cover image The City of Dusk

The City of Dusk

Tara Sim. Orbit, $17.99 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-316-45889-4

In this slogging first outing of the Dark Gods trilogy, Sim (Ravage the Dark) offers up a clunky secondary world fantasy where the heirs of four noble houses must work together to protect the eponymous city from demonic invasion. Each house descends from and worships a god of the realm: elemental-addicted Angelica Mardova’s family serves Deia, god of life; stubborn Risha Vakara’s serves Thana, god of death; god-forsaken Nikolas Cyr’s serves Phos, god of light; and wild Taesia Lastrider’s serves Nyx, god of shadows. When Taesia’s brother, Dante, is linked to a group of Conjurers trying to seize magic for themselves and is arrested, the four heirs take up Dante’s plan to reopen old portals to their gods, a decision that hinges unconvincingly on immature Taesia’s supposed charm. Though the cultural specificity of each family and the casual diversity of the city freshens things up, it can’t cancel out the awkward, backstory-heavy prose; uncomfortable, mechanical sex scenes; haphazard worldbuilding; and slow-moving plot. This is only for Sim’s most devoted fans. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Mar.)