Overview (No Spoilers):
Russell has developed a fascinating literary realm in Divinity’s Twilight that weaves together legend, magic, and seemingly unending conflict into a fast paced adventure. In a read that proves to be action packed from cover to cover, we find vivid characters vying for positions of power as their personalities clash even during the most peaceful of times. When these young soldiers are then thrust into life or death situations we watch as their unique quirks either exacerbate the most talented into inaction or inspire the confidence lacking squib to flourish.
Many comparable novels tease out the foundation of a permeating myth throughout the entire series by referencing the influential events from the safe distance of the far future. Divinity’s Twilight instead chooses to boldly lead with the actual battle that forms the basis of the legend, ultimately molding the empires and wars that comprise bulk of the novel. That being said, this prologue is a whopping 44 pages long. The length is tempered due to the unfettered access granted to the three brothers who are the leaders of opposing sides, while they engage in an all encompassing battle that irrevocably reshapes the world. In the rest of the book, when references are regarding these brothers, either in religion or politics, I drew satisfaction from feeling as though I had inside information regarding these legends by having been given a fleeting glimpse of how they thought and their motivations.
Due to the prologue diving head first into a major battle, the learning curve for this literary realm was quite steep, as we had to ascertain not only the characteristics of the various beings and magical rules, but also friend from the foe. The significant effort expended to establish this early foundation was critical for the development of the rest of the novel that takes place centuries in the future. The worldbuilding was detailed and elaborate as we learned in depth about two of the three empires, Sarconia and Darmatia, specifically their ruling hierarchy, magic, military, and overarching philosophies. Russell has crafted a solid base with which to continue developing his literary world, especially with other cultures and countries primed to explore. Overall, Divinity’s Twilight was a delightfully ambitious epic fantasy that sprints right out of the gate and maintains an unrelenting pace throughout. The reader will find themselves mindlessly flipping pages as the stakes grow ever steeper with each subsequent chapter.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What happened to Elaine? How did Vallen fail her? I enjoyed getting a glimpse into Vallen’s past in an attempt to try to sympathize with how disagreeable he is as an adult. What happened to the rest of the crowd Vallen used to run with? How did Seward Metellus find Vallen? Did he only take Vallen in because of his powers?
- Sylette’s past was also an interesting layer of depth added to our banished Princess who is also another blunt and quite abrasive character. It gave context as to her harsh judgments and lack of patience. Will we see her edges soften as she bonds with the team?
- What does Velle see/feel in Sylette? If Sylette is captured will her Father sacrifice her for what he perceives as a chance at immortality. This is likely an easy yes for the ruthless Sarconian ruler.
- Why did Sylette’s mother attack Sychon? Valescar still finds ways to defend Sylette. Why does he still protect her? What will happen if he has to choose between her and Sychon?
- How does the Sychon think he can defeat Sarcon? What secret does he have up his sleeve?
- Did Matteo’s parents survive? How will Matteo evolve into his own strengths?
- Will we learn more about the Moravi, the Hue, Sylph, or the Elaide?
- How did Mother Junica disappear? What powers does she have?
- Is Vallon really the only Triaron? How did his powers present?
- Where is the rest of the Elysium? How will this wildcard play a role?
- What other Lost Magic will Sarcon display?
- Will Unter survive? How does Lilith have her special abilities? Is Renar as blockheaded as he appears? The poetry twist was intriguing. Will we learn more about these other members of the team who have been relegated to the sidelines for now?
- Are Vallen’s dreams coming back because Velle is not interfering? How far does her powers extend?
- Did Kinloss survive in his tunnels?
- If Sarcan is still alive, are Darmatus or Rabban’s spirits still around somewhere?
- Why was General Iolus not in one of the airships?
- Leon’s sacrifice was so hard to read, especially as Sarcon took over his body. That being said, I’m excited that Leon still is there in the background and fighting. Can the others save him? What happens when they realize he is still ‘alive’?
- When will Sarcan return to the Fields of Har’muth? What other secrets are hidden here?
- The epilogue gave us a new perspective of a low level Sarconian soldier. Will Seb survive or remember anything from his drunken night? How will it play out if the Church revolts? Are the Church of Light and the Will of the Way the same thing?
Sentience: feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception and thought
Caliginous: misty; dark
Lamella: a thin flat scale, membrane, or layer
Empyrean: the highest heaven or heavenly sphere in ancient and medieval cosmology usually consisting of fire or light
Obeisance: acknowledgment of another’s superiority or importance
Sagacious: of keen and farsighted penetration and judgment
Despotism: a system of government in which the ruler has unlimited power
Coruscating: to be brilliant or showy in technique or style
Fulgurating: the act or process of flashing like lightning
Penumbra: a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light
Cordon: a line of troops or of military posts enclosing an area to prevent passage; an ornamental cord or ribbon
Zephyr: a gentle breeze
Malignant: evil in nature, influence, or effect
Imbecilic: Fool; idiot
Perfidy: an act or an instance of disloyalty
Eglantine: an Old World rose (especially Rosa eleganteria) with stout recurved prickles and white to deep rosy-pink single flowers