Book Review: Wilde’s Meadow (Darkness Falls #3), by Krystal Wade

Wildes-MeadowWilde’s Meadow (Darkness Falls #3), by Krystal Wade

Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?

The Darkness Falls series takes a darker turn in book three. That might seem a difficult thing to pull off in a book where there is no sunlight, but Ms. Wade pulls it off with a lovely opening sequence. But first, let’s go back to Wilde’s Army for a minute.

The engagement between Kate and Perth Dufaigh became a moot point after she married Arland on the sly, which did not go over well with Perth’s father. BUT, there are higher powers in Encardia than scheming High Leaders and they don’t much care what Dufaigh thinks. Now, back to scene in progress.

Kate, Arland, and their ragtag army will head back out into darkness soon and they’re taking advantage of their time as newlyweds properly should. Then, there’s dancing. It’s a tradition in Encardia to celebrate life before sending brave souls to their deaths. Told you it was lovely, which is nice for the reader, because that’s when things turn dark.

So far, in the first two books of this series, the reader has been overwhelmed by darkness and glimpsed the dangers that lurk just beyond sight. In Wilde’s Meadow, Ms. Wade leads the way into a wasteland of putrescence, misery, and despair. Here, the beasts that Kate has learned to fight are not all that stands between her and the light of day. The blanket of darkness that shrouds this world is mirrored by the sins of its past and present. Like a hasty tower of blocks assembled by a toddler, one wrong move could bring this world down on itself.

Wilde’s Meadow plays with the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Kate’s army, each soul among them knowing he could die at any moment, works its way through them. With the focus of the story on Kate, her power, and her destiny, I found that Brit Wilde represented concerns that the reader might otherwise forget while worrying about whether Arland would live or die. Each person in this world has a prophecy. Each has a part to play in whether Kate ultimately wins or loses, and Brit shoulders a burden heavier than most everyone else.

I must say that as a whole, I enjoyed the Darkness Falls series. Krystal Wade’s use of magic is very simple, and it is very consistent through all three books. Her prose is unpretentious. Her characters are honest, even the devious ones, and allowed to grow naturally within the confines of their storylines. At it’s core, it is a story about love and courage in the face of impossible odds, and I would recommend it to an older teen audience.

★★★★

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Book Review: Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls #2), by Krystal Wade

15079819Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls #2), by Krystal Wade

“Hello, Katriona.”

Those two words spark fear in Katriona Wilde and give way to an unlikely partnership with Perth, the man she’s been traded to marry for a favor. Saving her true love and protector Arland, her family, and their soldiers keeps her motivated, but the at-odds duo soon realizes trust is something that comes and goes with each breath of Encardia’s rotting, stagnant air. The moment when concern for her missing sister spirals out of control, all thoughts of trust are pushed aside and she finds herself trapped by the daemon tricks Perth warned her of.

However, rescuing those she loves is only half the problem.

Kate still must get to Willow Falls, unite her clashing people, and form an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness. When so many she’s grown fond of die along the journey, her ability to play by the gods’ rules is tested.

How will she make allies when the world appears stacked against her? And will she still be Katriona Wilde, the girl with fire?

Wilde’s Army picks up the moment Wilde’s Fire left off. Arland, Kate’s mother and sister, and the rest of the inhabitants of the base have vanished. All except for Perth, the man Kate is supposed to marry to appease a political ally. Kate forms a tenuous partnership with him because, while she has no intentions of marrying the man, she does need him if she’s going to find the others. It’s in Kate’s nature to see the best in people, including this strange Ground Dweller, but circumstances require her to keep Perth at arm’s length and on a short leash. For his part, Perth is cooperative with her plans to rescue Arland and her family. He plays devil’s advocate and gives her advice, all despite her American teen snark.

The reader is reminded quickly that not only is the world around Kate a dark and dangerous place, but it is in part because of her. She is the one prophesied to destroy end the reign of darkness. The eldest daughter of High Leaders, ruling this world is her birthright. Naturally, the malevolent force who is oppressing Encardia delights in taunting and tormenting her with every tool at his disposal…vicious beasts, the lives of her friends and family, with exhaustion, hunger, and temptation. And still, the most dangerous thing in this world might Perth’s father, his ambition, his greed, and his careless flaunting of essential resources.

Opposite High Leader Dufaigh is Saraid Wilde, Kate’s mother and a woman of great power and perhaps greater secrets. She plays the Leaders’ game in Encardia with one hand in the cookie jar and the other behind her back, fingers crossed. At the risk of alienating both of her daughters, Saraid never tells the whole story, never reveals exactly what she’s thinking, and never gives a straight answer to questions. She has her reasons, but as Kate grows more and more frustrated, the reader does as well.

There were some details in the beginning that snagged my attention. I would recommend reading the final chapter of Wilde’s Fire before opening Wilde’s Army. There was also one scene where I feel the author backed herself into a corner and telling was really the only way out. Those issues aside, if Wilde’s Army has a big fault, it’s having the misfortune to follow Wilde’s Fire.

Krystal Wade’s strength is in her characters, though. The Arland / Kate / Perth triangle, as the three test the limitations of each other’s loyalty and patience, was well worth the read.

★★★★
About My Book Reviews

Interview with Christine Ashworth

To conclude Unofficial Christine Ashworth week, I got the author herself to sit down and answer my question about her Caine Brothers series. If you read any of my reviews this week, you know that I’m a just tad bit fond of her tribred boys. Now, for the interview!

The Caine Brothers live/work/play in Santa Monica, California. I just happened to visit the town this summer, and by visit I mean we turned off of the 105 onto Pacific Coast Highway and motored along on our 6000 mile road trip, BUT I remember thinking that Santa Monica was beautiful. It’s no wonder to me why the Caine family made their home there, or that the Caine boys eventually came back home.

aerial-third-street-promenadeI know this isn’t a question, but I worked in the Santa Monica area for almost ten years and I still love it there. I took drawing classes through UCLA Extension upstairs at the Third Street Promenade, and people watching there is so much fun. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend a stop in to the 3rd Street Promenade!

In your Caine Brother’s series, you’ve combined demon, fae, and human into a new species: tribred. Of all the paranormal creatures to play with, what attracted you to demon and fae?

It was 2008. I’d read all the werewolf fiction and all the vampire fiction, and didn’t think I could compete with those, so I started playing around with other beasties. Demons drew me, but I had to make them softer – which is where the Fae comes in. Not that all Fae are soft – by no means! Once I thought of a tribred, I was satisfied that I had something that was my very own, that I could write in any way I wanted.

I also find it interesting, with the demon and fae in play, that your big bad is a human, albeit an ambitious one. Where did Kendall Sorbis come from? What was your inspiration for the witch I’d love to pour a bucket of water on?

Kendall showed up when I wrote a short story titled Demon Hunt – it was the first story I wrote in the Caine series, and at 15k, I was pretty happy with it. Then CMP bought up Demon Soul, and asked if I had anything else. I showed them Demon Hunt, and they asked me to make it a full length novel – and it would come second in the series. So as you imagine, I had some rewriting to do! But the plotline for Soul was pretty set, so I slipped Kendall in kind of sideways, as someone helping the vampire Satine for his own purposes. In Hunt, he took on a bigger role.

I’ve found a delightful similarity between Justin and Magdalena’s relationship and the one crafted by Shakespeare for Benedict and Beatrice. Are you a fan of Shakespeare? Was Much Ado About Nothing what you had in mind when you created Justin and Magdalena?

I am a huge fan of Shakespeare. My husband was the artistic director for the first ten years of Nevada’s Shakespeare in the Park, an Equity company that performs in Green Valley, just outside of Las Vegas. But – while I adore Shakespeare, I didn’t really have a thought about Beatrice and Benedict when writing Justin and Maggie’s relationship. That book was supposed to come after Demon Soul, but with everything changing, I had to drag out their romantic arc. At least I managed to get them into bed in Demon Hunt, even though it was “off screen”, so to speak!

Your fourth book in the Caine Brothers series is Demon Rage. I’m assuming it’s Justin’s story, although, one more book of unresolved bickering between Justin and Magdalena would hardly go unappreciated. Will we finally see Magdalena admit that she loves the guy?

Yes, it’s Justin’s and Magdalena’s story. If you read the teaser at the end of Demon Hunt, you know that the dynamic has changed between them. And that’s all I’m going to say at this point! (Oh, and I love happy endings!)

There’s a fourth Caine, cousin Kellan. Will there be a fourth Demon title? (Please, oh please, oh please say yes?)

I will write as many Caine novels and short stories as CMP will accept! Not only does Kellan have his story waiting, but so does Megan the doctor, and Mephisto is waiting impatiently for me to tell his story.

Yes! I love Mephisto! What’s next for you? After the Caine Brothers?

I’m working on two different YA novels; a contemporary romance set at the rodeo; and I’m writing two plays, as well. So yeah, I’m busy! Plus I have a day job, and a husband who likes seeing my face, rather than my back hunched over the keyboard, lol.

bottle-crimson-clover-bigMy husband does, too. What’s up with that? *wink* I have stack of 2-inch steaks in my freezer begging to for a proper mate. What wine would you suggest to go with pepper-crusted sirloin?

Ooh, that’s a good one. If it were just a plain steak, I’d say a nice, peppery Zinfandel. But since you’re doing pepper-crusted (YUM!), I’d go with a Cabernet Sauvignon.  One of my go-to wineries is Kendall Jackson. Either their regular Cabernet or their Private Reserve Cab would go well with this steak. IF you want something slightly different, I do recommend Concannon’s Crimson & Clover. It’s a red wine blend that’s running under $10 at the grocery store, and it hit my “Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!” status, so that’s saying something!

Thank you for coming on my blog today and indulging my questions about the Caine boys.

Thank you so much for having me here, Wendy. I’ve had a blast!


ChristineAshworth1Christine Ashworth is a native of Southern California. The daughter of a writer and a psych major, she fell asleep to the sound of her father’s Royal manual typewriter for years. In a very real way, being a writer is in her blood-her father sold his first novel before he turned forty; her brother sold his first book before he turned twenty-five.

At the tender age of seventeen, Christine fell in love with a man she met while dancing in a ballet company. She married the brilliant actor/dancer/painter/music man, and they now have two tall sons who are as brilliant as their parents, which keeps the dinner conversation lively.

Christine’s two dogs rule the outside, defending her vegetable garden from the squirrels, while a polydactyl rescue cat named Zaphod holds court inside the house. Everything else is in a state of flux, leaving her home life a cross between an improv class and a think-tank for the defense of humans against zombies and demons.

Demon Soul | Blood Dreams | Demon Hunt
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