As the youngest of four brothers ruling a remote province of the Anrodnes empire, not much is expected of Raine. Unlike his big brutish siblings, Raine is lithe and intellectual. He’s suffered enough beatings at the hands of his brothers to do whatever they demand, no matter how crazy the idea may seem. Their latest scheme involves getting Raine selected as the “Chosen” for the crown prince, a position that means he would be bonded for life to the future Emperor. Not only does Raine doubt he is worthy to be the Chosen, but he is also certain that the position would not guarantee the Emperor would overlook the act of treason his brothers plan.
“Dark Rain” is set in a medieval fantasy world of feudal kingdoms and a touch of magic. It is of course a world that never existed, but that gives the author free rein to make it the kind of world where male bonding is the norm and magic is real. There are no women characters at all in the story, and only passing mention of some character’s mothers. One wonders why the author just didn’t go full m-preg, but different strokes and all that.
Although Raine is in effect the title character, the story is told from a number of different points of view, including the Crown Prince Taldan and various members of court, as well as Raine himself. We get enough from each of them to get a good picture of each, with their different viewpoints on the plot developments. Raine is a somewhat common character for these books, very like the main character in the last few books I’ve read by this author, such as Siren’s Call. He’s a bit damaged by his abusive family, but still a good person.
The plot is somewhat complex yet well constructed. From the blurb alone you can probably guess at how the story will end, but there are so many twists and turns that it’s sometimes hard to see how the many challenges Raine faces will be resolved to pave the way for him to become the Chosen.
With its fast-paced plot full of surprises, this was a hard book to put down. Nobody would argue it’s great literature, but it’s a fun read.
“Dark Rain” is available from Amazon.