Dark Forge by Miles Cameron Review

Dark Forge is book two in Miles Cameron’s Masters and Mages trilogy. We continue following Aranthur, a student who has slipped into a plot way over his head. Dark forge follows on immediately after the end of Cold Iron.

Interestingly Dark Forge feels very different to the first entry in this series, the context we are in is particularly different. Cold Iron is very much set in civilian areas, whereas the second book is almost entirely set in a war zone. Military concerns and warfare come to the forefront for the vast majority of the page time. Cameron writes battle in an incredibly technically proficient manner, it makes sense and the choreography is interesting. The issue I have is not with how this is written, but just the sheer amount of it. Coming from book one there is a rough gear change in tone and the type of action we are party to.

Along with the change in style and tone, we are also introduced into many new characters. In Cold Iron, the secondary characters were distinct with a real sense of their own personality and identity, this is not so much the case in Dark Forge. The new characters we are introduced to feel much muddier and they blend into one another, barring one notable exception. I found this made it harder to follow who was who and what was going on, in a way that was never present in the first book. This characterisation issue along with the continual battles led to it feeling like lots of things were just happening.

Now don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the ride, and Aranthur’s character continued to be interesting and to develop in intriguing ways, but I found the book as a whole a little lackluster. Thankfully Dark Forge ended on a strong note, and I am hopeful for where the plot is heading in Bright Steel, book three.

Overall and enjoyable read but didn’t live up to the first book for me. Optimism abounds for the finale however.

3 stars

Go forth and read


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