I know what you are thinking... Didn't we already read a review about Born of Silence? Well, yes we did! Carmen had an idea to talk specifically about Darling and not just his book. There are so many levels to Darling that we have not even touched on yet. So, we have come up with this! The Character Complex that is Darling Cruel. What makes him tick? How can he still function at all in society? How does he have any compassion left? These are all things that we want to discuss with everyone. Here we go! Be kind to us. :)
We all have characters that we love to talk about. Some that we love to love. Some that we love to hate. And some that we hate to hate. What makes a good book is characters that you can relate to on a personal level. What makes a great book is the characters that have gone through the ringer with no hope of being saved but come out swinging and capture our hearts. The truly tragic characters rip out your heart and make you feel the pain and agony that they feel. Darling Cruel, from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League series, is the very definition of a tragic hero.
When we first meet Darling he is known as Kere, the youngest member of the Sentella and a founding member. His friends see him as, even tempered and loyal to his soul. Throughout the series we learn that Darling has a horrible uncle who beats him whenever he gets the chance. The fact that Darling never fights back speaks volumes of his character. By the law of his government he is still a “minor” and can not stand up to his uncle without causing his family more pain. In my experience, there has never been a more tortured character,both body and soul, than that of a young Darling Cruel.
How do I accurately review a book that both punched me in the face and restored my faith in forgiveness? A book that illustrated depravity at an unfathomable level, yet soothed me, told me not to surrender, for we owed its hero, Darling Cruel, Prince of the Caronese Government and covert member of the Sentella, our complete and utter support. I could have stopped reading this; the book was almost interminably cruel. But I trusted in SK to temper the mercilessness with tenderness and she did it quite masterfully.
Revelations. This book deals with truths and hindsight that cost Darling and Zarya pieces of their souls. If one would have revealed true identity….if the other had been effective as a leader…trust wouldn’t have been shattered. Bodies wouldn’t have been mutilated. Hope wouldn’t have been mangled. Hearts wouldn’t have been annihilated. And if you think I’m being melodramatic, normally I’d embrace the accusation…I dare you to read this!
Preparations that Darling had tactically planned to free his family of his Uncle Arturo’s reign of terror go horribly wrong. Darling is fired upon and taken into custody by The Resistance, a group of, get this, FRIENDS, who have no idea who he really is. The Resistance is a rebel group primed to overthrow the Cruel family, particularly Arturo, who has ruled tyrannically. Unbeknownest to members of the Resistance (did I fail to mention that a certain someone, a prominent someone, is the leader of said group?), Darling’s “official” persona as the true heir of the Caronese government is being held prisoner. What no one comprehends is that Darling is actually Kere, member of the Sentella. Confident they have scored a critical piece of the governing empire, the Resistance holds Darling for ransom. When Uncle Arturo, true to his abysmal self, denies Darling salvation, the Resistance goes on to make an example of the supposed pampered prince. To “right” all the wrongs to which the Cruels have made the people suffer.
Darling’s relationships have been tested with literally every person who has ever been in his life. Loyalty is a foreign concept to a jaded Darling Cruel. After the death of his father, Darling has never lived a charmed life. Far from it. The only thing to ever keep him sane throughout his horrid life was his best friend Maris. Together they forged a friendship that few will ever be privileged to know. Reading about those two made me ache for them. They are only real with each other. Maris has his own demons but only cares about helping Darling. The bond that these two men share is amazing to read about. If not for Maris, I feel that Darling would have given into his darker self. There would be no sanity left.
Born of Silence was nearly my undoing. If any of you have ever read Acheron from Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, prepare yourselves AGAIN. In spite of the agonizing imagery, the malicious homophobic slurs, the gut-wrenching torture inflicted upon Darling, a hope arises that only persons of supreme decency can ever embody. That person is Darling Cruel. His recovery isn’t merely physical, however. Darling is so dejected, so completely formidable in his hatred for the world, that it is only Zarya’s relentless pursuit to recapture Darling’s innate goodness that restores his faith. My faith! The rebuilding of trust is a battle in and of itself and you tell me if Zarya was worthy of Darling. Personally, Zarya could stand to do a little more groveling! Enjoy this intense read and see if you can’t be a little more forgiving in everyday life. I know I could use some of Darling’s attributes! ;)
Happy Discussion to you all!
Carmen & Lisa :)