ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Lyra Selene
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.
So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.
But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether itis worth the price she must pay.
**** I received an advance copy of this book from the published in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****
I am usually looking for a new and different YA fantasy so when I read the synopsis for this book and saw the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for this one I jumped at the chance. And while I do think that this felt like a classic fantasy, and while it had a lot of promise it didn't quite deliver on that.
The thing that I think best expresses this for me is the characters.. This is a book full of odious and interesting characters. I usually prefer my fantasies to have characters who are on the darker side. People who have allegiances that are hidden and plenty of secrets. These were those kinds of characters. It made for interesting characters who I was curious to learn more about, but I feel a little bit like we didn't get that payoff. Some of the characters got good reveals towards the end of the book but for the most part they didn't strike an emotional chord for me. I think honestly because most of them weren't really very big surprises. The main character of Sylvie felt like a classic YA fantasy protagonist. She was tough and brash which I liked but she was also incredibly dense which I found a little frustrating. To be honest, that was one of the things that added to the classic feel of this book for me. It was the find of book where I preferred the secondary characters.
What I enjoyed most about Amber and Dusk was the world. For one thing, the magical system is one of those where each character has their own power and they feel almost like superpowers, which is a magical system I always enjoy. Plus the author was great about how the magic had clear rules and before the main character was able to use her powers in a significant way she had to learn how to control them, which is something I prefer in my magic. But the world also had a ton of political intrigue. I love when fantasies deal with court politics and the secrets surrounding the court and this book definitely handled that well.
I do think however that this book had too much world building and that's at the expense of the plot. New fantasy books always have a lot of exposition. I expect at least 100 pages of set up and world building. But this book kind of took things way too far. The most interesting part of the story for me didn't really kick in until about the last 80 pages and then it was over way too soon even though it sent into motion so much of the book's final act. There was one section that was only 20 pages long that I really wanted more from and I felt like this portion of the plot could have been expanded on. I need a very plot-centered story though so maybe most people won't mind about this too much.
All in all, I think this was an okay read. It had a lot going for it like odious characters and an interesting world full of political intrigue, plus it definitely read like a classic YA fantasy but it didn't quite blow me away.
I give Amber and Dusk by Lyra Selene 7.5 out of 10 stars
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are looking for a YA fantastic that is heavy on the world and political intrigue and light on the plot development then check this out. It has classic fantasy vibes that I think fans of the genre will enjoy.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amber-dusk-lyra-selene/1127731151
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Amber-Dusk-Lyra-Selene/9781338210033?ref=grid-view&qid=1539641765675&sr=1-1
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lyra Selene was born under a full moon and has never quite managed to wipe the moonlight out of her eyes. When she isn’t dreaming up fantastical cities and brood-ing landscapes, Lyra enjoys hiking, rainstorms, autumn, and pretending she’s any good at painting.
She lives in New England with her husband, in an antique farmhouse that’s probably not haunted. AMBER & DUSK is her debut novel.
•AMBER & DUSK by Lyra Selene