Tim Lebbon writes a different kind of dark fantasy in Dusk. Review by Violet Kane

Book Cover

When I hear the term 'dark fantasy', images of urban, chick-lit, vampire fiction spring to mind. If you have the same associations, get them out of your head for the duration of this review.

At the opening of this story, the brutal and mysterious Order of Red Monks are carving up the countryside of Noreela, leaving a path of blood in their wake. Rafe Braburn's parents fall under their blades, leaving him angry, confused and alone. He flees to his uncle, who knows more than he's letting on about the Red Monks, and about Braburn's potential. Meanwhile, characters across Noreela are feeling the effects of change. Librarian Alishia finds herself emotionally orphaned when her library burns down, and fledge miner, Trey, finds himself heartbroken and alone when most of his community of underground dwelling people—including his mother and girlfriend—are killed and he is forced up to the surface.

With Dusk, Tim Lebbon has written a type of "dark fantasy" which is, perhaps, a more logical outgrowth from the root genre. Dusk is fundamentally a 'swords and sorcery' type of adventure, only Lebbon has brought to it various imagery techniques from horror-writing in order to weave his dark world and create an atmosphere of foreboding. While horror fans will find Lebbon's Dusk an enjoyable crossover into fantasy, fantasy fans won't have to stretch their genre sensibilities too far. This book reads much more like fantasy than horror, and the 'horrorific' elements will appeal to fans of the gritty realistic type of fantasy that has recently gained so many fans. Perhaps most remarkable in this book is Lebbon's fresh take on the standard fantasy story of a young hero discovering his magical powers. Fantasy readers will find Lebbon's take on this conflict familiar, but not predictable.

Dusk is the first book in a duology, which will be completed with the upcoming release of Dawn, but Lebbon has already planned more stories in the Noreela world. This novel promises unique future storytelling in this horror/fantasy hybrid world.

Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.

Alternative Reality Web Zine: ISSN# 1559-3037

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