The first book of The Loka Legends series, The Cat in the Cradle, was Dylan's coming of age story. It was a touching and compelling story about a young homosexual guy, who had to accept his sexuality and feelings. He also had to find a way to save himself and his friends from a killer, who killed Oligarchs.
Here's a bit of information about the plot of From Darkness to Darkness:
From Darkness to Darkness begins in an interesting way. At the beginning of the book Cole loses his friend and family. He almost dies, but he is given the black loka and he's able to heal himself. Because he has the black loka, he becomes the Black Oligarch. Dylan and Tyjinn have spent a lot of time together since the events of the first book. Dylan is sent to help Cole and he has stay away from Cole for a while. He returns to the Lakelands with Cole and has to deal with several things. When Cole disappears, Dylan and his friends have a lot to do...
Before I write more about From Darkness to Darkness, I'll mention that it's a much darker book than The Cat in the Cradle. Because of its dark themes From Darkness to Darkness is a book for adults, but it's also partly a young adult book (I think this book will be of interest to young adults because the young characters and their problems will appeal to young adults).
Jay Bell writes wonderfully about the characters, their insecurities and their thoughts. The characters face several difficult situations and they have to grow and accept changes. The inner struggles of the characters are interesting and add lots of depth to the book.
I liked it very much that the author was able to continue the story in a fresh and exciting way by writing about Cole's problems and how they affect others. The first book concentrated on Dylan and his problems, but this book concentrates on Cole. Although Jay Bell concentrates on writing about Cole, he also writes about other characters and deepens each character.
The author writes fantastically about difficult things. For example, he writes fluently about homosexuality and its different aspects. The romantic moments and also other moments between Dylan and Tyjinn are perfect, because the author writes about how they feel about each other and how their love has developed since the events of the first book.
Dylan and Tyjinn are interesting characters, because they have their own feelings and the author explores their feelings much better than in the previous book. Both characters have grown since the first book and they're wiser than before.
The introduction of Cole was an excellent idea from Jay Bell, because he can explore different feelings with Cole. Cole is a deeply damaged guy, because he has lost everything he holds dear and has to come to terms with his feelings. He has to struggle with feelings of sorrow, loss, loneliness and love. Cole isn't an experienced guy, because his friend, Jonah, used to support him, so he has lots of things to learn.
Kio, the big talking cat, is still as funny and sarcastic as he was in the first book. He almost "steals the whole show" with his sharp and witty comments. I think that everybody will like Kio, because he's a loveable and charming character.
Thistle is a well created character and his tragic story is told well. I won't mention who he is or what he does, because I don't want to write spoilers, but I'll mention that it was fascinating to read about him.
Other characters (Nikolai, Natasha, Crimson Barry etc) are also interesting. It was great that the author decided to write more about The Drake, because I was fascinated by him in the first book. I also enjoyed reading more about Nikolai and what he had done to his animal friends.
The worldbuilding is as nice as it was in the first book, but this time the author reveals more things about the world (The Five Lands) and its different areas. Everybody who has read the first book will notice how easily the author writes about the different areas.
In my opinion Jay Bell has found his own voice and style in this book. He has also matured as an author since the first book and writes more fluently than before. The first book was good entertainment, but everything's much better and smoother in this book. Jay Bell is a talented author, so it was nice for me to see that he has managed to develop his writing skills further and has written a sequel, which is better than his earlier fantasy books (The Cat in the Cradle and Hell's Pawn). I hope he keeps on writing more fantasy stories, because he clearly seems to love fantasy and has a talent for writing entertaining stories.
Jay Bell writes fluently about different magical and supernatural things. It was fun to read about the zombies, the undead etc. I also enjoyed reading about how the characters used the lokas. The different lokas and their powers are fascinating (I was fascinated by the lokas when I read the first book, so reading about them again was nice).
From Darkness to Darkness is a charming fantasy adventure, but it is also a compelling story about love, death, friendship, family relationships and coming to terms with who you are. The problems of the characters will be of interest to several readers, because their feelings are universal and readers can relate to them. (In my opinion From Darkness to Darkness can almost be called a dark fairy tale for adults, because it contains elements, which almost make it a fairy tale.)
The artwork by Andreas Bell looks beautiful. I like his illustrations very much, because they are atmospherical. Each illustration represents a scene from the book.
I liked From Darkness to Darkness very much and I can recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy adventures. I can also recommend From Darkness to Darkness to readers who want to read good gay fantasy. It's one of the best gay fantasy books I've read, because the characters are believable and the story is good. (Because I liked this book, I'm currenly thinking of reading Jay Bell's mainstream fiction.)
If you liked Jay Bell's The Cat in the Cradle, I'm sure that you'll like this book too. It's a surprisingly complex, well written and fascinating sequel, which offers lots of entertainment to its readers. The loveable characters alone make it a winner.
Good fantasy entertainment!