REVIEW | The City of Dusk | Tara Sim | The Dark Gods #1

I absolutely devoured THE CITY OF DUSK in two days, which even I was impressed by considering it’s a hell of a chonky book. I’ve been on a huge adult fantasy kick lately, and when I spotted this one in Waterstones I knew I had to have it. I really loved Tara Sims’ SCAVENGE THE STARS series, and everything I heard about this book made me more excited for it. It held up to my hopes, and I already can’t wait for the next book in this new series.

Character - 9 Atmosphere - 8 Writing - 8 Plot - 7 Intrigue - 9 Logic - 8 Enjoyment - 9 Rating: 8.29 / 4 stars
Rating: 8.29 / 4 stars

About the book:

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But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city.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.

What did I think?

THE CITY OF DUSK is a dark, doorstopper fantasy. It’s long and complex, but I found myself absolutely absorbed in it from the first page and I devoured it. The writing is very accessible and easy to read, immersing me into the world without any of the convoluted language I sometimes expect from epic fantasy. I liked this much better. I really like Tara Sims’ writing style and it had me pacing through this book in every spare second that I had.

This book felt very character driven to me. The plot is interesting and I’m desperate to find out what happens in the rest of the series, but ultimately it’s the characters that are staying with me after finishing the book. We have the heirs of our four realms; Risha, Angelica, Taesia and Nik. We also have a couple of other characters; Jas, Fin and Julian; but I can’t talk about them much in a spoiler-free review (let it be known that I fucking love them, though). Each of the heirs has a distinct power, inherited from a god, and they’re competing to become their king’s heir now that the gods have left their realm behind. I really liked this whole dynamic. It reminded me a little of ALL OF US VILLAINS, another book I loved, except that in this case? The heirs had grown up together as (mostly) friends, despite their families insistence that they stay apart. It gave me huge found family vibes, and I loved the complicated relationships that the heirs had with each other, particularly the ever complex balance of trust and secrets as they try to save their realm. I really liked that they were all headstrong and individual, and we got to see them making their own choices and facing their own consequences, driven by different motives as each tried to balance their own goals, the group’s goals and their families expectations.

I loved that there was a lot of cultural diversity in this book, and we all know how much I adore queernorm fantasy worlds. Our main characters are wonderfully queer and I really enjoyed that it was just casually included – no fuss around it. I expected Taesia to be my favourite, because magical shadow powers are my jam, or Risha, NECROMANCY, but actually? Nik completely stole my heart. Nik and Fin in particular are everything to me. I really like all the burgeoning relationships in this book and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play out in the rest of the series.

There are magic, demons and gods in this story, and while I don’t want to get too deeply into the plot because I think this book is much more fun to read and let it unfold blindly, I really enjoyed the plot and can’t wait to find out more. By the last few chapters I was just screaming at my group chat as twists and turns kept repeatedly pulling the rug out from under my feet. I can’t wait to see more as the stakes build and our motley crew have to work together to save everything.

Goodreads | Hive | Waterstones | Amazon | Book Depository
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Release Date: 22nd March 2022

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