The City of Dusk (The Dark Gods #1)

Source: DRC via NetGalley (Orbit, Orbit Books)
Pub. Date: March 22, 2022
Synopsis: Goodreads

Why did I choose to read this book?

There has been a flurry of YA authors trying their hand at adult novels this year, and since I loved Tara Sims’ Timekeeper (although regrettably didn’t read the rest of the trilogy) her announcement of a dark adult debut got my attention. Thanks to Orbit Books for sending me the advanced copy.

What is notable about the story?

This is a story of powers granted to great houses from the gods: death, elemental, shadows, light. These gods all controlled their own realms, and the keepers of the houses assisted them in maintaining the realms. But one day the gods slammed the doors to their realms closed, preventing the houses from accessing them, changing how their powers manifested (if at all), and causing life to slowly leech away from the city and its respective districts. The fact that the gods actively worked against the world to further their own objectives made this story unique for me, and I enjoyed seeing how the set of main characters tried to fight against the will of the gods.

I also enjoyed the idea of a flawed group of “heirs” trying to bring down the walls of their respective realms and do away with the current monarchy in their society. None of these people are truly good, although I would say that Risha (the necromancer) comes close. All of the heirs (Risha, Nik, Taesia, and Angelica) are vying for the throne while simultaneously trying to bring it down and restore power to the gods and their own houses. These aren’t superheroes, these are normal people blessed with power that they don’t necessarily want or use in responsible ways. I gasped more than once at the cruelty and lack of control that exists in the hands of these characters.

Was anything not so great?

I have to be honest and say that while I really enjoyed this book from cover to cover, it read like YA. The main characters could have easily been teenagers instead of in their 20s and 30s and the story would have worked. I wouldn’t call this a full transition to adult for Sim, which was disappointing, but because her storytelling skills are so adept I’m willing to give the second installment of this one a go to see if she steps it up a notch.

What’s the verdict?

This one gets 4 stars on Goodreads and a hearty recommendation from me. It’s definitely a contender for the Angry Angel Books best books of 2022 list. If you like dark fantasy with reluctant heroes, violence, and a little bit of sexy time, this book should be in your hands asap.


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