fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSara Douglass book review: The Troy Game Darkwitch RisingDarkwitch Rising by Sara Douglass

The setting is Restoration London. Cornelia, Brutus, Coel, Genvissa, Asterion, and assorted friends and enemies are walking the earth yet again, as is a mysterious new character who has the potential to throw a wrench in all of their best-laid plans.

This is Cornelia’s story more than anyone else’s, as she matures further. Noah, as she is called in this life, is a far cry from the bratty Cornelia of Hades’ Daughter, and even the staunchly loyal Caela of Gods’ Concubine. Here, Noah begins to question everything she had previously accepted, including the Troy Game and her love for Brutus. At first, she begins to teeter into Mary Sue-ness. She is becoming ever more powerful, and it seems like everybody in the entire world is in love with her. But she really wins my heart around the middle of the book, when she begins to break free of the things everyone expects her to do and choose for herself. She makes a shocking choice-one that could destroy many lives, or redeem them. I am really beginning to like this character-and I’m getting quite sick of Brutus. It almost seemed in Gods’ Concubine that he might become a decent man after all, but his issues really come back in Darkwitch Rising. I’m sort of hoping Cornelia/Caela/Noah kicks him to the curb in the next book.

What didn’t work for me: How to say this without spoilers? About halfway through the book, Sara Douglass throws a twist into the plot. Two characters turn out to be the reincarnations of different characters than the reader previously believed. This switch didn’t work for me. There were a few sentences that foreshadowed it, but overall, I think the two characters acted much more like the people I had assumed them to be.

The Troy Game — (2002-2006) Historical Fantasy.  Publisher: Ancient Greece is a place where mortals are the playthings of the gods-but at the core of each mortal city-state is a Labyrinth, where the mortals can shape the heavens to their own design. When Theseus comes away from the Labyrinth with the prize of freedom and his beloved Ariadne, the Mistress of the Labyrinth, his future seems assured. But she bears him only a daughter-and when he casts her aside for this, the world seems to change. From that day forward, the Labyrinths decay, and power fades from the city-states. A hundred years pass, Troy falls, the Trojans scatter. Then Brutus, the warrior-king of Troy, receives a vision of distant shores where he can rebuild the ancient kingdom. He will move heaven and earth to reach his destiny. But in the mists is a woman of power, a descendent of Ariadne, who has her own reasons for luring Brutus to this lush land. Her heart is filled with a generations-old hatred, and her vengeance on him will not be thwarted. If Brutus makes the journey successfully, it will be the next step in the Game of the Labyrinth, and the beginning of a complicated contest of wills that will last for centuries…

Sara Douglass The Troy Game: Hades' Daughter, Gods' Concubine, Darkwitch Rising, Druid's Sword Sara Douglass The Troy Game: Hades' Daughter, Gods' Concubine, Darkwitch Rising, Druid's Sword Sara Douglass The Troy Game: Hades' Daughter, Gods' Concubine, Darkwitch Rising, Druid's Sword Sara Douglass The Troy Game: Hades' Daughter, Gods' Concubine, Darkwitch Rising, Druid's Sword


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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