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Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer {4 Stars}

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer is a lyrical fantasy stand alone about a world where songs used to produce magic, but something dark has destroyed the magic in the world. It’s the perfect book when you’re in the mood for a slow but satisfying fantasy that you can’t help but savor. I can’t wait to see what Myer writes next!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Last Song Before Night from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer {4 Stars}

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer
Published by Tor Books on Sept. 29th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 416 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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A high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings—a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression—from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld—a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • The first thing that must be said about Last Song Before Night is that the writing is lovely. This is appropriate since the characters are mostly poets, and lends the perfect mood to a story filled with poetry and song. It isn’t writing that you’ll want to or be able to blast through, but it’s worth it.
  • I loved the world and magic of this story. The city of Tamryllin is almost a character onto itself with the vivid sense of place that we get, and while magic isn’t working in the world anymore, there is still a lot to find out about it and how it should work ;-).
  • It is sometimes tricky to balance a number of different points of view, but I found the mix of characters to be just right. There are a few different female main characters, all different personalities, which is always nice to see. I was able to easily tell each person apart from their thought processes and thought each subplot interwove nicely.
  • The last 1/3 of this story is one that is going to make you stay up at night. It is addicting and action-packed with a whole lot of reveals about what has really been going on. It ended up elevating my overall opinion of the book since endings really make the story for me :).
  • I don’t read a lot of stand alones these days just because of how common series are in fantasy, but I found Last Song Before Night to be a satisfying story onto itself with no need for a sequel. If you’re looking for a self-contained story that still gives you that epic fantasy feel, this is a good choice.

Weaknesses:

  • The first 2/3 of Last Song Before Night is definitely slower paced that I’m used to. The writing is thick and there is a fair amount of build-up. I suspected this would be the case and went in prepared, but it is important to fit your mood to the pace.
  • I really wanted more details about how exactly the magic would work and how the dark magic is causing bad things to happen. Everything at the end happened so fast that I just didn’t get the details I wanted.
  • We don’t get to see a lot of Eivar and the rest of the world, just hear about it from various characters. I’m really hoping that Myer revisits this world since it sounds cool and I really want to see more.
  • There is an odd writing style in this book that involves time jumping in short bursts. We’ll jump forward to a character being in a situation and then jump back to see how they ended up in that situation. I don’t think I’ve encountered it before and it threw me off at first and took some getting used to.

Summary:

Last Song Before Night is a wonderful fantasy for a snowy winter day when you just want to sink into a much sunnier city and enjoy a stand alone fantasy read. I hope that Myer revisits this world some day so that I can get more of the details I crave, but I’m very glad that I got to experience this first book.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Hmm… I always admire writers who can convey poetry in their prose. This one sounds like a beautiful read!
    Sharry recently posted…Fairytale Comfort ReadingMy Profile

    • Beautiful is definitely the right word, I kind of wish it was a series so that I could sink into a sequel, but I’ll just have to wait for her next book ;-)

  2. I actually hadn’t heard of this book before – but it sounds like something I might enjoy when I’m looking for a bit slower fantasy than I usually read. I’m definitely going to go read more about it. Thanks so much for the review!
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…Top Ten Sophomore Books I’m Talking AboutMy Profile

  3. Sounds great! I’m curious how it will be to read about magic that is gone. And the city seems to so special and fun to read about makes me excited too.
    I love reading series but I wouldn’t mind to read a standalone from time to time so I’m definitely getting this one!
    Crini recently posted…Tutorial: Blog Post CalendarMy Profile

  4. Alyn Yang says:

    Thank you for doing a review on this book. I saw this book on a list of great standalone books and have wanted to read it since then. Now I can’t wait to read this book.

  5. @Stroopwaffle says:

    I just reviewed Last Song Before Night for my October Book Club here: http://www.jkrowbory.co.uk/2015/10/book-club-october-review/
    so it was really interesting to read your review too. I love finding out how different people react to the same book – it’s fascinating to me. I’ve just followed you on twitter too and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  6. Very nice review, Anya! I need to get my hands on a copy of this soon. :D
    Sara L. recently posted…The Infinity Dreams AwardMy Profile

  7. This book sounds beautiful and I don’t mind slower pacing when the writing is gorgeous. Coupled with the beautiful cover, I am convinced I must check this out despite the sketchiness of the world building. Gorgeous review, as always <3
    Aentee recently posted…Book Review: Night OwlsMy Profile

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