Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The City of Dusk (The Dark Gods 1) by Tara Sim
Release Date: March 22nd 2022
Tags: Fantasy | Adult | Necromancy | Ghosts | Bones | Shadows | Family | Betrayal | LGBTQ+ | Mental Health
Trigger/Content Warnings: Murder | Hints of Torture | Beheadings | Suggested Suicide | Blood
Other books by This Author I Reviewed
Timekeeper | Chainbreaker | Firestarter
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But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city.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.
The City of Dusk is Tara Sim’s first foray into Adult Fantasy and I quite enjoyed this darker take on houses.
In The City of Dusk there are 4 houses. Each house received the power of one of the gods of the 4 realms. There is necromancy, shadow magic, elemental magic and light. While other citizens might have some magic the 4 houses are meant to have been specifically chosen by their Gods. As such each generation there is an heir that comes forward. While they might have the most power, the city and realm is ruled by the king who takes advantage of the willingness of the houses to become his follow-up.
What I appreciated about this book is that the characters from the houses we follow aren’t necessarily the most amazing from their houses. One struggles to bring forth all the elemental magic without a musical instrument to help her and the other was shunned by their God during a ritual. All this heir and legacy thing isn’t quite as easy or as straight forward as it is foretold.
I also enjoyed seeing how the characters still had, reasonable, good contact with each other. Being of the same age and being in the same boat does create a bond with one another. It was also interesting getting an insight in the houses and lives of each. Taesia as the not heir, her brother being that, has approached a lot of things very differently. Yet she has more of a shadow in her heart than her brother. And yet she was always taking care of the poor of her own choice. It was also interesting to see how the necromancy was being used throughout the city with Risha. What place Nik and his light took up in the city and what happened with his mother. And what was expected from Angelica.
I have seen a lot of others claim that this is a young adult because the characters are young. They are youngish with 18-20 from what I can guess. But that doesn’t make it a young adult. The tone is still different from the authors other work that is YA. And even if just the ages had something to do with that it would make this a new adult rather than young adult.
Having said that I do think that it took a while for the book to get going and that some elements certainly took too long to be placed. The pace could have been a bit quicker.