Published by Scholastic Press on November 27, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: The Publisher, Blog Tour
My content rating: YA (Some violence, Nothing more than kissing)
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 it is worth the price she must pay.
There was a lot to love about this unique fantasy. I found myself engrossed in its world of perpetual daylight!
What Fed My Addiction:
- Lyrical writing. This is a lush fantasy, filled with lavish sights and spectacular magic, and Selene’s writing style works perfectly for this genre. (In her Goodreads review of her own book, she says she writes what she loves to read: “Prose that tastes like sugared secrets.” That should give you a good idea of what to expect.) I love this type of writing.
- The worldbuilding. Selene did a fantastic job with the worldbuilding in this book. We are introduced to a unique new world with a lot of complex elements, but it never feels too overwhelming. I felt like I could picture most of the world in beautiful detail, and I loved the magical system. The book features a unique mythology that Selene created just for this world (you can read more about it HERE), and I love the way that she weaves that mythology into the story in multiple ways.
- A likable/unlikable narrator. Sylvie is the sort of character who manages to be both likable and unlikable at the same time. She’s ambitious and impetuous and a little full of herself, but we can see her vulnerabilities as well. It’s easy to see why she’s turned out the way she is, and we can sometimes cringe at her failings right along with her. Even though I didn’t always like her, I was still always rooting for her.
- Wonderful secondary characters. I loved most of the characters in this book. From the romantic interest to the mentor to the frinds that help Sylvie find her way, they were all engaging and intriguing!
- The possibility of more? While this book is certainly fine as a standalone, I couldn’t help but think there might be room for more. I’m hoping to hear news of a sequel.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Slight lull in middle. A lot of the middle of the book is just Sylvie waiting for something to happen. She’s learning to wield her power and waiting to show it to the queen. During this period, Sylvie learns a lot about the people around her, but nothing very active happens. I wish there had been a bit more plot development in this part of the book.
A stunning debut fantasy, Amber & Dusk will sweep you away to a world of dreams (and nightmares).
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via The Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
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 brooding 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.