On first hearing the premise for Dave Rudden’s debut Knights Of The Borrowed Dark, one would be forgiven for uttering “Here we go again.”
Let’s face it, the coming-of-age fantasy has been meticulously mined in recent years. Can anyone actually come up with an original story entertaining enough to grab the imagination of readers without veering too far from the seemingly unbreakable rules of the genre?
Well, yes. Dave Rudden has managed just that. He’s taken a tired genre and injected into it new life with a gripping and hugely entertaining romp through supernatural Ireland. Knights Of The Borrowed Dark tells the tale of Denizen Hardwick, a young orphan who discovers he is part of a secret and ancient group tasked with protecting the unsuspecting public from shadowy demons.
The reason this book succeeds where many have failed recently though, is that it’s impeccably crafted. The prose is strong, yet without over-complication, the narrative bold and often boisterous. Rudden’s not afraid to go over the top for good and glory, and this refreshing attitude serves him very well. Interspersed with carefully placed snippets of humour, nostalgia and pop culture references, the story trundles along nicely, and the characters are quickly established and developed, building tension, intrigue and out-and-out mayhem, and while it sets the scene for the further adventures of the wonderfully named Denizen Hardwick, it thankfully doesn’t rely on a huge cliffhanger to twist the reader’s arm, and just relies on the fact that they’ve enjoyed both the writing and the story enough to invest in the further adventures of the Knights Of The Borrowed Dark.
Out now from Puffin.
Book 2, The Forever Court now available also.