Light Dawning by Ty Arthur

7/10 Recommended to readers who enjoy dark and grimdark fantasy... Features ruthless fight scenes, some arachnid-type creatures and a bleak backdrop.

This fantasy is definitely on the darker side with ruthless fight scenes, some arachnid-type creatures (urgh, shivers) and a bleak backdrop. Set in an occupied city called Cestia, the population is brutalised and oppressed by the occupiers from the south, who, after three years, still haven’t moved on. That’s because the occupiers are hunting for a lost ‘relic’, that happens to have taken shelter in the body of one of the city folks, Myrr. Myrr isn’t keen to hand himself over to the occupiers so the relic remains hidden. He comes to realise that it has some insane power, and is keen to control his actions. 
 
Fed up with the occupation, the subjugated Cestia residents decide to fight back. Their efforts are normally swiftly quashed, but they keep trying. One of the rebel fighters is Casterly, who happens to be in the same safehouse as Myrr. During an uprising, Myrr meets Tala. Tala has a similar issue to Myrr: voices in her head. 
 
The fourth key character is Father Erret. He’s stirring up trouble in the city by fuelling the Cestia rebels’ retaliation. He’s had a vision that his religion will only truly manifest when the city is burning. 
 
What follows is a battle between the rebels and the occupiers, the light (Father Erret’s religion) and dark forces (the occupiers’ religion). At the same time, a dragon-like creature and his rider, who seem to have their own agenda, are on the hunt for the thing inside Myrr. Myrr and Tala attempt escape, only to end up with the father, who is now pretty interested in the voices inside Tala’s head. 
 
The pace kept my attention and the characters are well-realised. I enjoyed the dark, oppressive atmosphere of the setting and the strange creatures. I also liked that the plot takes place in one day. I did struggle, however, with the writing style. I found some of the sentences to be confusing in the way they were structured. And often it wasn’t clear about the action or who was talking. I had to go back and re-read a few times to ‘get’ what was going on. Unfortunately, this broke the story’s flow.
 
Overall, I enjoyed Light Dawning and would recommend to readers who enjoy dark and grimdark fantasy.

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