Book Reviews, Misc, XPresso Tours

Book Review: Nocturne by Kat Ross

Nocturne by Kat Ross is a new series following characters from the Fourth Element Trilogy. Here we have a whole new world to play in. Nazarafeen, still reeling from battle with Neblis, has come to Nocturne, land of eternal night, and home of the powerful daeva clans. She is a guest of House Dessarian, of the Danai.

Missing a hand, and struggling with amnesia, Nazafareen is desperate to recover her memories and learn who she was. Her Danai companion, Darius, knows more than he’s willing to tell. After an assassination attempt, Nazafareen flees the Danai lands, heading to Solis. Stowing away on a wind ship heading into the Umbra, she hopes to elude her Valkirin hunters, and make her way to the Marakai in hopes the water daeva can heal her. Little does Nazafareen know an implacable foe now dogs her steps, relentless and without mercy.

 

Desperate to help his one-time bond partner, Darius sets off in pursuit of Nazafareen, against his family’s wishes. And Darius, too, must wrangle with the same fell creatures that hunt his partner. Meanwhile, Culach of the Valkirin, scarred and blind after battle, is slowly learning to live blinded in more ways than one. He dreams of fire, deadly to the daevas, and of a red-haired daeva clan who wielded fire and ripped the world asunder. As the days pass, Culach’s dreams become more and more intense. Are his dreams a link to the past or a portent of what is to come? Or perhaps a warning that the Valkirin are in danger of becoming extinct and forgotten, like the prideful flame daevas?

Nocturne is an action-packed thrill! I devoured this book, and am eager to read Solis. I fell into this world of night and day. I’m interested to read the preceding series. The author herself notes that it is recommended, but not necessary to have read the previous trilogy. There is enough subtle background information regarding her ‘accident’, and the event of the previous series that it’s easy to understand.

The description is just brilliant. This is a world divided into a half that is perpetually day, and one perpetually night. As to be expected, much of each respective half is either too cold or too hot to live in. Cities and settlements on either side are clustered along the borders of the Umbra, a twilight region dividing the world halves, a type of equatorial region, if you will. This seems to be a planet whose rotation has stopped. The mortal half, sunlit Solis, is patterned after ancient Persia and Greece. Javid, the wind ship captain, is Persian, from Samarqand. We don’t actually visit there this book. The pair accidentally end up in Delphi, a place less than friendly towards Javid’s people, and the daeva alike.

I loved Nazafareen and Darius! We only get to see them together in this book briefly, though we do follow each separately. The story thread with Culach and Mina was equally interesting. Culach is my favourite character. I usually have an immediate liking for characters who are blind, or have some other eye issue. In his case, he’s true-blind. I’m impressed by how quickly he seems to relearn how to navigate around, once he’s roused out of his broodiness.

The daevas’ natural magic was neat, with each clan having a dominant element. It’s interesting that there was a physical consequence to the Danai using earth magic, and I wonder if the other clans have similar consequences. There wasn’t really a time when we got the perspective of a Valkirin doing lots of magic, and we met no Marakai in this story. Daeva magic isn’t the only magic either. Humans can use what they call spell magic, assisted by spell dust and the recitation of spells. Magic isn’t an inherent part of their being like with the daevas. Then there’s Nazafareen’s breaking magic, an incredibly rare power that can nullify other magic. It’s natural, to her, and like the daevas’ magic, comes with physical consequences.

If you enjoy fantasy stories, with neat magic concepts, or stories influenced by exotic ancient cultures, be sure to check out Nocturne!

***Many thanks to XPresso Blog Tours and the author for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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