Caution: Spoilers ahead!
Having read the first five books of the series earnestly, it was for quite some time that I had been waiting for Darke to come out.
I wouldn’t say that the long wait was a wasted effort; though the book fell short of expectations. At least in my case.
To give a brief background of the storyline; the main protagonist of the story is Septimus Heap. The series follows the adventures of Septimus Heap who, as a seventh son of a seventh son, is supposed to, and partly does, have extraordinary magical powers. After he becomes an apprentice to the arch ("ExtraOrdinary") wizard of the series, Marcia Overstrand, he must study for seven years and a day until his apprenticeship ends. In the first book, he is known as Young Army Expendable Boy 412, until his great-aunt, Zelda Zanuba Heap reveals his true identity. His adventures are placed in the context of the warmth and strength of his family, and developed alongside those of Jenna, his adoptive sister, who is heir to the throne of the Castle, the community where they live. The novels, set in an elaborate fantastic world, describe the many challenges that Septimus and his friends must overcome. (Courtesy Wikipedia)
There are six books in the series: Magyk, Flyte, Physic, Queste, Syren and the latest Darke; in that order.
Now to the latest book.
In this volume, Merrin Meredith, apprentice to necromancer Domdaniel and now wearing his two faced ring has decided upon himself to setup a Darke Domaine in the castle and overcome even the Wizard Tower, with the help of his faithful THINGS. This Darke Domaine grows outward from the palace and is now threatening to overwhelm the entire city. Septimus is worried about his Darke Week where he must encounter the Darke and successfully avoid being lost in it. Unfortunately, the ghost of Ex-extraordinary Wizard, Alther Mella, has been banished Marcia Overstrand, the current Extraordinary Wizard, in a mistake and is not present to help. On the other hand is Princess Jenna in a tiff with the Port Witch coven. Beetle, on the other hand, involved in the entire charade in more than one ways: Having a crush on Jenna, past association with Manuscriptorium, association with Marcia etc.
Positives of the book:
- The character of Beetle has been developed a lot with a good ending for him, for a change.
- Since both Jenna and Septimus are coming of age, 14 years, in this volume; they both are coming to terms with the expectations that they have to fulfill – Jenna as the queen to be and Septimus as the possible candidate for Extraordinary wizard.
Negatives of the book:
- While a lot of talk and impression were given as to Septimus having to go into Darke Halls to retrieve Alther, that bit went off fairly quickly and I felt that it could have been developed on at all. Especially since it seemed that visiting Darke Halls was all the more urgent for the removal of Darke Domaine.
- More than usual detailing on Darke Domaine; at times felt it to be too lengthy and kept on going on and on.
- At times Jenna and Septimus seemed a bit more childish. But I guess that can be explained as being a part of adolescence.
- I was kind of looking forward to see more of Syrah and Jim Knee but they both were absent throughout.
A very surprising element was when Marcellus did something which I would have never expected him to do. That was a real nice bit.
Though, all in all a nice read and I will give it a 3.5 out of 5 rating.