Of Absence, Darkness

Of Absence, Darkness by Rachel Neumeier

Book 2 of Death’s Lady
by Rachel Neumeier
$4.99 (Novel)
ISBN 978-1-61138-986-9

Portals open both ways

Daniel never imagined that Tenai’s memories of her earlier life might be absolutely true. But when he and his daughter are swept up in the plots of her enemies and dropped abruptly into a world of dark magic and darker history, Daniel must find a way to aid Tenai against the all-too-real echoes of her past.

Though the hidden schemes of Tenai’s enemies offer peril enough, the worse threat comes from within: if Tenai cannot master the vast rage she still carries, her own fury may shatter her world.


The Death’s Lady trilogy is up there with my favourite Neumeier series. (Don’t ask me to rank them: I couldn’t do it!) Here she has created yet another unique fantasy world, with yet another consistent and compelling magic/metaphysical system, and, (sorry to be so boringly repetitive) yet another set of fascinating character relationships.

If you’ve read pretty much anything else she’s written, you’ll notice that she loves exploring power dynamics, trust and loyalty, and she’s got a killer trio of characters here to work with. Tenai, who is sworn to Lord Death in order to enact a terrible vengeance, and doesn’t quite know what to do with herself now that her vengeance is accomplished; Daniel, who was once Tenai’s psychiatrist and is now her friend, and does not belong in her world; Mitereh, the son of Tenai’s hated enemy, now a young king pursuing a hard-won peace. I loved all three, and I loved the complicated situations that force them to keep choosing what and who they believe in, when the consequences of their choices affect whole nations.

I loved the way sorcery works in this world: it’s visceral and beautiful and kind of creepy. I loved Lord Death: nicely implacable, frightening, and just other.

Daniel’s daughter Jenna becomes an important character in these books, and I just loved Jenna! What would you do if you’d grown up reading fantasy and then suddenly you were thrust into a fantasy world, and it was a lot dirtier and bloodier than you were expecting? (With a lot more biting insects!) And the men keep wanting to protect you, not understanding that [slight spoiler for Book 1] (view spoiler)

As I said in my review of the first book, I tend to enjoy Neumeier’s self-published books more than the traditionally published ones. She’s got such an imagination! Who would make a middle-aged, bald psychiatrist the protagonist of a magic kingdom fantasy? If you like her writing, if you liked Tuyo, and the Griffin Mage series, you will definitely like Death’s Lady. This one sort of reminds me of The Goblin Emperor a bit, maybe because it similarly uses kindness as a strength.

—Goodreads review

Read a sample online.