Book Review: "Dark & Day" by Israel Grey



The wild imagination of Clive Barker's ABARAT with the deliberate plotting of an early Harry Potter novel.

It's always fun to see someone pay homage to the things you love. Dark & Day appears to be written as a love song to the SNES-era "Final Fantasy" games, and that whole series in general (I'm talking characters named Biggs, Wedge, and Cid make appearances). If I were to be specific, I would compare it most to Final Fantasy VI -- it has that whole fantasy-meets-steampunk mech stuff.

In a land quite literally divided between eternal day and eternal night, we follow Jonothon Wyer, a dark dweller. Jono is a sickly little boy who is admitted into the prestigious Windom Academy, where he will be given the chance to make a difference in the world, and maybe change it forever.

Though there is a lot of familiar ground being covered in Dark & Day's premise, the author does a pretty great job at adding some surprisingly clever extra layers of narrative to give an otherwise tired plotline its own flavor and some very unexpected twists. I will not spoil, but trust me: there is a lot more going on in Jono's story within Windom than the typical fare (meet the teachers, meet the bully, get in fights, pass your tests).

The greatest thing about this story is probably the world. It's a deeply imagined narrative sandbox. Though there's a lot left to explore, the world presented here is already massive, packed with many different creatures and some pretty awesome lore I can't wait to see come into play in future books. As I understand, books 4 and 5 are being written now. I wouldn't be surprised if there's enough room for even more.

Also, there was some major relief in seeing that the author had the decency to wrap up the story really well while leaving a major plot point open for sequels. I don't like seeing stories end abruptly, as they often do, giving me the impression that the writer author bored near the end and decided to just go "Fuck it", and write "The End". This is a well conceived three-act story that wraps after a pretty epic (if a bit rushed) climax. As someone who loves structure in plot, I really appreciated it.



My only major gripe was that it could've used some editing. The book is a bit longer than it had to be, and the pacing is sometimes erratic, often lingering on unimportant plot points and then rushing through the better or more interesting parts. This sometimes results in the existence of too many characters, many of whom have very small roles, which kinda stings because many are really damn awesome (one Professor in particular was awesome and only had one scene).

In the end, this was a quick, colorful and incredibly entertaining read. If I didn't have a massive reading list ahead of me, I'd dive right into book 2.

Oh and this is not directly related to the book but I need to point out that Dark & Day has some of the most awesome artwork I've ever seen. It's out-of-this-world phenomenal. I love that it was included within the pages of the (e)book. You can check some of it out right here.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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2 comments:

  1. Added to my super long list of "Want To Read" in Goodreads. I mean... THE FRAKING ARTWORK ALONE uff.

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    1. I know! I was initially drawn to the artwork as well, but I have a feeling you'd also dig the book.

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