by A. M. Dunnewin
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Pub Date 25 Nov 2015 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2016
Self Published, eBook
His body was found slain in his room, only months after his son had been brutally murdered. Skylar Mandolyn, his daughter, has now become the last heir to inherit the throne. But instead of becoming Queen, she has been imprisoned for helping in the escape of Sir Harlin Brien, her knight who was framed for the King’s murder.
Confined to darkness, Skylar's captors have given her no choice but to yield to a new kind of enemy: a kingdom that has advanced in both technology and warfare. It's when she refuses that the prison uses its other means of persuasion, and although unmerciful, the whip lashings and isolation can't suppress the memories of her family's downfall. Pulled between her subconscious and reality, Skylar already knows who the true enemy is, because even the darkness can't hide the deceptive hands that have destroyed them all.
With two kingdoms on the brink of war, Skylar's only hope is in the person who has gone missing—Harlin, the knight who was sworn to protect her. The memory of him surrounds her when the darkness screams louder than the prisoners, and when Death smiles a faceless grin in between the cracks of the stone. While the tremors start to rise from the deep, crawling up through the prison's walls, Skylar doesn't realize that she will soon see why he's one of the Benighted.
The mystery was never how Harlin escaped. It's how he'll return.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 44 members
Writing: Dark. Intriguing. Different. The story is told in a through flashbacks and in a constant dreamlike state. Usually I don’t like these kinds of stories but THIS WORKS. It builds the tension and then instead of ebbing, it redirects it and builds and redirects and builds until both timelines of flashback and present converge and it feels like you are surfacing and taking one big gasp of air of understanding.
I’m only knocking a point from poor grammar and editing because the story and characters are so good.
Cover: Holy Cheesecake, Batman. Yes. Yes to the cover.
Main Characters: Skylar: Fierce, beautiful, strong willed, and smart. She isn’t your typical princess but this isn’t your typical fairytale. The contrast between her time imprisonment and time in the kingdom was stark and well done.
Harlin: Mysterious, professional, deadly, loyal, handsome — everything a bodyguard knight should be. He is the quintessential strong, silent type; distant enough to create tensions, and reveals just the slightest tear in the emotional armor enough to tease hope. So good, Anne.
Plot and pacing: Perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Romance: Moderate and Clean.
(See She Would Read for my romance rating system.)
This was a great adventure story. For those who enjoyed, Defy and stories filled with knights and kings and queens, this novel begins a saga that will enchant the reader. Switching between the past, the dreamworld, and the present, Skylar tries to piece together her world all the while trying to locate Harlin, her protector and the knight who supposedly killed her father.
I loved the start of this series. Skylar was strong and filled with mystery while Harlin is a perfect picture of a knight. Wonderful!!
So I started reading this book over the weekend and since I happened to start it super late on Friday night, I was practically in tears from being so tired and not wanting to put the book down!
It was extremely well written, despite the descriptions of the princess's outfits being a bit much for me. Truly a fantastic read, I've never read one of it's like before. Though for readers who are not into dark stories, I wouldn't recommend this particular one to you. Me personally, I love a tortured character because you can't help but feel connected to them as you witness them going through soul changing situations. Again I repeat, this is a SUPER DARK story!
The only things about this book that I didn't particularly care for was the continuous flashbacks of past events, whether they be through delusions, dreams, or just dazing in and out. It was an interesting way of pulling the events that brought the characters to the now but I found myself getting a little frustrated about a third of the way through the book with wanting something productive to happen in the present time of the story.
It is listed as a sci-fi/fantasy/romance, but I will say that this story didn't seem very 'romance' genre to me. As it gets closer to the end of the book you see that both Skylar and Harlin started developing feelings for each other but there weren't any lovey-dovey scenes going on.
From what I've read it is supposed to be the first book of a saga but I'm not sure if Dunnewin is planning on continuing the book series seeing as this one was published two years ago. I really hope that she does because it left you hanging on the brink of war and I have to know how the story continues! Please finished the series!!
If you're into dark fantasy books then you should totally check out The Benighted!
Why you should read it: For lovers of good YA fantasies complete with a hot hero, strong heroin, deception, and mystery, this book is for you!
4 “Benighted” Stars
When everything Skyler Mandolyn grew up expecting falls apart, she must rely on herself and her trusted knight, Sir Harlin Brien, to fight off the advances of an invading kingdom and unravel the mysteries surrounding her own kingdom and her family's claim to the throne.
The plot of this story is extremely engaging. The death of Skyler's brother and her father's subsequent actions are so at odds with how a loving parent would act toward the death of their only male heir that we blame the “snake” in the court. But as the book progresses and more information comes to light, a shocking revelation is unveiled and we're taken on an even more interesting ride.
The biggest draw back of this book were the flashbacks and dream sequences. There were no clear breaks between the flashbacks and current events so you had to read a paragraph into each section before it's clear just what/when you're reading about. And the flashbacks aren't in chronological order. One flashback is about the events of the King's death and further along in the book it's about a Christmas party that the King attended, etc. I particularly enjoy character interactions but a lot of the book is Skyler's description of the events in which interactions are described. As a reader I like to be a part of the book and live through the progress of the story along with the main characters. With this book, it felt more like I was an observer looking in.
This books has some AMAZING potential. The main characters are likable, the enemy is slimy and awesomely hate-able. The plot development is extremely interesting (I would liken the interest of this plot to such books as The Selection Series and the Study Series – one of my all time favorites series, EVER). If the story is written more in the first person, I would most definitely enjoy it a lot more. This is a good start to the series though!
This was a fascinating book in that it was done by flashbacks of memories while the protagonist dreamed/blacked out after being tortured. There were no sex scenes or swearing so other than a few violent scenes it is safe for a large audience. However, I am still unsure what era or world this was taking place in. There was electricity, GPS units and tracking units however everyone was in medieval garb. I did appreciate that the story emphasized the turmoil and the search for truth in the kingdom of Correnth while the development of the relationship of Skylar and Harlin was a subplot. Skylar ends up admitting that "ignorance is bliss" and almost wishing she hadn't begun on that path. Overall it had an enthralling plot and is definitely worth the read. I look forward to following the series and seeing the trials that war will bring to Skylar and Harlin.
What to say about this book? First off there are numerous grammatical errors or places where the author has just used the wrong word eg chocked instead of choked or confusing bare with bear or "flourished with an overly expensive wardrobe" when I can only assume the author meant furnished. These may be deal breakers for some, I hope they get fixed because mine was an ARC.
But the story itself? Fascinating. Told in a series of flashbacks we see how Princess Skylar came to be in prison and tortured. How her brother and father were killed. How her Knight Protector, the Benighted of the title, was framed for her father's murder. And why.
I really loved the story and the way it was told. It was fresh and different, even my husband said the plot sounded interesting. If the author can fix the spelling and grammar issues it could be outstanding.
This is the first time that I’ve read anything by A.M. Dunnewin. I was very surprised with it. I thought that this book was told by a unique manner, instead of going via chronological order of the story, the story was told via some sort of dream like state of Skylar. I felt that it was a really interesting way of doing it. I really enjoyed it reading it that way. Because as a reader you really felt that you were in Skylar’s mind throughout the story. The Benighted is a book about good and evil and where the lines between the two blur. It was also a tale of romance between a princess and her knight, but their romance isn’t light and fluffy.
What I really enjoyed about this book was that it had a really strong willed female lead that was willing to sacrifice everything to get her kingdom back. With her trusted knight by her side teaching her how to survive in a world that she’s never stepped foot in prior to the death of her brother and father. It was suspenseful, gripping and had me on edge the entire time. I highly recommend this book and I personally cannot wait till the second book comes out.
4.5 Emotional gripping Unyielding stars****
This story gave me what I love! A strong, determined Woman who is willing to sacrifice all fro not only the man she loves but the people of her country. While some people feel there are better ways to resolve conflict Skylar realizes there are worse things than death. She has lived some of them.
The history between Skylar the Princess Royal and her knight is told in a series of flashbacks while Skylar is imprisoned and tortured. She refuses to give in and marry a tyrant in a different kingdom. Her flashbacks reveal the treachery that surrounded her family and caused the death of her loved ones. Eventually all that remains is the one person she trusts: Harlin, who is framed for her father's murder. The twists and turns of this book was amazing.
The betrayal at the end shocked me, I did not see that coming, and yet Skylar didn't let it ruin her. She chose to be the Royal she was and put her people first.
<b> Skylar stared at him wide-eyed, and with her jaw clenched, she replied, "There are worse things than death." </b>
The love part of the story was well written and it developed well through the story. The relationship was strong and it gave the characters strength when they could have given in to the pain surrounding them.
<b>"I did have a sweetheart, She didn't know who I was, but I've always thought about her. I became a knight in hopes that one day our paths would cross. I never thought it would actually happen."
That you'd protect her?" Skylar managed to whisper.
"No, " He said "That you'd know my name." </b>
There is graphic violence in this book and the ending while happy, is a hard ending. The deaths that occur can be heart wrenching and haunting. Through it all Skylar carries this story and her light is amazing!
The only thing that did throw me was some of the editing and the long descriptions of the clothes worn. It didn't distract me completely but it is something to keep in mind.
This is a dark and suspenseful tale of secrets, torture and good against evil. The Kingdom of Mandolyn is is in disarray. The male heir to the throne has died a mysterious death, then the King is found slaughtered is his own bed. The princess' personal guard, the benighted, Harlin is accused of the crime and imprisoned. This leaves Princess Royal of Mandolyn, Skylar to rule the kingdom with the devious adviser to the throne, Cross Lutherus, by her side. Cross Lutherus hopes to rule the kingdom his way through the Skylar; however, he has underestimated her and her guard Harlin terribly.
We meet our wonderful heroine Skylar as she is being tortured in prison for the escape of Harlin, who was accused of killing the King. Skylar is a well-developed character and one fierce princess! She is smart, brave and determined. Along with her protector, Harlin, who is mysterious and one of the fearless benighted, they are quite a team to go up against. Most of all this is a tale of right and wrong and standing up for yourself, these characters let you live that. Along with A.M. Dunnewin's beautiful and descriptive writing, you can see the kingdom, the prison and even the torture clearly. Even the romance, which I could usually do without is meaningful; especially because Harlin needs Skylar as much as Skylar needs Harlin. There is an equality and strengths, and that's amazing. There was also a heart-pounding, un-put-downable exciting ending which left me impatiently waiting for the next installment of this saga.