Thank you so much to Storytellers On Tour and the author for having me on the Book tour for Dark Oak! This is a dark ish fantasy that takes place after the end of a great war, where the evil has been vanquished and a time of peace is beginning.
Or… Well it should be, anyway. Unfortunately once the prime evil is gone and unity is no longer necessary, humans tend to create new enemies and now war is brewing in the territories again as the lands and Lords revert back to their pre-war dispositions. This right here was probably my favorite theme from the book.
Despite my 3 star rating and various struggles: I want to say up front that the ending of this book is EVERYTHING. Once you learn what “Dark Oak” refers to and things start getting dark, it’s just… Really something else.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Dark Oak
- Series: The Dark Oak Chronicles, #1
- Author: Jacob Sannox
- Publisher & Release: self, April 2017
- Length: 313
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐for dark fantasy fans, maybe military fantasy
Here is the synopsis:
Humanity has finally defeated the Dark Lord, but Morrick fought on the wrong side.
Though he was a slave, he is branded a traitor and must earn the trust of new lords in order to return to his family – if they are still alive.
Now that their common enemy is dead, the nobles begin to forget old loyalties, and Queen Cathryn’s realm looks set to plunge into war once more. But there are older and more terrible powers dwelling within the forest, and when they are awakened, Morrick will decide who lives or dies.
The starting point of this book was an interesting choice, as it started at the end of a war. It was hard for me to wrap my head around who and what was relevant at first, even though right at the start of the book it disclaims that it is NOT the story of the dark lord!
Dark Oak has a LOT going on, and a few different points of view to be aware of. Morrick is the main character, and probably the most interesting one as we watch his moral struggles. There is a lot of humanity in the book as various tragedies are met and death with, including post war trauma and death of family, seen mostly through the eyes of Morrick. Cathryn, the queen, and the various lords also have points of view.
I thought his wife, Rowan, was important too but she was mostly entirely brushed over. For example, she went through all this trouble to consider starting a rebellion with some people who showed up, then we hear nothing except that it was over and went badly. That was probably the hardest part of the book for me – to decide what was relevant. I also struggled with what parts the author chose to brush over vs. expand on.
I thought jt was pretty real that most of the Lords, including the queen, really just wanted to kick up their feet and essentially retire after the war but there’s always that *one* problem child.
As far as the magic- the Dryads were definitely the best part of the whole book for me. The supernatural things were dumped into the book kind of suddenly, but once I learned that a main focus going forward was angry Dryads having their home and trees destroyed, things made a lot more sense. I really loved the descriptions of the tree and water folk, and how their magic worked.
The worldbuilding was high in setting, scenery, and geography, decent in history, but kind of mish mash on the micro level. I had a good idea of the history and politics of the realm and the forest, but not so much the cities and moods, weather and foods, etc. There were some interesting cultural pockets like the “whores” in the Whoreswood. I originally felt like the world lacked any kind of cohesion, but that plays a role since although the humans united under the name “The Combined People”, they didn’t necessarily have anything in common except the enemy.
Here is a preview of the map, which helped SO much to visualize the book
I think the magic is definitely the strongest aspect. I liked the political maneuvering by the Lords and watching the kingdom dissolve into mayhem. The book definitely had both strong and weak points, and it *lived* for the final quarter. I do plan on ordering book 2 so i can see what happens, and how he grew as a writer going forward.
Definitely check out the tour page and see what others had to say about the book!!
Meet the author
Jacob Sannox is a 37 year old writer from the sunny climes of Bedfordshire, England. In his spare time he is generally writing, thinking about writing or berating himself for not writing.
He loves to play the acoustic guitar, but wishes he was better at it, and he has recently taken up Dungeons & Dragons. This is dangerous, as he has a propensity for disappearing into fantasy worlds. Nobody saw Jacob Sannox between 2000 and 2010, during which time he was LARPing.
Do not judge him.
Author & Book Links
Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/mVQZ65