It is time to abandon ship me mateys!
last song before night (Ilana C. Myer)
I just could not finish it. I tried. And tried. And tried again. Failure. I only managed to read 228 pages out of 415. I even liked the main character, Lin, a super lot. Now, this book got many starred reviews. People seemed to love it. Many authors that I enjoy blurbed it – Fran Wilde and A. M. Dellamonica among them. They said it was a wonderful debut set in a world full of music.
I can agree with the full of music part. This book is all about music. Music permeated the sections I managed to read anyway. Perhaps that was the issue. I am sadly not musically inclined myself. Now do not get me wrong, I enjoy a sea shanty or two and do sometimes spend entire evenings enjoying the art of music. But music does not live in my soul like it does for some other scalawags I know. If I had to do without, I would survive and still be hearty. However, I do have some of me crew who removing music from their lives would almost be like turning them over to the gallows. They would rather hang then lose music.
I thought most of the characters were two-dimensional, the world building not strong enough, and the conflict to be rather boring. So maybe this novel is just not for me. But I can count the number of books I have not finished on two hands and am very sad to have added to the list. Had I know people compared the writing style to Patricia McKillip and Guy Gavriel Kay (I have read their novels but not particularly loved them) then I probably would have forgone this novel in the first place. If you read this book and think it is the most wonderful thing ever, I would love to hear about it. But this Captain refuses to go down with this ship.
Amazon has this to say about the novel:
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 in Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night.
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.
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