Black Mirrors of the Soul - Book 2 (ATOS)
ISBN 978-0-9981177-4-4 iBooks
ISBN 978-0-9981177-5-1 Amazon Kindle
ISBN 978-0-9981177-6-8 Amazon CreateSpace Print
ISBN 978-0-9981177-7-5 All other digital distributions
Black Mirrors of the Soul—in my own words—is thematically more about the 'who' and the 'why' whereas A Kingdom Forgotten was more themed about the 'what' and the 'when.' However, I'd be lying if there wasn't some very critical 'what' happening at a vitally important 'when' in BMOS. You still need to pay attention to the time and location markers, but things are organized in larger chunks of consistency so the time and world-jumping is 'more accessible' according to one reviewer. I wouldn't classify A Kingdom Forgotten as 'inaccessible,' however, I think I agree with the reviewer that BMOS is far easier to follow and the flow is much better than in A Kingdom Forgotten. Another reviewer described it as 'McDonald is hitting his stride in this novel.'
Really, when you think about it, go look back at the first novel of any major series and tell me if that one wasn't the hardest to get through... The first novel of any major series is dealing with several disadvantages that make it a 'heavy lift' of a novel. First, you're world-building. Second, you're character-building. Third, you're story-building. And, you're almost never going to get into the meat of all the storylines unless the first book is over 1,000 standard pages. And, in my case, you're doing so across at least five major worlds and eons of time. So, that tends to make the first novel in a series—especially this one—a very heavy lift. However, if you read the reviews, heavy lift or not, it's extremely well worth it.
That said, I needed to tell an immense amount of backstory for Damon in order for huge parts of this story to make sense. This book contains the bulk of that backstory but does so in past-progressive so you feel like you're right there in the here and now. It's written in an immersive, incredibly realistic way with dialogue so natural as to suck you into the scene right there with the characters. I tell the backstory while weaving in present and future details so you never go for long stretches without feeling the present moving forward further into the story. Another very important element to BMOS—for me—was the emotive connection. Damon suffered a great deal and it's vitally important that you feel his pain and anguish in order to understand his motives. I'm not going to lie to you. There are parts of this book that will absolutely make you cry your eyes out. There are parts of this novel that will make you laugh and even shout out loud. This is a very emotional read and it will get a strong reaction out of you. I don't know, at the end of this book, whether you'll love Damon or hate him, but I do know you'll understand him far better than you did before.
I don't want to make it sound like this book is 100% about Damon because it's not. There is a ton of character development in this book for Dallia, Evanyil, Banthis, Mira, Radin, Kellen, Michelle, Lawna, Rena, Goldenbow, Illirian, Elise, Talemar, Rowarc and many others. I don't know about you, but the stories that kept my attention were the ones that cared about character development. For that, I learned from the best, and you'll be able to tell as you read deeper into A Throne of Souls...