Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by ThoughtsStained
I have so much I want to say about reading this book and I know already that I’m going to go in 100 different directions throughout this review. So I wanted to apologize in advance.
Let’s start with an embarrassing story.
Through a whirlwind of chances, good timing and the grace of lovely humans, I actually met the author of Duskfall, Christopher Husberg, two weeks ago at WorldCon. I was hanging out with some of the Jabberwocky authors (through the amazing efforts of G.S. Denning, whose book Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone you should have already read by now).
Right before I was leaving, Chris showed up. Gabe, who I was talking with, noticed him and said, “Oh, there’s Chris. He’s the one that wrote Duskfall.”
My heart immediately leapt, even though I was only 250ish pages in at that point. Because standing only a few feet in front of me was not only the author of a book I was reading, but it was an author whose work I already really enjoyed and was starting to admire. Whose work I could only dream of comparing my own writing against and finding them equal in quality.
And then, Gabe, bless him, was like, “I’m sure you want to meet him. Chris!” Of course, I was flustered. I didn’t save any grace or regain any dignity meeting Chris. In fact, I got worse. Gabe introduced me, we shook hands and then I decided to speak. (Bad idea.)
“Yeah, I’m not very far in Duskfall, but I’m currently not reading it because I’m pissed off at what you did.”
WHO SAYS THAT?
Publisher: Titan Books | Release Date: June 2016 | Pages: 557
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: Agent
Stuck with arrows and close to death, a man is pulled from the icy waters of the Gulf of Nahl. Winter, a seemingly quiet young fisherman’s daughter, harbours a secret addiction that threatens to destroy her. A young priestess, Cinzia, must face a long journey home to protect her church from rebellion. A rebellion sparked by her sister.
Three characters on different paths will be brought together by fate on one thrilling and perilous adventure.
On the Page
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- Duskfall‘s worldbuilding wasn’t good, it was exceptional. I loved the political tensions between humans, tiellans and daemons. I was awed by the religious complications. The magic system was brilliant. But the best part was how subtly I learned about it all. I wasn’t bombarded by information dumps. Instead, I learned what I needed to know as the characters needed to know it or when it was relevant to the story. Granted, this isn’t a new way to present worldbuilding; most successful fantasy authors are capable of doing this. Still, it was well done here!
- The characters were fantastic. My loyalty to Knot was almost instantaneous. I can’t really explain why, but I would fight with him and for him with everything I have. Astrid…I mean, damn, Astrid. I could read books–yes, plural–about her alone and be perfectly content. Jane and Cinzia were both fascinating in their own rights, though if I had to pick a side, I’m with Cinzia. And then you bring in Kali and Nash and that’s an entirely different can of fascinating worms. I love books that have multiple POVs, but I often find myself wishing I was in one POV instead of another, even though I enjoy both. That wasn’t the case with Duskfall. I enjoyed all of them.
- Interestingly enough, the characters I found myself most annoyed by were Winter and Lian, our tiellans. And it wasn’t because they were tiellans. I loved the tiellan culture and would love to spend more time directly immersed in that culture. I’m not sure what my beef with Lian is, but I have one. And Winter…damn if she didn’t frustrate the hell out of me. Did I empathize and sympathize with her? Oh yes. Did I want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her ridiculously hard almost every other page because she was being a dolt? Oh yes.
love books where I have mixed emotions regarding the characters. I don’t want to love them all or hate them all. Even with a specific character, I love when I feel one way towards them and then my feelings are confronted and challenged as we journey on. I love books that have multiple plotlines and threads. With a clear investment in each one and am left itching to find out what happens next when they aren’t resolved. I love the blurring of good and evil. The intricate magic, powerful underdogs, complicated characters, grotesque details. I love snort-laughing at what a character says, tensing up when I’m caught off-guard, my chest constricting when I’m torn up emotionally, getting chills and yelling, “You did WHAT?!” I love books that make me feel, make me care and inspire and challenge me to improve my own work.
Duskfall? Yeah, it had all of that ^^. And that’s why it was one of the best books I’ve read this year. That’s why you should go read it, right now. And that’s why I’m taking off an entire day from work and from life, sometime in June 2017 (or earlier? *puppy dog eyes*), when book two is slotted to come out. Absolutely brilliant.