The City of Dusk
A Booktoker I trust recommended this one, and boy am I glad she did.
The world is dying, and the heirs of the four Houses of the city of Nexus may be the only ones who can stop it. Taesia, the shadow-weilder, Angelica, the elementalist, Nikolas, the sun-bearer, and Risha, the necromancer, have to set aside their differences in the fight for the crown if they’re going to save everyone on their realm. Meanwhile, magic-users called Conjurers are putting everyone in danger with their illegal magic.
I went into this book not realizing it was a high fantasy, and it was pretty dense in the beginning. I feel like some things could’ve been better explained in the beginning. It was hard to grasp some parts of the world’s lore, until it was repeated a couple more times, because I didn’t understand at first what it was saying. For instance, they talk about the walls between the realms going up and how it affects their realm, but sometimes it sounds like the walls went up recently, up until they mention that it’s been, oh, 500 years, give or take. I feel like the timing, and the explanation of the timeline for this world, could’ve been explained better.
Sometimes the writing really lost me. There would be sections where the characters were super formal, and it was written like how we think old-timey people speak, and then there would be something modern thrown in. One of the first examples I have is Elena telling her children, “It’s far too early for you to be sacrilegious,” only for one of them to say to the other, “Your face creeps me out,” in a few pages.
Along the speech pattern line, sometimes it felt very…The Ghost Whisperer levels of a game of telephone between the characters. Like, one of them would get a message from their god, and when they told it to the others, they would paraphrase and leave out SEVERAL big pointers. Like when Risha was talking about her conversation with Thana, she doesn’t mention that Thana told them all to fuck off, and I feel like that’s an imporant bit of the convo, especially coming from a deity. I would ABSOLUTELY stop doing whatever I was doing if I knew a god had told me to fuck off.
Not so much a problem with the book, and not something that would affect the star rating, but the way all of Taesia’s friends were assholes to her about what she did? But none of them bothered to have a proper conversation with her, or ask her about how she felt, and instead they all harshly judged her. The people she killed absolutely had it coming, and they were threatening not only her, but her family. It was also very interesting how they all talked shit about her, and then turned around and did some shady shit themselves (ANGELICA LITERALLY MURDERED A MAN AND ATE HIS HEART.). For fuck’s sake, Risha was actually working with the Conjurers the whole time, and yet she thought Dante should die because he was framed? Bullshit.
I really liked the fantasy zombies. It was a super neat take that made sense in a world with necromancers. The seance was also a really neat scene; I loved the two voices part, and how Sim described the existence of both Risha and Casir in the same body. I also liked how distinct the magic was for each of the Houses, because it made it really easy to keep all the magic rules straight in my head.
Honestly, some of the side characters were my absolute favorites. Komi? Love of my life. He was so funny, even though he was only around a little bit. Marjorie and Paris, too. It’s awesome to read a book with not only great, well-developed main characters, but side characters that also have their own completely formed personalities.
I also really loved the relationship between the characters. I was probably as surprised as Risha herself at how much I ended up liking Jas, and while I was disappointed Risha and Taesia/Angelica didn’t hook up, I loved her and Jas. Also, Taesia and Julien’s blade on throat scene? I had CHILLS. And Angelica eating that creep’s heart? I love her, and I hope she and her girlfriend live happily ever after. Also, let Fin and Nik be gay in book 2, please and thank you. :)
I will absolutely be reading the second book the moment it comes out. This one was so good, even though we initially got off on the wrong foot. I had a great time. The ending of this one broke my heart, but I hope the next one can tentatively glue the pieces back together. It’s gonna take a LOT to get me to forgive Sim about killing off some of those people, but I can get over it…eventually.
Trigger warnings: alcohol, blood (lots of battles), child death (past), death (duh), toxic friendship (all of Taesia’s ’friends’), violence, emotional/domestic/physical abuse (concerning Nik), fire/fire injury, hate crime (against fantasy races that have aspects of real people groups), torture, body horror, injury/injury detail, cannibalism (on page), cursing, gore, grief, murder, police butality (technically), racism (same as with the hate crime), sexual content
Did I like? Yes.
Recommend? Yes, especially for fans of high fantasy and gay people.