Child of Darkness by Jennifer Armintrout is the second volume of her Lightworld/Darkworld series and focuses on the child of Queene Ayla of the Lightworld Fae. Ayla seeks to protect her only offspring by never acknowledging her true father, the previously immortal Death Angel Malachi who figured so prominently in the previous book, Queene of Light. The child, Cerridwen, grows up with the bitter knowledge that not only does she have human blood passed on by her half-breed mother but she also believes that her mother killed her father in a duel that took place before Cerridwen's birth. Naive but rebellious, Cerridwen forms a forbidden attachment to a Darkworld Elf and refuses to hear warnings of the horrifying Waterhorses that are being employed to destroy and intimidate the denizens of Lightworld. The Lightworld Fae must prepare for war in the midst of several crises, including the formerly faithful Councilor Cedric’s inexplicable attachment to a gypsy human and the overtures of the Fae Queene from Upworld who may be offering asylum or annexation.
Another very complex tale filled with a myriad of undercurrents and plot tangles that are not well-delineated. Better character development allows the reader to feel more affinity to some of the characters but it is still difficult to distinguish the various factions and alliances, as they seem to rapidly shift. A nice premise but an overwhelming melange of disparate races in a melting pot of layered worlds adds to the difficulty of sympathizing with a shallow self-centered main character.
At a Lightworld royal gala, Queene Ayla announces the betrothal of her daughter, Cerridwen, to a high-ranking councilor. Though strategically brilliant, the engagement comes as a shock—to Cerridwen especially. Infuriated by her mother's high-handedness, ignorant of her own true origins, she flees the court—leaving herself vulnerable to those who would see the Lightworld destroyed.
Amid burgeoning unrest, desperate desires become divided loyalties and terrifying mercenaries lurk in the shadowy space between rebellion and anarchy.