The Dark Divide: Volume 2 (Rift Runners Trilogy) Paperback – 13 Sep 2013
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Dark Divide continues where The UnDivided ended. Ren and Darragh's attempt to return to their home dimension failed. Hayley Boyle, Ren's best friend and adopted cousin by marriage, made it safely through the inter-dimensional rift to the home dimension of Ren and Darragh. But the presence of iron tainted bullets in the rift injured Faerie Lord Marcroy, and sent Ren and the half human/half faerie niece (Trása) of Marcroy into a dimension where the Japanese were the dominant world power and rulers of Ireland.
Lord Marcroy takes Hayley to Tír Na nÓg, the magical realm of the faeries where human perception of time cannot be trusted. Hayley is housed with Marcroy's sister, Elimyer, who is a faerie that is a muse and also Trása's mother, in an attempt to stop Hayley from interfering from the politics of the human world.
Over the length of the novel, we learn more about the world of Ren and Darragh, where Druids rule Ireland, and control the magic transfer from the Tuatha Dé Dannan to the Druid practitioners. We also learn about the reality where Ren and Trása are stranded, where Imperial Japan rules the entire world and many practices from ritual honour suicide and ninjas are still practiced and personal and family honour is paramount. We learn about the various other realities and how they have dealt with the magic sharing.
At the end of The Undivided, Darragh and his warrior bodyguard Sorcha were stranded in our world. Darragh sprained his ankle during the escape attempt, and was unable to reach the rift home. The next morning, he and Sorcha are still hiding at the golf course where the rift was opened, as the police are still hunting Ren for charges Trása set Ren up on and trying to figure out where they disappeared to. Our reality's version of the regent is the chauffeur of Ren's adopted mother, who is a famous actress. The chauffeur initially helps Darragh, thinking he is Ren and co-operation may help in bringing is daughter Hayley back safe quicker, betrays Darragh and Sorcha at the first opportunity.
Darragh and Sorcha also get help from Ren's neighbour, an ex-IRA terrorist-cum-celebrity. Darragh gets arrested at the neighbour's home for the charges Ren is wanted for, and then more are added as other facts are brought to light. But the neighbour is eventually arrested as well, as Darragh was arrested on September 11, 2001, the day of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon. The detective who interviewed Ren when he was initially arrested, also interviews Darragh. Pete knows he is the identical twin of Ren, but struggles to convince anyone else of that fact, and believes Darragh's tales of other realities are a sign of mental illness. Darragh struggles to live in a world with no magic, after 19 years of being the human with the most magic. Darragh ends up in prison on murder and kidnapping charges. While Detective Pete has some revelations about his own family and his potential revealed. Sorcha also suffers from a lack of magic, but unlike Darragh, her suffering is physical.
Ren, having spent 16 years in a reality with no magic, takes a lot to adjust to a reality which is saturated in magic and he is mistaken for a faerie because of his access to magic. He is nearly killed, but then plays it up when he is mistaken as a messenger from another reality to teach the Undivided twins of the reality he is in how to ensure all the faeries are wiped out and that humans controlled all the magic. At the end of the novel, Ren and Darragh have survived the transfer of power to another pair of Undivided twins in their own reality, and the multi-reality plot created by women aiming to control all realities is in massive danger by the simple fact of the survival RónánDarragh and their alternate reality version from our reality. And there is a very good twist with a rather murderous nightmare/vision of the future, which Ren and Darragh have both had since childhood. Very good read. I highly recommend it.
I enjoyed the character development, though slow at times and a little frustrating, the evolution fits the evolving story line and enriches rather than detracts.
I eagerly await the conclusion.
I really enjoy Japanese history and culture, but when Ren and Trasa enter the ‘ninja world’, I had some misgivings. The Celtic background had been woven into the previous book fairly well, but the Japanese integration was rather kludgy done. Jennifer Fallon does seem to have a pretty good grasp of Japanese culture (she is from Australia, so not too far away from Japan) and I enjoyed where she had the characters speaking actual Japanese (which seemed to be grammatically correct), but a lot of it still felt a little forced. For example, Trasa is flying over a preparation for a feast and she notes the mochi (or something) that is being made. Why does she know what they are called? At one point some of her knowledge is weakly explained as being heaped upon her by the ninja leprechaun, but how and why she remembers much of it is still a mystery.
I think part of the problem is the same thing I saw in the first book - terrible editing. For example - Ren is offered companionship of the families’ 12 year daughter. Ren is outraged. “These people are insane!” Well, yeah, the reader probably agrees. But then Ren proceeds to think this multiple times and verbally tell his hosts they are insane. His language doesn’t change (just keeps using the word ‘insane’), he doesn’t try to talk to them to figure out what is going on, and he basically insults their entire culture. Trasa halfheartedly tries to theorize the reason, and while she is probably right, the entire thing felt drawn out and painful. The entire scene could have been handled in a much more interesting way if only Ren’s reaction had a little more variety.
In addition to the editing, some of the characters make groan inducing decisions. Darragh’s reasons for his foolish actions are very weak. Especially since he is supposed to have Ren’s memories. He so should have known better. But it was convenient for the story for him to make these dumb decisions. Also, for a self professed 80 year old lady, Sorsha is about as bright as a dumb teenage girl. One would think that someone who spent lots of time in the forest would be interested in learning about their surroundings before plunging forward, but Sorsha treats Ren’s world exactly as if it were her own.
Overall, this book was a big let down. It was still fairly entertaining, which makes it all the more disappointing, since I could imagine how great it could have been with a little (or a lot) more work.