“Daughter of Dusk” by Livia Blackburne
3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
“After learning the truth about her blood lines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.
Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.
As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?
In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.”
Nearly a year ago I went to a Barnes and Noble book panel where five different female authors were being interviewed and answering their fans’ questions, and Livia Blackburne was one of them. That was my first ever bookish event that I had participated in outside of online interviews and twitter chats, and it was one of the funnest things that I have experienced. I have such fond memories of that day hanging out with my siblings and meeting the wonderful authors who were present at the book panel, and I am so grateful that I had purchased on a whim Livia Blackburne’s first book, “Midnight Thief,” and asked her to sign it for me. I, surprisingly, really enjoyed “Midnight Thief” despite my wariness of high-fantasy fiction at the time, and so I was really excited for Livia’s second book to come out this August from Disney-Hyperion!
I had really liked “Midnight Thief” last year because I thought that Kyra was cool heroine who had experienced a lot of growth as a character over the course of the book. I had also liked Tristam as the good guy whose moral compass was always what he looked towards for guidance, and Jason, the bad boy, who was always wicked and dynamic and extremely fascinating. For being a debut author who was approaching a younger audience, I was very impressed by Livia’s skill as an author when I read “Midnight Thief,” and that didn’t change with “Daughter of Dusk.” The second book in this series was very good and I liked that Livia Blackburne tied all of her loose ends up really well, and I enjoyed the fact that the end of “Daughter of Dusk” felt satisfying. My only problem with “Daughter of Dusk,” though, was the characters.
I wouldn’t say that this is the most complex series to read since it is for younger audiences, but it this has a lot of depth and most of that comes from the characters. In “Midnight Thief,” Kyra was a feisty, strong heroine who grew a lot as an individual, Tristam was the noble Knight who eventually saw beyond the thief to the real Kyra, and Jason was mysterious, interesting, dynamic, and evil. Just between those three characters, the first book had a lot going for it, but in “Daughter of Dusk,” I didn’t feel like they were as compelling because two of them were moody and the other one was barely present. I get the dilemma that both Kyra and Tristam were having concerning their friendship and her heritage; everything was unstable where the two of them were involved and that made them both moody and uncertain. Their feelings and actions were understandable, just not very likable, and I was hoping for their relationship to evolve just a little before the end of this series came.
I had obviously really liked Kyra and Tristam in the first book, but with their mild attitudes in “Daughter of Dusk,” I gravitated towards Flick and Jason. Flick really stepped up his game in this book and I really enjoyed the fact that Livia Blackburne wrote parts of “Daughter of Dusk” from his point of view; Flick had a distinctive voice (like Jason’s in his own way) and it was refreshing to move from Kyra’s and Tristam’s perspectives, which no longer felt very distinct because of their broody inner monologues, and I think that Flick ended up being my favorite character in this book besides Jason.
I’m going to leave this short and sweet: Jason was misguided, evil, and one of the most dynamic (partial) villains I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I loved him in “Midnight Thief” and had mentally slapped myself (many times) for liking the assassin who I knew was bad, but had hoped wasn’t. I wish that there was more from his perspective in this book, but alas, there was not!
Overall, I think that Livia Blackburne did a great job wrapping up her first series. I didn’t end up liking “Daughter of Dusk” as much as the first book, but Flick was a great character whose voice I enjoyed a lot, Jason was still fascinating, and although I wish Kyra and Tristam hadn’t sulked so much, I enjoyed this sequel. Livia Blackburne’s writing remained high quality in “Daughter of Dusk,” and I would recommend this series to younger and older readers looking for an interesting high-fantasy read!
WARNING: There is definitely violence, but it is not graphic and Livia does not dwell on it for long periods of time.