Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Winterkill. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Darkthaw was written by Kate A Boorman and first published in 2015. It is the second part of a planned trilogy and carries on directly where Winterkill (2014) left off, following Emmeline and her allies as they travel away from the Settlement for the first time. The final part of the trilogy, provisionally titled Heartfire, is due for release later this year.

La Prise has finally arrived and Emmeline is excited about the changes that it brings. Finally, it’s safe for her to travel through the forest to Matisa’s hometown. However, she soon discovers that the journey is not going to be as straightforward as she first imagined. Tom is unable to join her, forced to remain to care for his ailing father. Kane is also reluctant to come without his mother and brothers, raising tension among the party for fear that they will slow everyone down.

However, the biggest challenges lie outside the walls of the Settlement. The world is not how Emmeline envisioned it. The Dominion has begun its gradual crawl into the West, keen on bringing law and order to the ungoverned land. Ahead of them come all manner of outlaws, all intent on seizing control for themselves before the Dominion arrive. In addition to these, Emmeline discovers the truth of the malmaci, not a spirit but a disease that thrives in standing water. Only Matisa’s people know how to prevent the agonising death that this sickness brings.

Death and danger wait at every corner as Emmeline struggles to travel across the strange new lands and it’s not long before her party is divided. Lost in the woods with only the bad tempered Isi and Kane’s young brother for company, Emmeline battles to reunite her friends. However, she is also forced to face her own doubts. Is travelling to Matisa’s home really worth risking the lives of everyone that she’s ever cared about?


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