I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. From the very first page to the very last this book had my stomach in knots. Several times throughout reading this novel I though I was going to feel sick and nauseous with how vivid, shocking, and real the scenes were written. Let alone the impacts these scenes will have on our characters. If you have been following my reviews of the series, The Darkness Under The Trees is really the second half of Book two of Ricardo Pintos original published trilogy and I highly recommend reading this upon finishing The Standing Dead. The buildup is rewarded with action, battles, and so much more. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events from the previous volumes.
Carnelian seems to have found peace living his life among the tribes of the Earthsky while Osidian is hell bent on vengeance against The Masters. Osidian starts to manipulate the tribal leaders into giving him missions and military tasks. When a neighboring tribe called The Bluedancing starts capturing children, Osidian now has his opportunity to take control of the army. He will unite the tribes of the Earthsky by destroying them and uniting them against a common enemy, Osrakum. The royal boy Carnelian feel in love with no longer exists and he may have to take drastic steps before it is too late. The army’s march south to the land of the Marula and there sacred Isle of the Flies. Among the trees lay dark secrets that Osidian is driven to discover but it may cost him everything he holds dear.
This is by far my favorite book of the series as the climax for all the buildup in the previous three volumes comes to a head. Several scenes in this book will forever be burned in my mind forever and the most grim ending I have ever read. Before you ask, I have read all of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence works. They can’t hold a candle to how dark this series is or how darker still it will get. The Stone Dance of the Chameleon also has no magic in the world so the actions and events are entirely driven by the dark side of human nature and the sacrifices needed to be made for vengeance. I never thought it would go this far.
Ricardo Pinto’s writing continues to be engrossing and getting better with each book. I have now come to the final three volumes which is the equivalent to the final volume in the original trilogy. I’m pretty sure I will be binging the rest of this series in short order. If you are a grimdark fan and are looking for something truly original, dark, and characters you will grow to love and hate, then look no further. I will link my audio interview with Ricardo Pinto below for fans who would like a better understanding of the world. This is a series you will not want to miss.