cover image Give Way to Night

Give Way to Night

Cass Morris. DAW, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1231-9

Morris’s dense second Aven Cycle fantasy (after Unseen Fire) sees the city of Aven recovering from the tumult following the death of its dictator. But as the city rebuilds, the deadly rivalry between praetors Sempronius and Rabirus rages on as each leads Avenian legions in conquest of Iberia. Meanwhile, Ekialde, chieftain of the most belligerent Iberian faction, closes in on his goal of raising demons to abet his army. And the mage followers of Discordia crop up throughout Aven, their aims shrouded in mystery but their brutal magic bloodily apparent. Morris has a gift for orienting new readers and reimmersing fans into the complex world of the series without too much unwieldy exposition. She excels at depicting the present moment with enough detail and nuance that it makes sense on its own terms. This is especially appealing in the treatment of the mage Latona and her sisters, who exercise hard-won agency in the struggle for their city without too much rehashing of their victimization in the first book. Though the plot is slow going, shifting perspective between a dozen characters, the multilayered politics—both mundane and supernatural—will keep readers hooked. This is a satisfying return to the series. Agent: Connor Goldsmith, Fuse Literary. (Nov.)