Book Review: Knights of the Borrowed Dark

By Dave Rudden

Recently I was at an event in the Museum of Literature Ireland hosted by author Dave Rudden, so naturally I picked up a copy of his middle grade series, the Knights of the Borrowed Dark. The son of a friend of mine loved the first book in the trilogy so much he lent me his copy a few years ago. I remember enjoying it so I was happy to read it again.

Denizen Hardwick has lived in an orphanage in the west of Ireland all his life. Unlike the other orphans, he has no information at all about his parents or the circumstances that led to him being placed there. As far as he knows, he has no family, until the day the orphanage director tells Denizen he is to visit his hither unknown aunt. Grey, his aunt’s chauffeur, arrives in a large black car to collect Denizen but won’t divulge any information about her. On their way to Dublin, a huge monster made of rocks appears on the road, and Grey, to Denizen’s shock, produces a sword and vanquishes it. For Grey is a Knight of the Borrowed Dark, a group of people across the world who fight these monsters from an alternative dimension who seem intent on the destruction of our world. Aunt Vivian, head of the Dublin cadre of knights, appears completely disinterested, almost hostile to Denizen, who must decide whether he will join the cause or return to the orphanage. Then we have the clockwork three, with a vendetta against Vivian and a sinister plan for the future of humanity…

What I liked about this book:

It’s an Irish horror novel for upper middle grade which makes me pretty happy. Granted, I didn’t get much of an Irish vibe from the setting or cast but I loved the horror element. Things from another realm whose only goal is destruction randomly appearing in the shadows of our world are suitably nightmarish creations.

The knights with their armour, maces and morning stars. I loved their dedication to saving humanity, even at the cost of their own lives. I particularly liked the fact that the knights paid a price for using their power. The first time Denizen uses his power a small dark spot appears in his hand – a little piece of him has turned to iron. The more experienced knights wear gloves to hide their hands, but iron criss-crosses their arms, their necks, and even their faces.

The cast of characters, particularly Darcie, Abigail and Grey. There are a few nice twists in the plot as well, which some readers will guess but most readers in the target age group won’t.

Overall, this is a good read for upper middle grade readers who like horror or dark fantasy. Knights of the Borrowed Dark was the Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2016, and I believe is going to be made into a tv series by the people who made The Walking Dead, so watch out for it on the small screen.

And now a message from TOTP…

12 responses to “Book Review: Knights of the Borrowed Dark”

    • Aw thanks so much, Patricia! I love that we rarely overlap in MMGM, and I hear of so many great books that I’d otherwise miss (though there’s often a delay before we can get them over here).


  1. I am always looking for books set in Ireland to remind me of a memorable trip there a few years ago. Too bad the Irish vibe is not there in this one, but the plot is intriguing. Thanks for telling us about it on this week’s MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

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