Game Of Moans

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Dusk­fall be­gan life as a project for Bran­don San­der­son’s “How to Write Science Fic­tion and Fan­tasy” course.

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

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