So I just got done with this novel this morning and I absolutely loved it! If you're a fantasy lover like me this one is an absolute must, it's so unique - I loved everything about it! Below is my review, which you can also find on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1876334346
Hold on to your hats, fantasy lovers, because this is one wild ride. From the first pages of the prologue the reader is swept up into the action and the deluge doesn't let up until the very last page - and only then because there's no more to read until the second installment is published. It's going to be a long wait, my friends.
Knot, our hero, is dragged from a freezing sea pierced with arrows and with no memory of himself. The mystery is consuming and creates much of the pace of the novel, with glimpses of his past propelling the reader further to find out more. Despite his lost memory, Knot is a likable character separate to the person he once was, so that we get the impression that we might not like him to recover his former self. It creates a quiet suspense throughout the novel that hovers underneath the non-stop action.
Duskfall is a refreshingly unique creation in the world of Fantasy. It combines familiar elements in unfamiliar recipes, making old ideas seem fresh and full of new flavour. The action comes fast but is dynamic, so that it's not all sword fights and epic chases. There is intelligence in the storyline, and it's crafted cleverly so that the reader is never bored by repetition. Much of it travels unexpected paths, making it hard to predict what comes next; imagine speeding down the ski slopes with no warning of the layout and obstacles to dodge the entire way - the rush is hard to beat. That thrill of not knowing what to expect makes this novel stand out in a genre overrun with stereotypes and cliches.
The mix of characters is bizarre yet they complement each other nicely, making it hard to choose favourites. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, which gives them depth and layers that are fascinating to peel back. There is a mixture of hard and soft, but there is no black and white - the characters in this novel are very much in the grey area. This realism allows the reader to connect on a deeper level, and feel a lot more through the written eyes of multiple viewpoints.
The writing is commendable, and it's apparent that a lot of thought went into producing work of a very high standard. It's not just the pace, or the perfect balance of action and description; the true mark of brilliance is in the small details. For example, the new terminology that spawns from words we know: new names for well-known fantasy elements. There's also the very real, present-day themes that enter this novel under the guise of fantasy. The reader is confronted with issues like racism, substance abuse, and warring religion, and the deep thinkers will appreciate this subtle inside view on such topics. The dynamics between different opinions and beliefs give a lot of heart to the novel, making character exploration as important a factor as the fluidity of the story.
An absolute rush to read, and a refreshing addition to the world of fantasy, Duskfall had me hooked from beginning to end. A quote on the cover from Steve Diamond states that this novel has him 'thrilled for the future of Fantasy' and I can't help but agree. I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book in my new favourite fantasy series.