Amber & Dusk (Amber & Dusk #1) by Lyra Selene
Publisher: Scholastic Books (November 27, 2018)
Print Length: 368 pages
Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d’Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.
So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.
But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she’ll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.
While Amber & Dusk had all the makings of the next great YA fantasy novel: expert world building, political intrigue, and an interesting look at the main character’s ambition, it ultimately fell short due to its
predictability and lack of compelling characters.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan of Selene’s world building and her two main settings: the Dusklands and the Amber City. In fact, I got a very Mad Max vibe from the passages about the Dusklands and Sylvie’s progress with the caravan, while the Amber City had a very Great Gatsby feel, with parties, and extravagance, and camouflaged violence. I also rather enjoyed the politics in regards to how the legacies, or the magic system, was handled.
However, the main reason why this book didn’t resonate higher with me was due to its predictability. While not an overly terrible thing to do in a 300 page book, given the fact that there are only so many pages to get the reader familiar with the overall premise, I did find myself rather bored by the chosen one going against the dark ruler whose violent ambition got them into power and can only be undone by equally violent means.
I also found it a tad off putting how entitled Sylvie was. While I understand Selene’s intention of making her main character crave the life she believed she was meant to have, I couldn’t help but feel cheated when she began to fall for Sunder, who for all intents and purposes was rather abusive before suddenly shifting to the hate-to-love trope.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
_ _ _
And those are my thoughts on Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene. Have any YA fantasy recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.