In a land of perpetual darkness, the city of Agapay stands as a beacon of light in the midst of a raging war. Lachlaniel has never known the light until a man with one of the King’s light-giving stones passes by. Dazzled by the wonders, beauty and gifts it bestows, Lachlaniel leaves Fairvale to find a stone. Accompanied by a friend and aided by some of the King’s finest warriors, Lachlaniel makes his way to Agapay pursued by the creatures of darkness. His quest has roused the enemy unleashing a flood of terror and destruction. The Great City is in peril. Can Lachlaniel obtain a stone before the forces of evil engulf the city? Can he and his friends turn the tide of destruction, or will the light fail and the defenders succumb to the legions of darkness?
Book 1 of the Seven Towers series.
Much like The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Darkened Land begins with a conversion journey, but then takes a The Lord of the Rings–style turn as an army of evil creatures lay siege to a city of good people. Larry Paris’s novel is an ambitious work, filled with heroes battling various grotesque monsters. But these heroes, rather than being paragons of perfection, exhibit struggles typical of real people. The story seems to falter upon a few cumbersome devices, such as a trans-dimensional “closet” that characters must enter when they pray, and the titular gloom, which seems to cause darkness or blindness that keeps heroes from seeing. Despite these potential fumbles in the dark, however, the story possesses a good heart.
Best for: Older teens and adults.
Discern: Some allegorical parallels to evangelical practices, such as “prayer closets,” and at least one scene with a character promised a kind of spiritual elitism.