THE REDEEMED by Catrin Russell is the second prequel to THE LIGHT OF DARKNESS series, the first being one being THE RIGHTEOUS DAWN. I don’t read high fantasy very often but after I read FORGED BY BLOOD, the prequel to the A KINGDOM SCARRED series, I was hooked!
This second prequel of The Light of Darkness series by Catrin Russell starts ten years prior to the commencement of the series and ends at 6 years prior. There is one character that reappears from the first prequel, Righteous Dawn, which is the priest Ekelon who plays a relatively minor but pivotal part in this story (the same as he did in Righteous Dawn). He supports the main character Edric in his own development and influences his life choices.
The main character in this book is Edric who was bought as a child by the boss of a gang of thieves and mercenaries, Raven, who is a mean and cruel man who completely lacks compassion and empathy and is solely concerned with his own personal interests. He is a cruel leader and not shy of using violence against his own men. In fact, there is one character in his gang who regularly opens his mouth and gets beaten for it but never learns. This small pattern between them plays out in ever reoccurring certainty. As dark as these characters are, you find yourself smirking wryly from time to time at their little quirks.
I fell in love with Jaxon from the start. The young man is brave and not afraid to do what he can to save the priesthood he belongs to, as well as the other humans living under the protection of the clergy, and acts of his own volition. He has confidence, is intelligent and dedicated.
As grand and full of unforeseen twists this story is, it is greatly enriched by those small subplots and a love for details that really make even the small supporting characters leap off the page, teaming with life.
Edric himself is a youth of many opposites. He was raised a thief and throughout the book, it becomes more and more apparent that he has suffered a lot of abuse in his young life already. He commits crimes he is ordered to by his master Raven, yet has a twisted sense of righteousness and fairness at the same time when he reflects upon and questions his own actions before allocating all blame upon another.
There is another young man in the band of thieves who slowly tries to become friends with him, yet Edric won’t let anyone close easily. His feelings are torn between not trusting anyone because all he has ever known was abuse and wanting to be close to one person and trust in the goodness of one person’s heart. This inner turmoil is shown clearly in the following small scene:
Holding a knife to his neck, the familiar youngster would have looked mighty madcap was it not for a piece of metal he held in his other hand. Changing his course, Mason approached him "What are you up to?" he chirped, noting the locks scattered around the youth, and his now much shorter haircut. "What does it look like I'm doing?” Edric shot back without so much as looking at him. "Shaving poorly, but I thought I'd give you a chance to admit it." Gritting his teeth, Edric scowled at him. "Well, don't just stand there, show me how to do it then."
Edric is a character, rich in traits that often are at war with each other. He is not the clean-cut hero but a broken figure with a good heart underneath the many walls he has erected around himself. I will not spoiler the book by going into more details but I will say that this is a story of tragedy and heartbreak as well as hope and fortitude, it had me in tears and leaping for joy, of quiet contemplation and decisive action alike. A true little masterpiece, and one you should definitely not miss out on!
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Catrin Russell is a Fantasy and Romance author from northern Sweden. Her books are all written in English and are mainly part of the Epic and High Fantasy Genre. However, she does use influences from Dark Fantasy, and a touch of Fantasy Romance.
Growing up outside a small town, basically in the middle of nowhere, Catrin eventually moved to Stockholm, where she studied computer game development and design. Meeting her soon-to-become husband online, she lived outside of London for the best parts of a year, before finally settling down in Piteå, back in Sweden. Since then, three children and two dogs have joined the family.
With a background in design and holding a degree as a registered nurse, she writes novels in medieval settings, with plenty of action and romance. She often brings moral struggles, or highlights issues in society, into her writing. Another subject that is often highlighted is mental health.
Catrin also creates concept art, bringing her characters to life on the screen, and her own cover designs, much of which can be seen on her social media pages.