I don't know what to make of this third story of the Scarabae; it seems to me that Tanith Lee is just indulging herself. I felt the same way with her third Unicorn book; Red Unicorn seemed to be just as much an exerice in writing and little else as Darkness, I.
I get the feeling that Tanith Lee is getting lazy with her novels. They're not as tight as they usually are; all of her latest stuff seems half-hearted, a rough draft, not polished at all. Strange. Perhaps Lee needs to do something completely different for a while, or something, to get back in the swing of things.
Still, even with its problems, Lee's Darkness I is definitely worth reading. Her characters are, as usual, excellent, real, and completely different from any other. Lee's best qualities are her prose style, both lush and spare at the same time. Amazing. Her characters, as ever, are wonderfully drawn, remarkably different, unusual.
I just hope that when Tanith Lee writes again, she's rejeuvenated; I miss the tight writing and plots that I expect from her. I'm looking forward to another sterling book.