Book Review: The Dark Citadel

The Dark Citadel
(The Green Woman #1)
By Jane Dougherty
Expected publication: June 15, 2013
Musa Publishing

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Evil is slouching into Providence. Will the awakening memories of a rebellious runaway be enough to send the demon back into the shadows?

Fifteen-year-old Deborah is angry and bitter. Rebelling against an arranged marriage to an idiot, she flees the oppression of Providence’s religious Elders to search for her exiled mother, the legendary Green Woman.

Zachariah, dark, brooding and unhappy crosses Deborah’s path as they both plot escape from the House of Correction. Dislike is instant and mutual, and Zachariah blunders off alone to seek the Green Woman’s magical Garden. In the desert wasteland, Jonah, the dog boy takes Deborah’s hand, first as a friend and guide, then as something more.

Abaddon, Lord of Hell is waiting to crush the green magic that will destroy his realm on earth. Deborah is discovering love and the mysterious power of her memories, but will this be enough to defeat the demon and the Elder’s regime, and dispel the shadows cast by the Dark Citadel?

Note: This book was given to me as an advance release copy in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: It's been a long time since a book captivated me the way this book did. I thought about the book constantly when I wasn't reading it and finally stayed up all night to finish it. I absolutely loved it.

Ms. Dougherty is a very gifted author. The writing is descriptive, but not so much that it interferes with the pacing. From the desolation in the city of Providence to the dark underground. From the unforgiving desert to the deep forest, the author gives the reader a full sensory experience. This book really moves! There wasn't a single scene where my attention wandered. It wasn't a non-stop barrage of action scenes, but a very thought-provoking novel with twists and turns and danger. Always danger!

The story follows two main characters--Deborah and Zachariah--but also branches out to include Abaddon, the evil lord hellbent on destroying the Green Woman. We also meet Jonah, the dog boy (and probably my favorite character besides Deborah). The key to survival in the desolate, authoritarian city of Providence is to keep your mouth shut and do as you're told. Deborah is not well-suited to survive Providence. She's rebellious, questioning everything and everyone around her. Her sense of fairness and justice lands her in the House of Corrections where she meets Zachariah. I didn't like Zachariah nearly as much. His rebellion isn't triggered by an innate sense of fairness and equality, but more from a personal disappointment.

In Providence, evil is at work and it's only going to get worse. For those who are considered the Ignorants, there doesn't seem to be much to live for. But, we find out through Zachariah's storyline that the Ignorants--or Danaans--are very poorly named. They know the legends from the old times, the songs, the stories. It's Deborah who hold the memory and she is in more danger than even she realizes.

The only problem I had with this book was the ending. There wasn't really an ending to it at all, which is understandable since it is part of a fantasy series. There were so many loose ends and I'm sure I'll have to reread this book before the second book is released. But, this is a personal preference, and not a failing on the part of the author. I'm very desperate to get my hands on the next book. It's definitely worth waiting for.

Due to the ages of the main characters, this book has landed in the YA category. As a mom of teens, I'd say this book is great for ages fourteen and up. It's fast-moving enough to engage the younger reader and will make them think long after they're finished reading. As a parent, you can't ask for more. As a reader, I almost hate to see this in the YA category because I'm afraid some serious fantasy readers might pass it by. This is epic fantasy at its best. It put me in mind of a Tad Williams or Terry Goodkind tale. If you're a fan of high fantasy or even urban fantasy, you need to give this a read.

Highly recommended.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  1. It's warming the heart if someone gets your writing.


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