Title: The City of Dusk
Author: Tara Sim
Published: 22 March 2022
My goodness, this was a roller coaster of a ride in such a good way! The book opens with a really creepy scene of a boy piling bodies one on top of each other and from then on this doesn’t really slow down.
The first in a trilogy that follows the four heirs of four noble houses, each gifted with divine power, as they form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war. The four realms are Life, Death, Light, and Darkness, and each realm there is a god and for each god an heir. All of the realms converge of the city of dusk. But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once thriving city, and without the gods the realms are dying. Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs will sacrifice everything to save the city. But their defiance will cost them dearly.
Angelica is the heir for House Mardova. She’s an elementalist who can only use her powers when she’s playing music, which her mother absolutely forbids. When she can’t play music, therefore can’t release her powers, she acts like a junkie coming of a high. The language and power with Angelica and her mother really reminded me of the Avatar: The Last Airbender. I also really loved the representation with Angelica being bisexual or a lesbian. We only see her have romantic or sexual thoughts towards women but nothing is outright said. Also, Angelica’s mom is bisexual, married to a man who died and in the book is now married to a woman.
Nikolas is the heir for House Cyr. The power of House Cyr is light, a powerful, godlike light. But Nik just wants to be a soldier. He’s been abused his whole life by his father, especially once his little brother, Rian, died. Rian was supposed to be the heir because Waren favored him over Nik, but once Rian died, that wasn’t possible anymore. Nik has a ton of self-confidence issues throughout the novel that he’s trying to deal with.
Risha is the heir for House Vakara. Their power is necromancy. She’s struggling to keep the peace in the city while also trying to figure out how to get the realm open to let the dead go over and be in peace. Risha was a great character if a bit judgmental. Her whole “I know what’s right” shtick got a bit old after a while.
Taesia is the new heir for House Lastrider. When the book opens, the prelate Lezzaro is murdered and Taesia’s brother, Dante, is believed to be the murderer. So, now the girl who only wanted freedom is more tied to the nobility she’s born into than ever before. Taesia was probably my favorite character, either her or Angelica. Taesia is such a morally grey character as she tries to be the heir or house needs while also trying to prove that her brother wasn’t a murderer. It doesn’t help that her brother, and now her and the other heirs, are trying to reopen the realms to restore balance and the natural flow to the universe.
There’s a lot to understand and take in when first starting to read this book with all the world-building; however, after the first few chapters, I was completely soaked in the world and these characters. There are still many questions I have for what’s going on, as do the heirs, but this was a great start to a fantasy series. I’m going to leave it here because while I can talk about the characters for ages, I don’t want to talk too much and reveal spoilers.
Happy Reading Darlings!