The Dharkan by Susana Imaginário

The enemy is defeated.
The gods strike a truce.
And the Dharkan strike against the gods.

Victory has cost both gods and mortals dearly.
The veil between life and death in Niflheim is thinner than ever. Try as they might, the gods are powerless against the influence of Time, and their past mistakes threaten not only their future but their very existence. Now the fate of eternity rests in the unlikely alliance between the goddess of the soul and a soulless Dharkan, as they must work together to achieve peace between the living and the dead in Aegea. And although their goals may seem similar, the motivations behind them couldn’t be more at odds with each other.
Meanwhile, a greater enemy approaches.

Or maybe it’s already here…

I was sent a digital copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Susana!

The Dharkan is the second installment in the Timelessness series by Susana Imaginário, and is a heavily character-driven dark fantasy combining time travel and Greek, Norse and Egyptian mythology, with a witty slant.  This review contains spoilers for the first book, Wyrd Gods.

Unlike the first book, this one no longer concentrates on the goddess of the soul, who was the main character from Wyrd Gods. Still present in this story, she is no longer a Wyrd, or fated god. Along with her, many of the secondary characters from Wyrd Gods are still there in The Dharkan. The story continues from the cataclysmic events at the end of Wyrd Gods.

There are Interludes told in first person perspective from the point of view of both Psyche and Aedan, the Dharkan who killed the Suzerain god. The main chapters are told from the perspective of many different characters. The dreamlike feel of the narrative established in Wyrd Gods continues in this novel.

The setting of the book is once more in Niflheim, which is now ruled over by Hel, daughter of the trickster god, Loki. The first half takes place almost exclusively within the stump of the World Tree and focuses on conversations between the characters as they come to terms with everything that happened at the end of Book 1. The gods are celebrating the death of the Suzerain, who was in charge of Niflheim. Now, however, they feel threatened by the expected appearance of the Nephilim at any time.

The goddess Psyche is now being kept prisoner by Aedan inside the stump of the World Tree, where gods are powerless. He blames her for the death of his beloved dryad, Ileana, whose body was hosting Psyche’s soul during Book 1.

Gods are resilient creatures, after all.

Hel wants to leave Aedan in charge of Aegea and for him to guard Psyche while she returns to her duties in the other parts of Niflheim, but he is really not happy with this appointment:

Goddess, with all due respect, I’m a Dharkan! I should not be dealing with the living except to change their state of being. I am the creature other creatures fear, not who they look to for answers and guidance. I live in dark, icy caves deep underground, not atop giant trees.

There are a lot of different races in this book: the Dharkan, the Annan, the Narrum, the Aossi, dryads, gods, Chiron the Titan to name a few and at times I found it quite confusing trying to remember who everyone was. This was especially the case when a god was being hosted in another character’s body as a Wyrd. I would recommend this book to fans of Greek and Norse mythology who already know something of the characters involved!

Susana Imaginário lives in Ireland with her husband and their extremely spoiled dog.
Her hobbies include reading, playing board games, hanging upside down, daydreaming around ancient ruins, talking to trees and being tired.
Her debut novel, Wyrd Gods, combines mythological fantasy with science fiction and psychology in a strange way.

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I reviewed the first book, Wyrd Gods here.

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