Have you ever jumped into a book not knowing what you were getting into? That’s exactly what happened when I responded to Amberly Henning’s call for ARC readers for her book Contained in Darkness. She mentioned that it was a fantasy and I am all for a good fantasy so I was extremely excited to start this one, curled up with my bookish mug in my comfy bookish t-shirts.
The book opens with a young woman beat and bloody in the middle of a battlefield with no memory of who or where she is, and I was hooked. She is found by a man named Septimus who is happy to help her, and takes her to a home not far from the battlefield. There, she is accused of being the reason for the family’s death. Distraught and still unsure of who she is they create a persona for her, under the name Iro. She travels with Septimus to the city, where she is sold into servitude under the premise of it being a temporary arrangement until Septimus returns for her.
Things don’t go to plan and she soon finds herself the nanny to the soon to be born child of the king. Thrust into the politics of the region, Iro soon befriends the heir to the kingdom, Sebastian, and they work to find a way to heal the broken kingdom. Even if it means dethroning the king.
Iro’s story is wrought with mishaps and magic, love and loss, friendships and failures. She fights through it all and comes out stronger than anyone could have imagined. While the uppity prince turns into an ally, friend, and love interest. No one is what they seem and you will be reeling from the twists throughout this book.
I really enjoyed the storyline and character ARC of Iro, who starts as unsure, lost and a bit clingy but turns into a strong independent woman. Some aspects early on in the book had me cringing but as I read on I understood the need for those scenes even if its not something I would normally read about.
Check your triggers before reading. There are some scenes of attempted sexual assault, as well as gore.
Overall, Contained in Darkness by Amberly Henning is a 5-star book that, even though it could be read as a standalone, has me anxious for book 2. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy.