In case of demons, roll dice.
Okay, okay. If you know me, or happen to be in our book group “All Books,” then you know how I feel about Kala’s ‘The Guardians of Altana series (previously known as ‘The Shadow Curse’ series. In short, it’s amazing! You can go back and read my reviews of the other books in the series.. I believe I reviewed the other three on here, or maybe just the first two. Either way, you need to download them and binge them this weekend, trust me.
The Dark Realm picks up where we were literally DUMPED at the end of ‘The Forgotten Gate.’ I mean, how could she leave us hanging like that, right?
Anyways, its a long search once the Guardians get split apart; tensions are high, Demons are approaching, Gods are bleeding, and they. are. lost. It is literally a race to see who will find the goddess first. Aes is on the rampage after being brutally taken down a notch and no one will leave whole. Zira and Ara must fight, even though they know its a losing battle. Will Raethin finally get his head out of his butt!?
“This is what you and I are here for. To end his path of destruction, and fade back into our realms.”
Every single one of the characters has had amazing growth throughout the whole series, even if we want to shake them the entire time. Miss Merseal does such a wonderful job world building, her descriptions of everything are very well done.
While this book, or the series in its entirety, is marketed as young adult fantasy, and it does get dark at times, this is a series for just about everyone. Middle grade and up for sure.
The romance subplot is just that, a subplot. Yes, it’s mentioned. Yes, you root for both the villain and the hero to get the girl. But, it is not the main focus. Kala does not allow the real issues to be covered up by some school girl crush… there is just enough mention of romance to give the story some levity.
“Is it when you risk losing everything that you should hold on to what you have.”
While they all kick ass in this final book, Zira is absolutely amazing. She started out by being this mysterious, misunderstood, incredibly salty guardian. No one really knew who or what she was. I really warmed up to her character, especially once I read her novella “The Lunar Priestess,” which you can only get by signing up for Kala’s newsletter. Zira, throughout the whole series, never quite lost her saltiness, her short temper, or her fight. She pushed her all into defeating the void (read the books and you’ll see what I mean).
“One has choices when faced with hardship. They can either let the pain consume them or overcome and bring light into the darkness.”
Speaking of Zira… Cirith. He was so lost for the last half of the series. It was so upsetting. His blind faith, then the eventual questioning of his goddess, led him down a dark path that everyone was afraid he was not going to recover from. Spoiler alert, he did. And it was great. I personally thought he was cooler this way.
I’ll let you read about Ara and Raethin, as well as Aescion, for yourselves in the books.
But let me warn you… the ending of The Dark Realm. Oh, the ending. It is so, so heart breakingly beautiful. I cried. Even as a beta reader, knowing what was coming. I shed a few tears each time. While it is not the ending that everybody would hope for, it is definitely the ending the books needed.
Please! Go read this series.
You can download the whole series on Kindle Unlimited or you can purchase the digital boxset for $7.99