Review: Devil’s Night Dawning by Damien Black

Published by: self-published
ISBN: 0995492808
ISBN 13: 9780995492806
Published: July 2016
Pages: 650
Format reviewed: mobi
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Three out of Five

Read for the SPFBO, this is the LAST book I dove into once we had our shortlist of ten. Freedom is on the horizon!

We meet Adelko and Horskam who hunt and exorcise monsters wherever they go. So, of course, they are the ones who must defeat a warlock who plans to unleash a great horror unto the world. The journey trope is evident from the cover, after all.

These are our two main characters and they dominate the majority of the book, which is good as the narrative didn’t really give reason to go elsewhere, and a shame as I didn’t connect with either of them. Adelko was a bit flat, partly because he’s a bit let down with his lot in life, however when you read about someone like that it’s entirely easy for the reader to feel the same. Braxus, however, was a lesser-used POV character and was quite excellent. A knight who is seeking aid for the war, his dialogue and interactions with people were really quite fun. Adhelina (one of the very few women in the book) was a bit forgetful, unfortunately.

Religion plays a big part here, and it certainly has a Game of Thrones or generic fantasy subsection feel. You have a priest, a novice, a knight, a princess, a squire – one wants to escape a marriage she’d rather not, one is bullied by his betters and chafes at the fact… Really quite generic. Which can be a reassuring read when done well, certainly. That’s what makes it s staple.

The plot isn’t one of the more dramatic parts to the book – the plot was sturdy enough but not quite memorable – the focus here is all on the worldbuilding, which is quite epic. The language used throughout was often good and there were few typos, and the flow was often good… however…

Overall, I think this book needs a little more editing. There were several issues of info-dumping and that seemed to be the primary method of informing the reader of the world-building, which is usually one of my favourite elements of reading fantasy. In this it was closer to being in a History of Magic class in Hogwarts with the ghost professor Binns up front… and we all know what happened in those classes.

Ultimately this book is far longer than it needs to be, and really could do with shaving at least 100 pages, if not 200 from them. Then it would be tight, engaging, and really quite a hard contender for the winner.