The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2022
Paperback. 576 pages.
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But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city.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.
Set in a gorgeous world of bone and shadow magic, of vengeful gods and defiant chosen ones, The City of Dusk is the first in a dark epic fantasy trilogy that follows the four heirs of four noble houses—each gifted with a divine power—as they form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war."
The City of Dusk is the start of an epic new fantasy I’ve been looking for, and it’s one you’re going to want to make sure you pick up as well. There are vengeful, angry gods, mortals who won’t give up, dark magic, an abundant cast of characters, and enough intrigue to keep any reader entertained.
The City of Dusk mainly follows characters from four different houses in the city of Nexus, each of which has a special power that their house specializes in: Dante & Taesia from House Lastrider with the power of Shade; Risha from House Vakara with the power of Necromancy; Niklas Cyr from House Cyr with the power of Lumin; and Angelica from house Mardova with the power of Elementalism. Each house holds powers over their respective district within the city, as well. These characters are all “friends” of sorts, though each has a different relationship with one another, as expected, ranging from intimate in nature to nearly enemies. Each of these characters are the next heirs to their respective houses, and each also has the potential to become the next heir to the childless King Ferdinand, further adding to the tensions already present between them. The ultimate goal for everyone, however, is to save the city from its gradual destruction that has resulted due to the gods of each house and district slowly withdrawing their favor and power from them.
This book is overflowing with political intrigue, ambitious characters who all have their own agendas, plenty of twists and unpredictable turns in the plot, and gods and mortals interacting in a variety of intriguing ways. It’s hard to go into too much of the plot outside of the general summary because there’s a lot going on in this story, so hopefully that tells you a bit of what to expect regarding the detailed content of The City of Dusk.
I really liked the in-depth world-building of this city, but I do think it could have been expanded a bit to add a bit more depth and in-world grounding. There’s an extensive amount of information to learn about the houses, their histories, the city’s history, and more about its inhabitants, so the story did feel a bit heavy with information at times, especially in the beginning, but not so much to take too much away from the pacing or overall flow of the story. The pacing itself is a little up and down, but I honestly found that this worked well and gave the story a bit of variety. Since there are so many POV shifts, I think the slower and faster pacing moments allows readers to get a fuller experience and understanding of each individual character and glimpse into what it might be like living in this world that seems to be a bit unpredictable and dark at times.
I think this might be a bit of a hit or miss book for a lot of people for the main fact that it plays with a lot of more common tropes and plot setups that have made people liken it to being more like a “YA fantasy” than an “adult fantasy.” I can see where that idea comes from, but I think it’s a bit of a disservice to say (only in the sense that these comments are meant to be negative) when this book is very much as intense and adult as any other adult fantasy out there. I love the way that Sim plays with the multi-house setup and having multiple potential heirs vying for power, and I think this first book provides so much opportunity and potential for this series to really grow and expand in its depth and scope, more even than it already has. There’s a lot to experience in this book, and I think it’s well worth the time investment to read this rather hefty tome.
Overall, I’ve given The City of Dusk 4.75 stars! I didn’t expect to enjoy this book quite as much as I did, but I’m always a happy reader when I can count a new fantasy book as one I loved. There was a ton going on in this first book and I will definitely need a recap at the beginning of the sequel, but I can’t wait to have a chance to dig into the next book!
*I received a copy of The City of Dusk courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*