Everything about The City of Dusk spoke to me. The cover is gorgeous, it seemed to be dark and full of surprising characters, and it is written by an author I previously enjoyed (⇒ Scavenge the Stars). So of course, I was over the moon when I got accepted for an ARC. Continue reading to find out if it lived up to my expectations.
ABOUT THE CITY OF DUSK
The Four Realms—Life, Death, Light, and Darkness—all converge on the city of dusk. For each realm there is a god, and for each god there is an heir.
But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city. And without it, all the realms are dying.
Unwilling to stand by and watch the destruction, the four heirs—Risha, a necromancer struggling to keep the peace; Angelica, an elementalist with her eyes set on the throne; Taesia, a shadow-wielding rogue with rebellion in her heart; and Nik, a soldier who struggles to see the light— will sacrifice everything to save the city.
But their defiance will cost them dearly.
Book: The City of Dusk | Series: The Dark Gods #1 | Author: Tara Sim | Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton | Published: 22.03.2022 | Pages: 512 | Genre: fantasy | Rep: queer MCs wlw MC, queer (bi?) side characters, trans side character, wlw relationships, mlm relationships, queernormative world | TW: death, gore, cannibalism, alcohol, loss of loved ones (in the past and on page), self harm, blood, vomit, murder
Surprisingly enough, I didn’t enjoy The City of Dusk as much as I thought I would. But it definitely had some amazing aspects, I might have found a new favourite character and I’m also weirdly hung up on the story.
- I really enjoyed the characters. I loved all of the protagonists. I didn’t necessarily like them all, but I loved reading about them because each one was written really well with good backstories. Each one had their faults and problems to deal with, but they also worked as a group. I enjoyed their dynamics a lot and how they change throughout the story and depending on their actions, how the others’ views actually change.
- The Lastriders especially were my favourites. I love the whole family, but I really need to shout my love for Taesia into the void for a minute. The “shadow-wielding rogue” from the synopsis really hits the nail on the head. Taesia has her opinions and sentiments and while the might change due to new discoveries, she always is herself and throughout the book, becomes herself even more. She’s probably not the smartest candle on the cake, but she fights for what she believes in and she does so with her whole heart and all of her strength. If I had to describe her, it would probably be something like “pretty gremlin smashing your window with a sword at 3am”.
When I tell you I love this absolutely unhinged woman with a cool magic sword, I’m not lying. She’s a fantastic character and I could read about her meting out justice on her own for days without end.
- That said, I also enjoyed reading about the other characters. Not as much maybe. I liked how Risha already seemed to know herself well, was usually the calm one and knew her place in life. Angelica was just trying to find her place and to master her powers and understand them and herself. She was quite unhinged as well and I really enjoyed how differently she could act, depending on the person she interacted with. Nik was always the least favourite, the unwanted heir losing his abilities. He fights for his rightful place in the world, making space for himself, sometimes in unconventional ways. All of their destinies interwoven and the group forced to work together was really interesting to read about.
- I liked the different types of magic and abilities and that even if you’re not born into one of the Houses with the biggest magical abilities, you can still learn some things. There are different magical systems depending on the world you come from.
- I had some trouble with the world building and understanding each world’s different aspects and how they work together and exist next to each other. They are closed off but I couldn’t really wrap my mind around how they function and co-exist.
- Another thing I had some problems with was the pacing. Especially at the beginning, it is quite slow. It picks up pace from time to time and especially towards the end, but it is rather slow. There is a high attention to details but I felt like I could have done without some of them. Some chapters also didn’t add that much to the story and I found myself pausing the book from time to time because I got a bit bored.
I liked The City of Dusk even though it was a bit too long in my opinion. The story could have easily been two books already, there is just so much info on world building and characters that it is honestly mind-blowing. I still enjoyed reading it and I especially loved some of the characters and despite the pacing and world building troubles I had, I would still recommend this to everyone who likes dark fantasy novels with a bit of blood and gore and complex characters!
You might enjoy The City of Dusk if you like your books with some of the following:
friends to lovers to friends | unhinged girls | unique magic systems | a dash of murder | secret identities
Have you read The City of Dusk or any other novel by Tara Sim? What books with unique magic systems do you know?
Until next time,