From time to time, it is really worth your time to discover a new author. In my case, it was Dave Rudden. With his first book, I went into a completely different way of fantasy story and got a wonderful chance to see how the Irish develop their fantasy. Yes, I know it is said that people from Ireland and Island have a fantastic fantasy and know how to use it. But despite that, it is always a pleasure to see how that looks for real. This book is no exception.

Knights Of The Borrowed Dark*
by Dave Rudden
Knights Of The Borrowed Dark Trilogy #1
Publisher Puffin on April 7, 2016
Genre Children 12+
Pages 368
Format Paperback
Source Publisher*

Denizen Hardwick doesn´t believe in magic – until he´s ambushed by a monster created from shadows and sees it destroyed by a word made of sunlight. That kind of thing can really change your perspective. Now Denizen is about to discover that there´s a world beyond the one he knows. A world of living darkness where an unseen enemy awaits.
Fortunately for humanity, between us and the shadows stand the Knights of the Borrowed Dark. Unfortunately for Denizen, he´s one of them …
Denizen lives since he can think, at the orphanage of Crosscaper. A dark and lonely place at the end of the world – as his teachers are used to say. His 13th birthday has passed a few weeks ago and all of a sudden people show up asking for him. And when a letter tells Denizen to get ready because he is about to be picked up by a family member, his entire world turns upside down. Thousands of questions swirl through his mind like why now? Who is this aunt anyways? But if he thought he would get answers right away, he is wrong. Because his homecoming is not at all what he expected it to be…

Dave Rudden has a wonderful, sometimes a bit ironic way to describe things and his fantasy is quite something. In the beginning, it is for the reader a bit confusing and some things make totally no sense. The reader and Denizen will have more and more questions as getting answers to them and it takes a while to come to terms with the unusual and unique writing style the author has. Despite that, his language is clear, there are some bizarre scenes and the reader gets to know the rough surroundings of Ireland. The story is told by an invisible narrator and shows the hard life of Denizen and his best friend Simon at the orphanage and that a family isn´t always bright sunshine either. But what the author gives the reader at the end of this book is as positive as unexpected and the answers to most of the questions are as well.

One thing is for sure: the author catches its reader, no matter if they´re young or old, with his low tone, the awkward scenery, and all those creatures he brings up. Darkness and light become a totally new meaning. And some words, you are thinking about during reading, are not precise enough or not seen as that. Yes, the exact meaning of a word becomes more important than anything else. So don´t be surprised when you start searching for words or will read some you´d never thought would exist.

Don´t expect the author to give huge descriptions of his figures; that isn´t the case. Your own imagination is asked to work. But that is enough and something I really appreciate. 

Denizen is a small thirteen-year-old boy who pays attention to things, others don´t. He is really smart, knows how to use his smartness, and is fully aware of the fact that he is different from all the others. He only isn´t able to name it; all he knows is, he wants answers. Friendship is something, you have to earn, a luxury you have to fight for. And that´s not happening overnight but once the process is done, that friendship is stronger than steel and holds for a lifetime. 

Simon is quite the opposite. Tall, lanky, and curious as hell, he is a calm guy and his friendship with Denizen means the world to him. He is not happy at Crosscaper but learned some things that others in a normal family don´t. And that knowledge he uses to survive the orphanage and his day by day life. A great little guy.

An unusual novel that is able to inspire and fascinate in her very own way, that is for sure. For fans of the fantasy genre a clear must-read. This book is for all those, who love to read fantasy with a bit of an awkward touch. And who likes gloom, darkness, and fantasy in a novel as for certain, will be lifted to a whole new level. This book is worth to be discovered.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition new release Fischer Sauerländer on April 27, 2016

Dave Rudden

Dave Rudden completed his Creative Writing Masters at University College Dublin, earning a first-class honors degree. His short stories and poetry have been published in such journals as Bare Hands, Wordlegs, and the Quotable. He has been shortlisted for the Bath Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize, and won the Fantasy Book Review Short Story Prize. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.


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