Darke Book Review, Angie Sage
(Not, actually) The final book of the Septimus Heap series: Darke. I’d say it’d be a shame to finish up with this series, but I am looking forward to pastures new. I’ve got a new book I want to read, but I dedicated myself to re-reading this series. Here’s the last entry in this series. Septimus Heap Seven; Darke. This is probably the best book in the series. Enjoy.
In Darke, Merrin Meredith (AKA Daniel Hunter or Septimus Heap, depending on who he’s speaking to) gets his moment to shine. When Marcia accidentally Banishes Alther, Septimus decides to dedicate his Darke Week to saving his ghostly friend. Marcia isn’t happy with this, but Septimus is adamant. Meanwhile, Jenna is concerned with an attic room in the palace, which has an unpleasant feeling of the Darke about it. Septimus, however, is too preoccupied to be worried. That is until, Jenna receives a little Red Book. The book that is, as Marcia calls it, “the bane of every ExtraOrdinary Wizard’s life”. Can Merrin Meredith keep his powers under control?
Right from the first page, the action is on in Darke. Before we’ve even settled down to read it, everything is starting to go wrong. This is incredibly relieving, as if you remember, I decided that Syren was much alike to a dead caterpillar. Yup, that good. There’s lots of things going on at once in Darke: Septimus is finding Alther in the Darke halls, Jenna is working to try and sort the Darke Domaine, and Marcia has problems of her own. This is a real page turner and a compulsive read. Once you start, you might as well dedicate the day to it. I don’t know what took hold of Angie Sage when she wrote Syren, but Darke is back in the same league as Magyk. It’s.. magykal. we see a really good film quality showdown in the castle walls, featuring Septimus, Spit-Fyre, Merrin and his mount. This book really weaves all of the plots together, and we see all of the characters ‘throw it in together’, including some of those that have been sidelined slightly. The plot of this book really steps up the game – and I’m glad.
The characters are as brilliant as they have always been. They’re funny, they’re witty and they’re deep. They’ve been through quite a lot together by now, so their personalities are rich and interesting just like the plot is. In fact, the plot and the characters suit each other and work together most harmoniously; as indeed they should. I think my favourite character still has to be between Marcia and Spit-Fyre. Spit-Fyre is pure brilliance, but we just don’t see enough of his ‘speech’. Marcia is nearly as good, and we see a lot more of her, which puts her well into the rankings (*1). I think that by this point, we know the characters well enough to start predicting their actions, and I always find it amusing to try and second-guess what’s going on. You can’t often do it though: Angie Sage is too brilliant for that. Septimus himself seems to evolve whilst he is in the Darke Halls on his own. He comes out stronger, and just a little bit more dangerous. This shows, that even up until the final full stop, Angie pushes her characters to their limits.
Darke is, in my opinion, probably the best book in the series. It’s a little bit more grown up than the others, there’s slightly fewer jokes, and it’s a bit more intense. That suits me fine, I love how the series evolves as it moves. I think it would be a mistake to keep wholly the same writing style in a series. If books grow older with their readers, it makes them far more attractive to those loyal to the series, as mentioned here. This is a brilliant end to a mostly brilliant series, and the sense of Magyk truly permeates through the book, giving it a wonderful atmosphere.
Darke gets an 8.5/10 from me. I loved it, it’s a really great read. The whole of the Sep Heap series is worth looking at. Oh, and don’t just look at it, READ IT. Now. Do it right now.
(*1) Who are your favourites in this series?
(2*) This is my copy of Darke 😉