I thought the character lapses and myopia were intentional.

What is clear, is the direction the series is taking since nothing gets resolved in the first book. Mainly, the teens find each other as the goal of this novel. The larger set-up that shows non-elemental people revolting against the elementals and wishing elemental magic gone remains to be resolved. This opposing POV, sympathetic to the rebel cause, is not given any depth. This tale is strictly for the 1%.

I received my copy of this novel directly from the authors through
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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