"What does it mean to be human? Are we really that different than wolves? I often felt myself questioning not only this but also who the real heroes and monsters of the book were."
I'll admit going into this book that I was a bit skeptical it could live up to everything it claimed to be, "horror meets fantasy meets historical fiction". That's never easy to pull off. In reality, it far exceeded every one of my expectations. Throughout the course of the book you can really feel the passion that went into it and tell that it's more than just an awesome book about werewolves, it meant something to the person writing it. Though it's also definitely an awesome book about werewolves!
At first glance, the main character, Poldek Tacit seems like your stereotypical male protagonist. An emotionless brute, hardened over decades of witnessing unspeakable things and atrocities. I'll admit I rolled my eyes a bit at first, but quickly took it back.
Through a series of flashbacks, you really get to know Tacit and how he came to be the way he is. Tarn pulls back each rough layer over the course of the book and reveals a character that has far more substance than I've come to expect from similar works. At times it felt more like it spoke to humanity and what makes people who they are, rather than just a look into who Tacit is and has become.
What does it mean to be human? Are we really that different than wolves? I often felt myself questioning not only this but also who the real heroes and monsters of the book were.
I want to draw comparisons between The Damned and other novels I've read to give you an idea of what to expect, but that's far more difficult to do than I anticipated. Angels and Demons comes to mind, but only in the sense of Religion and historical accuracy. There's a bit of a Van Helsing vibe, but no vampires. The Damned really is it's own unique thing and unlike any other books I've read.
The plot is thick, fast paced, unique, historically accurate and creative. There's a tonne of setup to what I expect will be an amazing trilogy. On more than one occasion I had to set the book down and think, as it reignited a lot of my historical curiosities. I'd find myself online at 2am reading about the history of the Vatican, the great war and inquisitors, which is not entirely unlike me, but something I haven't done in some time.
In all honesty, I could sit here and talk about the first book in The Darkest Hand trilogy for several more paragraphs, but you should really just go and read it. More than once I was surprised by an unexpected plot development. Also, Sandrine is a bad ass. I really hope to see more of her in the next couple of books. She's a strong female character with a hell of a lot of potential. #TeamSandrine