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Into the Dark Lands (The Sundered, #1)
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Into the Dark Lands (Books of the Sundered #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  897 ratings  ·  68 reviews
War has its cost, and the Servants of the Bright Heart and the Servants of the Dark Heart have been locked in a struggle that has defined life—and death—for millennia. But the end is coming, and only the Lady who has served the Bright Heart for the whole of her immortal life has seen it, in a vision that spans time and demands the highest of prices.

Erin is a healer, and ag...more
Paperback, 315 pages
Published August 11th 2005 by BenBella Books (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,067)
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Lisa Shea
Into the Dark Lands by Michelle Sagara West is the beginning of a multi-book series starring Erin, a swordfighting healer, and Stefanos, the Beast to her Beauty. It is literally Light against Dark, Good against Evil, and somehow Erin is at the center of it all.

Into the Dark Lands I understand completely the draw of the Bad Boy. And, to be fair, Erin doesn't go running into his arms drawn by his dark, brooding ways. Rather, it is an incredibly difficult decision she makes nearly against her will...more
Purse Monkey
The story is set in land where there is Light and Dark. Each has their own God, each has their own purpose: to spread Light/Dark throughout the world. Each Light and each Dark has Servants to fill out that purpose. Servants are immortals that can communicate directly with their God. There are also a race of people that are descendants of these Servants. These descendants are half-mortals and they, too, can communicate with their God but only if they reach their Adult test.

The hero is the First...more
Marajean
So I love the theme of the good girl and the evil guy and the love between them. Every time someone asks for recommendations this book comes up, so I finally bought it and read it.

This book lacks details. That much is true. There's a fine line between too much detail and not enough. I felt like I was given a decent idea of the characters but I was also plugging things in from similar types of books. I really couldn't tell you what any of the characters looked like, including the main characters....more
Dan
Angels and half-angels fighting a desperate war, and wandering through the lot is the Lady, who mourns and angsts because she knows everyone she loves is going to die, but if she tries to save them she'll doom her entire nation. Mourn, angst; ominous foreshadowing; angst, mourn, angst.

There are four books of this, and Michelle West is normally a good author. It's possible that partway through this first book the prophesied doom finally happens, and everyone gets to stop angsting and start fixing...more
Illuminate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
The first half of the book sets up the overarching plot of this series, which is the war between the servants of the Light (like angels) and their descendants and the servants of the Dark (demons) and their descendants. This is told through the eyes of Erin, a mortal descendant of the Light who is largely shaped by the losses she suffers in the war. The second half then switches gears and focuses on the unlikely and doomed love affair between Erin and Stephanos, the immortal first servant of the...more
Chris
Could have been a 4 star!
I agree with several of the other reviewers who gave this book a low score.
It jumped around way too much in the beginning, it took way too long to get interesting and to get to the real heart of the story (it was the author's first book I think).
I started this book, and by page 85, was ready to give up and give it a review of two stars.. Then I went and read some of the reviews, decided to give it another chance, and skipped ahead to where the heart of the story lay (rea...more
Sbuchler
Genre: High Fantasy

This is set to an epic backdrop of the fight between good and evil (known as Light and Dark in the novel). The main characters are only part human, the other part is divine.

I'm guessing the arc of the series is love balancing pain, and accepting neither the Light or the Dark as ascendant. This novel (the first of 4) is a love story between the First Servant of the Dark and the avatar of the Light. A good half of the book is setting up how Erin (the avatar of Light, known as t...more
Mykle Law
It probably only deserves 3 stars... but I guess I liked it. It does feel a little slow moving for quite a while-- and I always wanted better description of the action scenes.
Chosen champion of the light, Erin of Elliath, Sarillorn the descendants of Lernan, God of Light-- encounters one of the most powerful servants of the God of Darkness, Malathorn (or whatever his name is...) Said servant does not destroy Erin-- as had been his initial intent, and Erin becomes much more intimately aware of th...more
Allison
I'm really not sure what I think of this. It's dark. The endless war between good and evil has no end in sight, and there's death, despair, and betrayal everywhere. Important people die. There's really no relief from it at all, although there's a sliver of hope that things might work out sometime in the next 3 books. If you like your fantasy dark, it's interesting enough that I'd recommend it. I'm not sure if I have the heart to read any further myself.
Lesleyw
One of the best intros to a series I've read. With one of the few true anti-heroes. (The remainder of the series (for me) didn't live up to the introduction, but I think it was well worth it just to read this one).
Fre06 Begum
Really good but a bit complicated to understand with the old fashioned English. A really evil male lead who falls in love with the heroine.
Amy Aelleah
Why do all the books that I read that have a strong basis of romance in them also have a controlling, possessive and domineering guy as the love interest?

To be fair, I did have some idea what I was getting into with this book. After all, the 'hero' of the story is also the villain in a way. The hero and heroine are on opposite sides of a long, bloody war and they find themselves falling in love with each other. I love stories that make enemies (or even people that dislike each other) work togeth...more
Chris
Okay, before other Michelle West lovers burn me in effigy, let me explain why I'm giving this two stars, and let me also say I love West's writing. The Sun Sword series is one of the best series ever. Go read it now!

This, you will notice, is not the Sun Sword series. It is West's first book, a fact that West tells you and will be obivous to any experienced reader. At times it is unclear who is thinking what and even what is happening. Some of the scenes feel like gothic gone bad, if you know wha...more
Mia
Mar 25, 2014 Mia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ipad
I read this book on a recommendation and I have mixed feelings about it. Pacing was very hard to follow and the author tends to swap POV constantly, which is quite disconcerting to read. There were parts that were just so confusing I kind of skimmed over them which mean I lost important details that were hidden in there.

The intro added a few years ago by the author makes sense after reading the book. She says that the start of the book was originally told through flashbacks later, but she revis...more
Amélie
Summary :

The Bright Heart and the Dark heart have fought for millennia by the intermediary of their immortal children, the Servants of the Light or the Servants of the Dark, and by the intermediary of the human empires and kingdoms those Servants have built.

Erin is the granddaughter of the Lady, the First Servant of the Light. The novel starts when she is only a child being taught to wield her light in order to later become one of the warriors of the Light. Her father was human and his corpse...more
Wayward Cabbage
Hmmm. Well, for starters this was one of the few books that I picked up and then put down, and only started reading again because I was bored and hadn't slept for twenty four hours. Normally, I just read a book in one go, and the only time I put them down indefinitely is when I'm not enjoying it, but I pushed through since it was a romance and I thought it had potential to make me happy because the romance would be blissfully unrealistic and end in a really touching way.

Need I say that that isn...more
Starfire
Hmmmmm... to be honest, I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as I was hoping to. I got into Michelle West's books with the Sun Sword set and absolutely LOVED it - and everything she's written since, whether under the Sagara or the West name, I've similarly loved.

Unfortunately, the two sets I've read that she wrote before then, I haven't enjoyed nearly so much.

This one felt... just too black and white. I'm not sure why, but light and dark as specific, tangible beings just - doesn't work for m...more
Feliciamarie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lee
I personally liked this book a lot. Having known Sagara from her works on the Chronicles of Elantra I really preferred The Sundered. The female lead in this book is less annoying and was admirable even in her weaknesses. The initial 40% of the book was mostly background story on Erin (the lead girl) and we see her grow into her character and get an idea of what's really happening around this fantasy land. I did not find it totally boring because of all the action scenes and character development...more
Charlie
Sep 14, 2014 Charlie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: top
Very engaging "grown up" fantasy about the fight between Light and Dark. I thought it was very well written and even though some of the choices of the characters left me confused, none of them were abysmal.

There was altogether too much of the Dark Lord "holding Sara's face with cold fingers".

The only reason that this is not a 5* is because it is the first book that has left me confused (but not necessarily in a bad way). I didn't understand the end - Did Sara die? Did the light return or did the...more
Tina
The first half of the book took me 10 times as long to read as the second half. I think it's a problem when it takes a book nearly 200 pages to really get into the good stuff. The beginning dragged on and on with all the battles and background, and I actually put the book down and started reading other books instead. It was only when I was left with nothing to read but this, that I picked it back up and finished it.

Thankfully, the second half of the book (when Stephanos comes into the picture) b...more
Danielle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda
I love Sagara's Chronicles of Elantra series and so was really looking forward to reading more by the author. But this one was a chore to get through. It's her first book, and I think it definitely shows. It started out well, but the heroine (who seemed promising at the beginning) spends almost the entire last half of the book weeping. Which was annoying, no matter how good her reasons for being upset were. Sagara's writing tends to be dense and isn't the type of writing you can skim through, wh...more
Vamika
This book totally bored and confused me. The PoV was constantly changing, you would have the story told in Erin PoV then it would change completely half-way through a sentence to another person's PoV and then out of nowhere a narrator or Erin starts talking about the history of Light and Dark. I mean seriously! I have read books in different PoV but they at least tell you from the first sentence who it is but this book had none of it. There are so many characters to keep track of and new charact...more
Sylvia


Like her other series, this is an extremely complex bit of writing, and it took me a while to get into the swing of it, becoming familiar with all the unique terminology. Because of this, I'm sure when I read it a second time, which I definitely will, I'll get even more out of the story. This is not a happy-go-lucky love story. The characters are tortured and dark, yet they still can't help but find love, which perhaps makes it more beautiful. Ms. Sagara-West is not afraid to make the tough cho...more
Jordan
Sep 20, 2011 Jordan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of LotR, Silmarillion, Dragonriders of Pern, Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful read!!! The characters are simply gripping. I can't wait to read the next books in the series. The last third of the book was a bit difficult to get through for someone who loved the action of the first part and really getting to know the different peoples, their beliefs, and their way of life. But the final third is where the romance hits and some SERIOUS character development takes place. While I'm VERY upset at three of the deaths, I'm praying they will have pr...more
Stacy
This book feels like it has two halves: the first is your typical fantasy wartime plot (I love the social/magic hierarchy the author created) and the second feels like a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. The abrupt switch to a fantasy romance is a bit jarring, but enjoyable, nonetheless. I'm not entirely convinced on what Erin finds so compelling in Stephanos, but am invested enough in them to read the rest of the series.
Barb
Similar to the first book of the Sun Sword series, this book took a LONG time to get into. But it picked up a LOT about halfway through. I finally managed to plow through and look forward to the rest of the series. All of the necessary exposition in the beginning can make it hard to slog through.

I picked up this book because the two names used by the main character are the names of my children. But this was a BAD thing. There were parts in the beginning that were very hard to read thinking of my...more
P. Kirby
Oct 06, 2013 P. Kirby marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: maybe-later
I am just not getting into this. Erin, the protagonist, is sort of bland, or maybe it's the voice and the in-scene POV shifts (I think, technically, this can be excused as omniscient viewpoint, but not a plus since I really prefer one POV per scene.) Or maybe it's just that I don't really find the story all that interesting. Good versus evil, but with no real sense of danger or menace.

Because this is on my Kindle, and because I paid money for this, I'm reluctant to outright DNF it, so onto my "M...more
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Michelle Sagara
Michelle West

She lives in Toronto with her long-suffering husband and her two children, and to her regret has no dogs.

Reading is one of her life-long passions, and she is some­times paid for her opinions about what she’s read by the venerable Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. No matter how many book­shelves she buys, there is Never Enough Shelf space. Ever.

She has pu...more
More about Michelle Sagara West...
Children of the Blood (The Sundered, #2) Lady of Mercy (The Sundered, #3) Chains of Darkness, Chains of Light (The Sundered, #4) The Nightingale Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, #6)

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