Dark Intent by A.B. Endacott
Publication: December 10th, 2018
“You can either live in the world that surrounds you, or you can fight for the world you want.”
Many years after the brutal Kade takeover of the Third Country, healer Freya Kuch has succeeded when many Pious have failed: she is a perfect Kade citizen. However, this life of willing subjugation is torn apart when she is caught in an attack perpetrated by the anarchic followers of the Dark Gods and is assigned to care for Zarech, their captured leader. Contrary to her expectations, he is not a raving madman but charismatic and rational. As she unwillingly becomes closer to Zarech and he reveals knowledge the Kade has deliberately repressed, she begins to reconsider everything. Her obedience to the strict Kade regime is further complicated by her attraction to Ashtyn, whose bold comments against the Kade frighten and compel her in equal measure. She tries to ignore her feelings knowing full well the brutal punishments for adultery and dissidence. But soon, she is forced to decide: will she maintain her life of careful safety, or give in to her heart’s dark desires and fight against the Kade’s regime?
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Alice needs to stop writing such good books but also to keep writing such amazing books. Dark Intent is the fourth book in the Godskissed Universe and the first in the Third Country’s trilogy. This trilogy is set before the events in Queendom of the Seven Lakes, King of the Seven Lakes, and The Ruthless Land. The trilogy will end about a year or few years before Queendom according to Alice. So to put it into perspective the timeline is as follows: Dark Intent (third country), Dark Purpose, Book 3 of the trilogy, Queendom of the Seven Lakes (second country), King of the Seven Lakes, and The Ruthless Land (fourth country). Then we will get a final standalone featuring the first country before we get a final book in the universe that includes all the main characters from each of the different books.
So, as the synopsis says Dark Intent is about Freya a Pious healer in the Third Country. She has a good life for a Pious but only because she and her joined Symon are the perfect Kade citizens who don’t do anything to stand out. After witnessing the deaths of her family, Freya was determined to do everything right to survive. But there has been talk of resistance and an attack on the city by a group known as the Dark Gods throws her life off balance. For one she meets Ashtyn another Pious man who follows the old Pious ways and makes her hearts beat faster. She knows she shouldn’t grow closer to him but Symon is always more interested in his clothes making than her and they are only joined in the name (joined is not the same as bound). As she grows closer to him she learns some things about him that could be dangerous to her but will allow her to live life the way she wants to. Secondly, after a major attack by the Dark Gods she is made to heal their leader Zarech and as she works on him he talks to her. She begins to learn things and question the Kade government. Everything comes to head and at the end, Freya must decide if she wants to just survive in life but live afraid of making a mistake or if she wants to really live and not worry about looking over her shoulder.
As always, Endacott weaves a world that completely draws me in. While all these books live in the same universe each country feels so different from the next. The Ruthless Land was a whole country that was filled with evilness and Queendom had a country that wasn’t used to change while this book deals with a corrupt government. Her plots always completely draw me in and I can’t put the book down. The pace was so good and I felt on edge for Freya and the dangerousness always lurking around.
Freya excites me because she is portrayed as this perfect Pious Kade citizen but as the book goes on we see her question everything and unravel. It is almost like the author built up this character only to work backward to rebuild her character. I love that because it leaves so much room for character growth/development in the other books. It sucks when a character stops growing early on the series. We met Freya and Ashtyn in Queendom and King so we know she reaches her full ability but I am excited to SEE that come to fruition. Freya right now is afraid and basically relearning who she can trust. She is a great healer but not doing all she can. It is silly for some to expect her to be her full badass self when she is so used to her strict government. Of course, she is a wimp right now. She saw her family brutally murdered and left all alone. She lives in a country where if they even think you are resisting them you could die. So, she is learning to have that strength and I can’t wait to see more of that growth.
Ashtyn is literally so sweet and although I am not one for affairs I am in love with them. Symon just doesn’t care and it frustrates me. I want them to break up because that is something I don’t like but I can’t help but root for Ashtyn because omg does this man care and love Freya. From the moment we meet him we see his strength, his care for others, his devotion to his faith, and how much he wants his people to be free from the Kade oppression. As the story progresses, his love and devotion just grows and I just want my own Ashtyn.
Obviously, I am addicted to her writing. I can’t get enough of it and I already said she is one of my favorite authors. I am always drawn into the worlds and I forge such a connection with the characters. Both the plot and characters feature a lot of depth and each shapes the other. Her writing is intricate and features just the right amount of detail. The romance as always is not too much. It is second to the importance of the plot and I love that because we are trying to see if they will survive not just makeout. But, when we do get those times it is nicely placed and done. I enjoy the romance and I am excited to see the love blossom between Freya and Ashtyn.
“Aren’t you just the most exquisite thing I’ve ever seen.” His voice was warm and low, but also without any hint of glib charm. It was just a statement as if he’d commented on the progress of the rescue efforts. Freya knew she should have moved her hands, but she found herself compelled to stay.”
“Because you are exceptional. I like exceptional things.” He leaned forward. “You have a fire and a fear coexisting within you that intrigues me.” When she didn’t reply, he added, “I also like puzzles.”
“The truth was that she did. But she didn’t want to admit the strange pull she felt toward him. Not because it felt disrespectful to Symon – she hadn’t even thought of Symon during any of the time she had been with Ashtyn – but because of the way in which Ashtyn looked at her: an intense, naked frankness, that made her feel as though she would tell him anything. She was afraid of that.”
“Because you ran into an area that was filled with danger without a care or thought for your own safety. Because you are so beautiful that the memory of your face makes me want to recreate the curve of your nose or your lips in my own work. Because you are charming, and I want to know what you have to say on so many things. I guess I’m an artist first and foremost, and something about you just…inspires me.”
“It was a dark intent that drove such callousness.”
“Freyanna, I decided six years ago that you can either live in the world that surrounds you, or you can fight for the world you want.”
“Do you want me?” she asked, as though she didn’t know his answer. In response, he put his arms around her, pulling her closer to him. “You know I do. What do you want, Freya?” His eyes didn’t leave hers.”
“All right then, if that’s what you want. But know this. I will love you until the last,” he said.”
“She was a healer. Her first duty was to heal those who were most in need, not those who were most important. It was an ethos she had grown up believing, and it was now one she had been made to betray in order to live a comfortable life – because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn’t obey. But fear wasn’t sufficient to excuse doing nothing. Not anymore.”