Book Review: Dark the Night Descending


Dark  the Night Descending © 2014 Jennifer Bresnick

Arran Swinn is a captain without a ship, a man who is trying to rebuild after an unfortunate disaster at sea. After securing enough money, he buys an old ship, The Tortoise, and begins to look for a crew, though securing cargo becomes his next challenge.

When Elargwyd, one of the Neneckt – a race of sea-dwelling creatures who have the ability to change their appearance – comes to the captain, looking for passage, he reluctantly accepts the job, though one passenger isn’t much of a cargo. Arran looks for an old client in the hopes of securing something profitable, but he is turned away. He is  therefore surprised when packages mysteriously arrives from the client. Arran accepts the payment without regard to what the packages are.

That decision begins a series of disasters, each pushing Arran further along a path where he is no longer in control. The shipment put Arran in the cross-hairs of the Guild of Miners, a group regulates the trade of red iron, a scarce and precious commodity, and a target for counterfeiters.

Arran is forced into hasty alliances in the hope of clearing his name, and finding the a way to pay a debt to a mysterious creature, a payment whose forfeiture would result in his death. After betrayals and shifting alliances, Arran is confronted with his destiny, one that put his life and death in his hands. His fate, and the fate of mankind, may rest in his decision.

I’m familiar with Jennifer Bresnick’s work, having read a few of her short stories, and I even reviewed her first book, The Last Death of Tev Chrisini – the 2012 winner of the Shelf Unbound Contest for Best Independently Published Book. In this novel, I see a great improvement in her writing and storytelling.

In Dark the Night Descending, I found her ability to create a world uniquely her own as good as ever. Her world is inhabited by men and other super-human beings, creatures that have to power to terrorize mankind. It is not a safe world, and the terrors she writes are not unknown to the thoughts of men.

I can relate to Arran as a man trying to fight his way back after suffering a professional setback. He’s a man who finds himself dragged into a situation beyond his ability to cope, and his struggle is complicated by a cast of characters that have their own agendas, ones that finds Arran as dispensable.

Our hero has choices to make. Does he despair and accept defeat, or does he fight on, railing against the powers that seek to use and ultimately destroy him? When his allies betray him, to whom does he turn? Is there anyone left to trust?

The idea of a person finding that he has a greater destiny is nothing new, it’s a well-worn device in literature. What Jennifer does so well is that there is nothing remarkable about our hero, no super power or great ability that sets him apart. He is an every man, somebody who wants to make an honest living and do the best he can with what he has.

To me that’s the heart of the story, that though many powers have tried wrestle control of his life from our hero’s hands, what they can’t take is ability to choose for himself. He is unpredictable and thus he makes himself a dangerous power in his own right. That’s the lesson I take out of it, that we are ultimately in control of how we react to life’s surprises.

I have to give her effort a well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars. The story is entertaining and never predictable. As a reader, I never knew who I could trust, or even like. I was left wanting more and having to wait for the next installment to be written and published. I can’t wait!

Dark the Night Descending is the Book One of the Dreamer’s Shadow Series. You can find this, and her other works on Amazon or Smashwords. Please check her out on her blog Inkless and on Facebook.

Jennifer Bresnick
The Last Death of Tev Chrisini

List of Book Reviews
Next review – Through Kestrel’s Eyes
Previous Review – Back From Chaos

Book Review: The Last Death of Tev Chrisini

This is the second book review in what I hope to be a monthly series. This month I am reviewing the debut novel, The Last Death of Tev Chrisini by Jennifer Bresnick. Jennifer is a fellow blogger here on WordPress, one that I follow and find illuminating as well as entertaining. If you have a chance, please check out her blog, after you finish reading my review, of course.


The Last Death of Tev Chrisini © 2012 Jennifer Bresnick

The Last Death of Tev Chrisini by Jennifer Bresnick tells the story of a soldier caught in the middle of a war that has been waged for almost seven hundred years. Centuries have passed since the last face to face negotiations between the warring factions when word comes of a two-week ceasefire to allow delegations to meet for the first time.

News comes before a humiliating defeat is suffered by Tev’s forces. He survives, and after the ceasefire takes affect, his commander, Lord Ausring is invited by the opposing leader, Duke Polormi, to a banquet. Ausring, who is not in a position to decline, attends, bringing Tev and a few other men of importance.

It is through this contact that Tev finds himself marching with the enemy, escorting them through his territory, to attend the negotiations. This ultimately brings our hero to discover the truth of who he is, and why, after over 500 years, and countless deaths on the battlefield, he is still alive. The ceasefire is the motivation for him to fulfill a destiny long since hidden from him, and forgotten in the ravages of a seemingly perpetual war.

While The Last Death of Tev Chrisini deals with war and the complicated politics between sides, and even among family members, at its heart it is very much a story about one man’s journey of self-discovery. The events that were triggered before the first battle of the novel set in motion a course of events that propel Tev, and by extension us the reader, forward.

As is the case in most heroic journeys, Tev has the choice to refuse or back out. He could have chosen to deny is heritage and his destiny, but like a true hero he is compelled to do what is required of him, in spite of the cost.

Overall, I found the novel to be compelling and well written, and as a winner of Shelf Unbound Magazine’s Best Indie Book Award it should be. My only issue, and not that it’s a bad one, is that it’s easy to lose track of the number of characters, locations, and races in the story. Happily, she remedied that particular (non)problem with the inclusion of Glossary of Names to help us the reader keep track. Overall, I recommend that you give Last Death a chance.

You can find her book on Amazon and Smashwords.

Currently, Jennifer is working on a prequel, which if this novel is any indication, will be just as enjoyable to read. I can only hope that Last Death will only be the first of a series of novels set in this universe, and a launching point for a long writing career.

List of Book Reviews
July’s review – Winter Howl
May’s Review- The Bridge

The Last Death of Tev Chrisini © 2012 Jennifer Bresnick
© 2013 Joe Hinojosa