Knights of the Borrowed Dark Trilogy

In 2016, debut author Dave Rudden won the Irish Children’s Book of the Year for Knights of the Borrowed Dark – the story of an orphan boy who discovers he’s part of a secret order to protect the world against the darkness. The Forever Court continues the story. Read  with caution, for once you turn this page you may never trust a bookseller in tweed again.

How do you win a war against shadows?

Knights of the Borrowed Dark – The first book in a new series about an orphan boy who discovers he is part of a secret army that protects the world from a race of shadowy monsters. Denizen Hardwick doesn’t believe in magic – until he’s ambushed by a monster created from shadows and sees it destroyed by a word made of sunlight. That kind of thing can really change your perspective.

Now Denizen is about to discover that there’s a world beyond the one he knows. A world of living darkness where an unseen enemy awaits. Fortunately for humanity, between us and the shadows stand the Knights of the Borrowed Dark. Unfortunately for Denizen, he’s one of them . . . 

In The Forever Court, Life is returning to normal for Denizen Hardwick. Well, the new normal, where he has to battle monsters in quiet Dublin bookshops and constantly struggle to contain the new powers he has been given by Mercy, the daughter of the Endless King. But Denizen may need those powers sooner than he thinks – not only are the Tenebrous stirring again but the Order of the Borrowed Dark face a new threat from much closer to home… 

The Forever Court publishes when the moon is in its first quarter on the 6th April

Before I start my review I feel I should be honest. I’m from an Irish family who still carries on the traditions of our culture and beliefs including most of its mythology. I’m admittedly biased and harder on Irish authors or books that purport to base their stories in Ireland and/or its culture. My genetics are soaked in DNA from a land that gives new meaning to the word ‘storyteller’ as we have a rich history of Bards and the people carrying on our legends through oral and written traditions.

When the chance to review Dave Rudden’s books came up I had to jump at the chance. He’s been very active in the Arts scene in Ireland for quite some time, he’s created a huge online presence teaching about the background in Irish culture for his books and this series is based in Ireland.

After reading his two books, I was very pleased to discover that his award winning reputation was well deserved as his work has shown a true talent not only for writing but for showcasing why the Irish are so well known for their excellent fantasies and storytelling.

I don’t normally review 2 books at once but I made an exception for Rudden’s work because along with his books he’s created an amazingly thorough and imaginative continuation of his story online at his website where you can read more behind his mythology and deleted chapters.  The amount of effort, research and detail he has put into creating this amazing world with a vibrant history is astounding and akin to what J.K. Rowling has done for wizards. Unlike that type of literature, Rudden has chosen a more unique villain making his plot line unpredictable and attention grabbing.

Rudden has a wonderful writing style that creates images your mind’s eye will see exploding across your vision as his realistic dialogue and setting will fill in the details. I loved how he doesn’t overly describe his characters so every reader has a chance to be a part of the story by using their own imaginations to decide how the characters look, sound and act; influencing how you invest in the story.

The first book, Knights of the Borrowed Dark, defines the genre for children’s fantasy literature but it’s so good adults will find themselves pulled into Rudden’s version of Dublin. He’s created complex characters, both the good and the evil that will bring your childhood nightmares out into the light. Denizen is the kind of kid I felt myself wanting to hug and protect one minute then wanting to be proud of his strength and courage the next.

The second book, The Forever Court, continues to show Rudden’s adept ability to showcase that strong talent for storytelling so prevalent in the Irish culture. You’re treated to a further tour of Dublin through the eyes of a local, as Denizen learns to shoulder his newfound responsibilities in protecting our powerful city. Court has these great action scene which engage the senses and makes you want to ignore the world around you so you can dive full in. Unlike his first book, Court ends much more on an exciting cliffhanger that will leave you stalking Rudden until you know when the third book is released

I adore Rudden’s work as his dialogue and sentence structure sound like lyrical prose whose adventure, suspense and skin crawling fears will quickly become addictive.

Here’s hoping I can hold out until the conclusion is released!

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for allowing me to review this book.

*synopsis and pic from

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