Book Review: Twilight’s Fall by J. Steven Lamperti

Book Review: Twilight's Fall by J. Steven Lamperti

Twilight's Fall by J. Steven LampertiTitle: Twilight’s Fall (Tales of Liamec #4)
Author: J. Steven Lamperti
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: February 20, 2021
Genre: Fantasy, YA
One Sentence Summary: The young King Twilight is unexpectedly called back to Capitol because of an uprising and brings two young guards along with him straight into danger.

So, I was on the fence about this one because it sounded a bit too YA for me, but I ultimately decided to give it a shot because it’s short and the two guards seemed sweet and had good banter. Lamperti was kind enough to send the first few chapters and I was intrigued enough to want to read more. I liked that it was quick, so had good pacing and had some fun magical moments, but it also felt more MG to me than YA.

King Twilight is a guest of Duke Finley and proudly guarded by Corentin and Blaine, two new guards in the Finley household. A messenger interrupts the king’s plans, abruptly calling him back to Capitol. The king has unexpectedly grown fond of the two guards, who aren’t much younger than him, so requests Corentin and Blaine join him.

It seems simple enough: travel with his entourage back to Capitol to quell the uprising. But the three young men and a young woman named Aela end up separated from everyone else and are left to make their way back to Capitol while keeping hidden from whoever was trying to attack them. With unsettling news looming over them and uncertainty about what faces them on the road and in the city, they find they must work together and form bonds to save themselves and everyone else.

I liked the idea behind Twilight’s Fall. It sounded like a journey through a fantasy world while unrest hovers on the horizon, so the characters are pressed for time and need to get back to the capital as quickly as possible. I was looking forward to some danger and anxiety in the characters as well as plenty of action. Technically, this book does deliver, but it also felt a little too easy.

The thing that really got to me while reading this was that it felt more like the few MG books I’ve read. It’s very plainly written with just about everything practically handed to the characters on a silver platter. There was only one stand out moment where things really looked like it was going to go wrong, but it turned quickly. Meant to appeal to a wide audience, I feel it might be casting too wide a net, though it’s a good option for younger readers trying out fantasy as it’s surprisingly clean and adults looking to ease into fantasy or for a break from the denser, more complex fantasies out there.

Technically a standalone within the series (this is number 4), it does a great job of being able to stand on it’s own. I didn’t feel I really needed to have read the previous stories, but it probably would have been nice to have read them before hand. There were some events that were mentioned a few times, but never really delved into to help out readers who hadn’t read it or read it recently. I felt a big part of the story hinged on the backstory of one of the characters that was never really explored or reintroduced to readers. It sounded like a really interesting story, but, other than it happened and this happened to the character, the reader isn’t given any more.

But Twilight’s Fall isn’t a terrible. It has a great pace, so the story was constantly moving. It’s got a bit of everything: some danger, some court intrigue, some magic, some romance. It’s also very clean, which I appreciated, and not too bloody, which I really loved. I wish there had been more meat on the story, that it had gone a little slower so the characters, plot, and world could have been more fully developed, but, otherwise, it does offer something for everyone.

Twilight’s Fall is centered around a small group of characters: the king, Corentin, Blaine, and Aela, though I felt Blaine was left out of the story a little too much. I did like that each character had a distinct personality and their own interests. The king, Twilight, was particularly interesting as he seemed to mostly be caught up in his own world and seemed almost blasé about most things, but had a good head on his shoulders. But I wish there had been more depth to them, a back story that said more about who they are than what they learned from the people they had been raised by. They all felt a little unmoored, not fully anchored in my mind, probably because I didn’t really, fully, understand them or why they did what they did.

While the world building in Twilight’s Fall felt a little too simplistic to me, I think it might actually be very appreciated by new readers to fantasy. The names are not difficult to remember and actually tend to be descriptive of where or what they are. It’s medieval European, and, as only what is necessary to the story is given, quite easy to navigate. It’s rare when I feel like I don’t need a world map to orient myself, but this is one of those. The journey felt quite linear and the battlefield was just that.

I was most interested in King’s Seat, the castle in Capitol. I felt most of the description went right to this huge place. It is, indeed, quite massive as each area of it had it’s own name, which I found oddly delightful. Like the rest of the world, they tended to be quite descriptive of what it looked like, but I was impressed with just how much is crammed into it. There are so many different areas, so many nooks and crannies, I think I’d actually like to wander the halls for a while.

Twilight’s Fall is a quick, easy fantasy read. Meant to appeal to a wide audience, I think it might be a little too wide, but there were some good elements to this story and readers of different ages can pick out what they like. Personally, I really liked the idea, but the execution fell a little flat to me. The chapters are incredibly short, which helps to move the story along, but it also made it feel a little choppy and almost like I was jumping from one thing to the next. Still, I liked how clearly I could picture the world and thought there were some interesting court and family dynamics going on.

How many cups of tea will you need?

3 cups

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Thank you to J. Steven Lamperti for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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