Game Of Moans
this opening entry in the Chaos Queen quintet begins with its lead character pulled from the sea, suffering long-term amnesia. Knot is basically Bourne via Wolverine – unable to remember his life outside of an instinctual ability to beat anyone up, but able to recall intricate histories of locations he visits. It seems inconsistent, but makes sense in a decent final twist.
It’s a long road to those final few strong moments, though. Knot makes friends, then abandons them, inspiring vague quests where it’s never clear what anyone is looking for. Extreme coincidence drives the narrative, with prophecy and fate replacing smart plotting.
We meet Winter, a elfin drug addict. Her friend Lian, two religious zealots Cinzia and Jane, and a vampire named Astrid join Knot on the path to the finale. Each character is as unlikeable as the last.
We’ll endure dark leads if the narrative’s compelling, but little happens in Duskfall. It’s also bleak, and without the intellectual heft/linguistic fun of, say, Game Of Thrones, Duskfall’s adult tone isn’t earned. A book containing fewer significant events than a chapter of George RR Martin doesn’t bode well for the opener of a five-instalment series. Sam Ashurst