"Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan's owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince--more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan's head cause him to fear he's going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison--only to discover a secret about himself he never believed possible."
By Darkness Hid is a great book. A tad longer than needed, but great whatsoever. (It's like five hundred pages or more? It's a thick book, with something 'round the middle). It is told by two people, Vrell Sparrow and Achan Cham.
The book doesn't have a good background info page on the setting, unfortunately. I was pretty much clueless about the constantly referred "Darkness" and word usage by many of the characters. (A quick Author's note would had been helpful.) The fantasy realm that is barely described by the author makes the entire book lost and confusing. I quickly imagine a world of medieval knights and ladies to at least find some good footing before I dig myself into a deeper hole. From what the author says, it looks to be set in the medieval times, although there's some odd things like "bloodvoicing" and all that good stuff, which confuses everything for the first parts (of the book) or so. I got settled in by the third part.
Achan Cham is in love with Glen, a person higher than him. She's richer and own more fancy attires than Achan. Achan is a stray whose true identity remains to be uncover. (Hint, hint. The book is going to turn out something similar to The False Prince. That should be enough said for most of you). He meets a knight who offers the chance to become a Kingsguard Knight, and quickly accepts it. (Who wouldn't? Chance to fight and die. Awesome!) Achan goes through more emotional things than Vrell Sparrow, who would probably be overloaded in the next book. I like how Achan goes through everything and, in the end, still has the ability to come out fighting with sword in one hand and power in the mind.
Vrell Sparrow has a secret. He's, or should I say she's? Anyway, she's a she. She, like Achan, has a strong ability to bloodvoice (meaning talking to other bloodvoicers only in the mind). There's not much going on with her, but let's just say, she has some problems of her own. For example, she's engaged to be married to the Crown Prince, who is a fat pig, without the fat. Unfortunately.
The writing of By Darkness Hid is very compelling. Why else would I read a very long book? Just to bore myself to death? Self-torture isn't my tactic to kill myself. Sorry guys, I'm getting off-topic. Even though the background of the book isn't developed, the writing is the complete opposite of that. It's wonderful to read a book different than many others. (By Darkness Hid was published in 2008. I don't just read the new books, I read the old ones too. It keeps things interesting, just as long it's not Homer).
Rating: Four out of Five