The Power of Dark by Robin Jarvis

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The Power of Dark by Robin Jarvis

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Alex Mitchell
Reviewed by Alex Mitchell
Summary: A gripping and unique fantasy horror adventure, mixing gothic and steampunk elements very well.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 288 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Egmont
ISBN: 9781405280235

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In the Yorkshire town of Whitby, something massive is stirring. Best friends Lil and Verne assume it's just a very bad storm, but to Cherry Cherise, the last of Whitby's guardian witches, it is a sign of something far worse. Two spirits, locked in a bitter feud that has lasted for centuries, are waking, as well as a long-lost magical artefact that could spell the end for Whitby...

This book comes from established fantasy and Young Adult writer Robin Jarvis. It is styled as the first in a series of books similar to the Whitby Witches series he previously published.

The story revolves around three main characters. The first is Lil (short for 'Lilith') Wilson, the daughter of the proprietors of Whitby Gothic, who are strong believers in witchcraft, a faith that Lil does not share. She has a certain fondness for knitting, and is determined to brighten up what she sees as being a gloomy town. Her best friend is Verne Thistlewood, the son of two steampunk enthusiasts who run an amusement arcade, and he's equally sceptical of the paranormal. The two children come into contact with two spirits; Lil with that of Scaur Annie, a teenage witch from the era of James I, and Verne of Sir Melchior Pyke, a young scientist/necromancer from London, who was also Annie's former lover. Cherry Cherise, Whitby's last resident witch, recognises the dangers that exposure to the spirits will cause.

The story is split between the present day and the early 17th century, as seen through the eyes of Annie and Sir Melchior. They are mostly told through the memories of Annie when she interacts with Lil. The common factor in the two narrative arcs is Mister Dark, the reanimated corpse of an executed criminal, and a servant of the Lords of the Deep and Dark, who are hell-bent on destroying Whitby. He is acutely aware of how the two narratives interlink and can jump between one and the other.

One of the most imaginative aspects of the story is how well Jarvis blends fantasy and science fiction. The Nimius, a mechanical device constructed by Sir Melchior from fantastical elements, has effects that more closely resemble those found in science fiction stories. The writer blends the two together well, with each complimenting the other.

Overall, this is an entertaining and imaginative story, and I look forward to the sequels.

Further reading:

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden – a similar fantasy book with similar dark themes.
The Alchymist's Cat – a book by the same author with similar themes.
We also have a review of Time of Blood by Robin Jarvis.
Kobal: The Mysteries of the Septagram by Paul Bryers
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

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Buy The Power of Dark by Robin Jarvis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Power of Dark by Robin Jarvis at


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