ARC Review: The City of Dusk or a book that unleashed my most critical side!

Hello people! I hope you all are happy and safe! Today I am here with a review that was quite hard to write, because the book was not so bad, really, but it pushed all the wrong buttons for me, and so my most critical side kept popping up while reading it. I hope to manage to contain it a bit in this review, because yes, there were a lot of things that could have been done differently in some more satisfying ways (for me), but there are also good things, and this is not really a bad book so it does not deserve a too harsh judgment.

Thanks to the Editor and to NetGalley. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: City Of Dusk
Series: The Dark Gods #1
Author: Tara Sim
Pages: 512
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2022

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But the gods have withdrawn their favor from the once vibrant and thriving city.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

I think I would try a bullet review, so let’s start with the things that were good!

  1. The King. And okay, this may be unexpected but here me out. Here we have a king who is without an heir, and he is playing the four Houses against each other because one of the Houses’ heirs would be his successor. And usually in books when we have this kind of situation the king is always depicted as a villain. And if you add to this that not everyone is so happy with him, because, as always, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, and there is a lot of unfairness going around for the people who are not gentry. So you have a king that is, by no means, one of the good guys, but, at the same time, the author manages to give him some depths, and even if you know that he is not a fair and just king (I mean, obviously he can’t be, a good king won’t do a thing of what I write till now!!), he is not depicted as your usual villain. He is grey, morally questionable and yet he is not your usual useless and villainous character. And I appreciated it a lot!
  2. Julian. He was my favorite character. He is not one of the main ones, but I loved him.
  3. The Magic. The magical system per se is not amazing, but the magic, well, yes, the magic was great! We have the power to wield the shadows, for example, or the power to control the elements. Necromancy, and also the power of the light. I really enjoyed seeing magic at work in this book.
  4. The writing. The author’s style is good, and sometimes it is poetic. We have some really good images in there, and I loved them. Especially when the author describes Taesia.
  5. Taesia. But only when she is with Julian. Taesia is the more alive character, and she is the one around whom the plot moves, but she is especially alive when she is with Julian. It is almost like we have two different people in there, and it was disturbing from time to time, but I really enjoyed her in the parts in which she was with Julian. She was more bad-ass, she was a more active part of the story as a whole and she was so alive!
  6. The Twists. We really have some good ones coming!

What I didn’t like:

  1. The Pace. This book is so slow! And it is not always a bad thing, that’s true. I usually really like when an author takes their time with the story and the world, but in this case, I had the feeling that, sometimes, we weren’t going anywhere.
    As I was saying before, the times in which we really have some real plot advancement, some feeling of things moving forwards, of things happening is when we have Taesia and Julian together. For the rest of the time, the story was dragging its feet. And this was the worst malus for me. I was tempted to just let this book go because I just felt like nothing was really happening in there.
  2. The Characters. We have an interesting and different cast of characters, and I was expecting to love, or at least care, for all of them. Because they all have so much potential. But in the end it was like something was missing for me, and I didn’t really care for any of them.
  3. The YA vibes. This book was not here nor there, at least in this respect. On one hand, it should not be categorized as YA because we have a lot of mature content, from sex to violence. Serious violence e some really grim parts. So not YA. But at the same time, this book is strongly broadcasting YA vibes. In part is because we have strong and demanding and, for the most part, bad parents. They are not all bad, but we have some really bad parenting in there. And all the MCs are young people, who are seen as pawns by their parents, one way or another, and we follow them as they try to find their own way, even if most of them are not outside their parents’ shadows.
    Mind me, I am not saying that all books with a young character should be YA. Nevernight series by Kristoff is definitely not a YA. And Mia is a young MC and we see her grow between the pages. Robin Hobb’s books about Fitz Chevalier begin the journey with a really young MC, and we see him grow and we see him getting older and older. And yet this is not a YA. Absolutely not.
    But City of Dusk is broadcasting strong, really really strong, YA vibes, even if the contents are not the right one. And this put me a bit outside the reading.
  4. The Sheer Stupidity of some things. I can’t really say a lot here because I don’t want to make a spoiler, but when we finally get to understand a bit about the Conjurers I had to put down the book because it was that or start screaming (yes, I let myself be carried away a bit here!) because… really?? You weren’t expecting that???? I’d love to elaborate, because venting sometimes does wonders, but I don’t really want to spoiler anything so I would be cryptic, sorry about that!

So, as I was saying, there were some good things in this book, and I can see why so many people loved it. Really. But at the same time, it was not perfect, and it didn’t work for me. Again, if you think this could work for you, go for it, there are some interesting point in there, and it is quite original so… yeah, if you are curious try it out! But I won’t continue the series, it simply is not the right kind of book for me!

And what about you? Have you read it? Or do you want to read it?? Let me know!

Happy reading!

12 thoughts on “ARC Review: The City of Dusk or a book that unleashed my most critical side!

  1. Realms of My Mind says:

    Hahaha, I totally understand where you coming from, even if I liked the book more! It did feel some times like the book was stalling for time instead of getting to the action, but when the action did arrive, it was great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    I’ve read a couple of comments from fellow bloggers about the slow pace of this book, and that was slightly worrying, because I have little patience. Then I saw your “warning” about the YA vibes and that was the deciding factor: I might read this book one of these days, but right now it’s not a priority…
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susy's Cozy World says:

      Thank you!! And I agree with you about the stupidity, I am not a fan, to put it mildly. But all things considered the book has some interesting things going on, it wasn’t just the right one for me!


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