Review: Dusklight, by NR LaPoint
Last time, she went to Hell. This time, Hell is coming for her.
In Chalk, we met Raven Mistcreek, whose journey down the rabbit hole went all the way to Hell. It was a fun ride. Along the way we met her her kistune friend Kasume (with a katana named… Katana), the knight Percy Dayspring with his smart metal swords that throw plasma, and August, Raven’s chalk golem. There was also Damien Mistcreek, Raven’s brother, and her sister Ariadne, who walks through shadows and feels like Wednesday Addams.
In Chalk, Raven, her family, and the entire knights Templar defeated three of the horsemen of the apocalypse. What could she possible have trouble dealing with next?
After the fall of Death in Chalk, Cults dedicated to said horseman are on the rise everywhere. The Holy Inquisition have been rooting out these cults, one shotgun blast at a time. And then they hear about an evil book, bound in human skin. And the cults have a new target, and they have only one name to go by: Mistcreek.
Cue the music to Evil Dead, we have an evil book to burn.
Meanwhile, Lady Raven and her fiancé Baron Percy Dayspring (they’ve both had a promotion), are ambused on the way to his Dusklight castle. The fiends are of a type that don’t exist in their world, but could only be from the lower depths. What fresh Hell is rising to threaten the world this time? Last time it took the entire Templar order to beat back the forces of Hell; can Raven and Percy do it with a handful of knights and some Inquisitors found along the way?
How do I sum up NR LaPoint’s work? He’s John C, Wright, only he speaks in sentences instead of paragraphs. He will leap headfirst down that rabbit hole, conjure up every horror from everyone’s mythology, multiply it by the square root of HP Lovecraft, and then hit it with plasma from orbit because it’s the only way to be sure.
Then the fun really starts.
Despite all of the action (which may be half to three quarters of the book) it’s still heavily carried by character. And somehow, the climax of the novel is NOT the three-way Kaiju battle between the Thing from Hell du jour, the dragon and the golem, but surprisingly low-key and personal… and it still feels like you went through the final battle in Highlander.
One of the nice things with Dusklight is that even though we’re going down a slightly new rabbit hole, LaPoint doesn’t spend this novel explaining things to us. The characters know the world, they understand the world, and convey exactly what’s going on clear crisp fashion. The reader should be lost without a clear, in-depth conversation, but we’re not. It’s easy to track the who, the how and the “What the Hell?”
I also appreciate that Nate went through an entire novel with the inquisition, and he didn’t use a single variation on how unexpected they were. Probably because, at this point the joke is so overused, everyone expects them.
And I will always appreciate someone who knows the difference between sapient and sentient.
In Chalk, we had one real point of view character, and that was Raven Mistcreek. Imagine the girl from Ghostbusters: Afterlife if she made it through puberty in a Catholic girls school. Her brain works in some interesting ways, and she approaches problems from different angles. She isn’t a physical powerhouse
Dusklight has a slew of characters, all balanced out fairly well. Even the golem is a point of view character, and he has an interesting perspective on things. It has members of the Holy Inquisition and the Templars. It has a half succubus who was raised by nuns. We see things through Percy’s eyes. And it’s all terribly well balanced.
Everyone has had some good solid character development since book one. It’s enjoyable to watch them grow.
Oh, this world is so interesting. It’s supposed to be a backdrop, but it feeds the plot so heavily they’re indistinguishable.
None. No, seriously, none. Unless you think that having Templars and the Holy Catholic church are heroic figures is political. If that’s how you think, I worry about you.
None. It’s a credit to Nate’s writing that he can have a succubus as a character, an incubus as a villain, and Deadly sins as demons, and still be on this side of PG-13. In fact, it would probably be considered a relatively soft PG-13… however, you can’t go by me, I read Jurassic Park when I was ten.
However, it is horror. So if you’re squeamish about tentacled monstrosities … I still wouldn’t worry. This isn’t Hentai, and there aren’t even any jokes along those lines. Not even from the Kitsune.
Who is it for?
If you like the action of Larry Correia or John Ringo or Jim Butcher, with the mind of John C Wright, you should already own this book.
Why Buy it
If you like insanely good action with a fantasy world that stops just short of over-the-top, you are going to enjoy this one.
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