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Amber & Dusk

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Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers. B Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers. But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.


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Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers. B Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers. But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to assume what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

30 review for Amber & Dusk

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cait • A Page with a View

    This was seriously one of the greatest surprises I've ever found in a book! I wanted to read faster so I could start fangirling and shoving it at everyone asap, but the writing was so gorgeous that I had to appreciate every single line... pretty sure Lyra Selene's writing style is one of my all-time favorites now. (But everyone has different taste, so don't go into this with absurdly high expectations that could lessen your enthusiasm for what is a SERIOUSLY AWESOME STORY). First of all - I love This was seriously one of the greatest surprises I've ever found in a book! I wanted to read faster so I could start fangirling and shoving it at everyone asap, but the writing was so gorgeous that I had to appreciate every single line... pretty sure Lyra Selene's writing style is one of my all-time favorites now. (But everyone has different taste, so don't go into this with absurdly high expectations that could lessen your enthusiasm for what is a SERIOUSLY AWESOME STORY). First of all - I love YA fantasy. I am 100% here for all the tropes and will get tired of a good lost princess, love triangle, orphan with magical powers who saves the world, etc. So, yes, this story has some typical elements, but I love finding stories that can fit in with my favorites while bringing something totally new at the same time. Amber & Dusk felt like Red Queen meets The Belles with a hint of Shadow & Bone? But it's totally its own unique story! I honestly haven't found too many YA fantasy books this year that managed to do a new take on the elements I love, so I'm all sorts of excited about this one. Sylvie is an ambitious orphan with magic in a remote society where her powers are feared. She's searching for a place to belong, so she heads to the Amber City to join the court because magic is usually a sign of the aristocracy. The luxurious court is basically split into Hufflepuffs & Slytherins and it quickly becomes evident that something is amiss. Sylvie adopts the persona of Mirage and does what it takes to survive in her new world as she trains her powers. I don't want to get into anything else that would ruin the direction of the plot, but I'll say it's self-aware enough to avoid any cliche, expected directions. The end is strong and sets up the sequel to be pretty powerful! I absolutely LOVE Sylvie/Mirage's character so much... She's one of the strongest MCs I've seen in so long because the story lets her be flawed, entitled, hopeful, make so many mistakes, and visibly do her best while she changes... she's completely realistic. The plot covers so many ideas about changing the world that are incredibly relevant, but also shows how complex reality can be instead of overly simplifying anything. Basically, it never felt like the story was talking down to the reader or like I had to suspend reality to wedge myself into the MC's POV... so that was lovely. The worldbuilding, writing, & pacing are all amazing. (I do wish the story could have spent more time in some parts, but what's there still works just fine.) The world is wonderfully original with an actually fascinating myth about why the sun is stuck in the sky and never sets. The first few chapters get a TON of info across without it ever once feeling like a plot device, or info dump, or boring the reader. And the French-inspired court was gorgeous, but my absolute favorite place was... one that involves winter. It was everything I've ever wanted in a fictional setting and the sequel better spend 5 chapters describing every single snowflake pleaseandthankyou. Ok but for real the best part of this book is DRACO MALFOY Sunder, the super rich, cruel/misunderstood guy who sponsors Mirage. He's really pale with light blond hair, wears a lot of dark green & black, and... ok, I'm seeing how a good chunk of my enthusiasm for this book might rest on my love for Malfoy & winter. But it really is a fun read that never once got dull! And omg the writing. The writing is phenomenal. I really hope the next book is twice as long and gets way more into everything. (I'll def admit I was kind of underwhelmed with how quickly the plot bounced through everything and didn't really establish a deeper sense of some characters, relationships, & threats. But I think I was mostly just happy to actually be into a story that never lost my attention). Side note: I know some people are fed up with the cliche gay bff character who's sacrificed as a plot device to motivate the MC. I'm not sure that this falls into that area, but still wanted to add that heads up just in case. I really do think any fans of YA fantasy would love this, so check it out even if you aren't huge on the titles I compared it to (because that's just me picking the parts I like). Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Roshani Chokshi

    Full disclosure: Lyra is a dear friend of mine and also one of my brilliant critique partners. Which means that I was lucky enough to read this book in draft! It's outstanding. Lyra's characters are full of heart. Her setting (think sexier Versailles) brims with enchantment. The worldbuilding is literally drenched in beauty. And the ROMANCE. Y'all know that's what I'm here for 99% of the time. AHHHHHH. That is all I will say/can say >:) Cannot wait for this to hit shelvesssss

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nastassja

    “I will not sit idly by while the world changes around me. I don’t know whether my blood is a gift or a curse. And I don’t relish breaking the world in order to remake it the way I see it. But I will if I have to. Does that make me a monster?” Such moments make me wish I was a poet, so I could transcribe my feelings into a melody of words. Alas, I am not, and you are stuck with my numerous attempts to praise the book I loved and would want to shove up my every friend's face, so we would sing ser “I will not sit idly by while the world changes around me. I don’t know whether my blood is a gift or a curse. And I don’t relish breaking the world in order to remake it the way I see it. But I will if I have to. Does that make me a monster?” Such moments make me wish I was a poet, so I could transcribe my feelings into a melody of words. Alas, I am not, and you are stuck with my numerous attempts to praise the book I loved and would want to shove up my every friend's face, so we would sing serenades to the story together. As I said, wishes. So, how to describe Amber & Dusk? Amber & Dusk is a gift you never knew you needed in your life. Amber & Dusk is a song you hear passing by on the street and finding yourself following its words until the last note. Amber & Dusk is like a rich chocolate with a unique flavour you cannot put your finger on, but you desperately want to guess the ingredients. Dark, delicious, captivating and achingly beautiful in its honesty Amber & Dusk is perhaps the most unexpected surprise of the year for me. The book is telling a seemingly familiar story of an orphan girl Sylvie who lives in the cold lonely Dusklands but dreams of a better life. Her only companions are her gift of creating illusions and her belief that she is meant for more. So she packs her scant belongings and travels to a distant Amber city to become a part of the Empress's court and to find her legacy. To do so she will have to accept the help of her very cruel and cold sponsor Sunder, to find friendship, to face her past, and to claim her future. But not everything is at it seems in the court and some secrets a deadlier than the others. Sounds familiar? I am sure it does. I've seen many comparisons of this book to Red Queen, Selection, Shadow and Bone, and my personal favorite - The Cruel Prince. But all these stories are similar in one way or another. But what makes Amber & Dusk stand out in its own way? The Characters. The concept of strong feminist heroines is not new to young adult genre these days; almost every book has one. But more often than not, those heroines are strong and feminist in words not actions, or, sometimes, heroines are too brazen and powerful, making me wish they'd be more balanced so that I could sympathize with them, otherwise what is the point of a girl Terminator? I believe, strong but vulnerable, determined but uncertain, gentle but tough - the best type of heroines to connect with. And Sylvie/Mirage is exactly such a heroine. She knows what she wants from the beginning, she doesn't shy from admitting that power interests her: it's her birthright. She is honest in going after what she believes is hers. And maybe it makes her a monster in some way. Mirage admits she lacks education, she doesn't understand court intrigues, but she is eager to learn. She has a vision of her world and she is determined to make it true. One of the strongest heroines in YA. “You spoke of sunlight and ambric smiles, of dreaming vast, colorful dreams. That’s why I came here: to be part of that world. They named me Mirage, and that is what I am. Not a faint illusion that will quickly disappear, but a desire, and a promise, and a dream of something impossible. But only if I’m given the chance.” And then we have Cardan's twin brother Sunder. Do you feel the temperature rising in the room? No? Then read the book and you will feel it. What words can I find to describe Sunder? Seductive? Cruel? Charming? Smart? Deceitful? Broken? All of them seem fitting but in an undivided-from-each-one way. For example, if you could take all these words and blend them together, thus creating one single word that will combine all of them - that would be the word to describe Sunder. All his sides - bad and good - are indistinguishable from each other, creating a complex kaleidoscope of a person, who you cannot help but fall in love with. Yes, this is Sunder, my new book boyfriend. “I had finally forged the dristic bones of my own fortune in this pristine palais. I would not squander that on a man whose truths were laced with lies, whose face was a mask, whose price was power. He could only be a curse.” Sunder and his twin sister Bane are Suicide twins - this is how the court sees them. They can hurt you with their powers, but it doesn't make them monsters, though, I admit there were moments when I wanted to cry "Wolf" and run away from Sunder, so cruel he was (Cardan from The Cruel Prince seemed like a child compared to him). But there's reason for everything and you will have to read the book to find it out. “A wolf wasn’t cruel when she killed for her meal. A nighthawk wasn’t cruel when he ripped his talons through the still-warm body of a mouse. Winter wasn’t cruel when it blanketed the land in snow and stole the warmth from your bones. Sunder and Bane might be cold, but they weren’t cruel. They were merely as nature made them.” Secondary characters are no less complex and diverse. Special mentioning deserves Reaper, a friend of Mirage. He is the kindest and sympathetic person, who cares a lot about his friends and loved ones. He was a sunshine among clouds and I wanted to cuddle and protect that cinnamon roll from any harm coming his way (view spoiler)[ I find it unfair that Thibo dies in the book, looking like a best-gay-friend-dies cliche, though it added more darkness to the story and served like an incentive for the heroine to make an important decision. But I have that voice in my head whispering that Thibo deserved more than to be a plot device (hide spoiler)] . “We are all thieves here, Mirage,” Thibo breathed. “We steal a thousand scintillating moments of drinking and dancing and laughter and pretend that there will never be any cost for the choices we make. But the price of love is heartbreak. The price of pleasure is pain. And the price of power is always corruption.” The Romance. Uh-huh, you've got me, I wouldn't be half that excited about this book if not for the labyrinthine tangles of romantic liaisons. And Mirage with Sunder provided me with enough angst to pump the blood in my veins for weeks to come. I am a goner for hate/love relationships, and the harder characters troll each other, the hotter they make out after. Amber & Dusk has a special kind of slow-burn that makes you want to shad your skin off, so much it burns after every interaction between them. “So you don’t mind,” I managed, “if I’m a monster?” “No.” He rocked closer, and his closeness sent a thread of desire stitching up my spine. “Because I’m a monster too.” The World-building. Vast and rich mythology of the Dusk world, plump with legends and magic, and spiced with court intrigues and ruthless deeds. This is the world of Amber & Dusk. I love vicious political intrigues and dubious characters you think you can trust until you don't. Who plays who, who manipulates who, and how are they going to untangle themselves from that web? Oh, Sunder, my clever naughty boy, how many times have you played me into believing you. How many times had I found myself tricked and gasping because this-is-not-what-I-have-expected-damn-all-of-you was my normal reaction. Simply put, I was smiling like a cat who just caught a very appetizing mouse. Maybe I did. But nothing sweet is without a spoon of tar, and so Amber & Dusk is not ideal. I wish there was more depth to some aspects of the story, perhaps more pages in the book to make it more complex and full. I wish some characters had gotten more development, and some events were explained better. At times, world-building felt overwhelming, and I had found myself wondering the labyrinthine intricacies of the world, hard for grasping. But those are small things that in no way spoiled my comprehension of the story and its characters. Overall, Amber & Dusk is a story written in the most exquisite and richest way, making me fantasize about unreachable worlds on the brink of Dusk, full of illusions and magic. Lyra Selene masterly created a unique debut that will haunt my dreams with fantasies of something beautiful and terrifying for a long time to come. One of the favorite books of the year!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    DNF at 32% (page 118). The writing is periodically pretty, but the cookie-cutter protagonist and whisper-thin stakes aren't compelling enough to keep the pages turning.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rylee (Hermit Odysseus)

    For added gifs, you can also check out my review here! =) Preface: While I have some complaints about the heroine, I absolutely LOVED this book. Political scheming, a damaged antihero, and twists in the story combined to slingshot me through this novel. I’m officially willing to devour whatever this author will write next. The plot: The story is full of politics, scheming, and secrets, and an evil empress who uses her court as her own personal Mean Girls Coliseum. The people around Sylvie are misera For added gifs, you can also check out my review here! =) Preface: While I have some complaints about the heroine, I absolutely LOVED this book. Political scheming, a damaged antihero, and twists in the story combined to slingshot me through this novel. I’m officially willing to devour whatever this author will write next. The plot: The story is full of politics, scheming, and secrets, and an evil empress who uses her court as her own personal Mean Girls Coliseum. The people around Sylvie are miserable, but she’s like a cult victim, and completely naïve to how evil the Amber Empress is. Sylvie spends most of the story focused on cultivating her ability and confused about the drama unfolding around her.  Sylvie: the heroine? She’s ambitious, and oh so entitled. She’s not the most perceptive heroine either, as she just doesn’t get what’s going on around her. She wheedles her way into the palais so that she’ll be with other people like her, motivated to learn about her ability while being surrounded by luxury. She’s conveniently blind to the fact that her new place serving the Empress is basically a life of slavery. She’s like Katniss, but selfish — “I volunteer as tribute! But only because I belong with the other victors. You can dress me in Swarovski now! (But I’ll address the maids by their real names so you know I’m not evil.)”  The girl doesn’t notice that she’s willingly placed her head directly into the lion’s mouth. When reading the synopsis, I got the impression that Sylvie is astute, and trying to work out the mystery of the place she’s at. But she’s dense and doesn’t ask questions, admires the villain and distrusts the hero, and spends a good deal of time talking herself out of the truth. Multiple opportunities for improvement: She wants so badly to belong somewhere. But when she’s presented with that opportunity in the beginning, she gives it up in order to be with others like her in a life of privilege. A sense of belonging isn’t the only thing she’s after. She’s ambitious, and is resentful of her humble origins as a poor orphan. And she feels sorry for herself because of everything she’s been through, which is annoying. It really makes me question whether she’s truly heroine material. The girl has flaws up the wazoo.  And yet, as the story progresses, more of the typical OG heroine traits emerge. She gets angry at injustice and motivated to take action. She evolves, making her a much less annoying protag after some time investment. In fact, I actually began to like the things I initially complained about. She’s not Snow White, all purity and altruism. At first glance, she could even have what it takes to be a villain. But by the end, I was loving that she wasn’t your basic heroine mould. She’s got darkness to her. And she is indeed a heroine by the end, albeit a complex one. Sunder: either the antihero or the villain (place your bets!): Sunder enters the scene as an antagonist. He steps up to sponsor her, but in a way that it makes it seem like he’s rooting for her to fail. But still, he steps up and makes it possible for her to stay at the palais. He “saves the cat,” so to speak. “Saving the cat” refers to the mechanism used by writers of introducing a person as a protagonist. The hero shows himself as a hero by saving a cat from a tree, signifying that he’s a “good guy.” Sunder’s intro is very “save the cat”ish, and it had me doubting throughout the book whether he was a villain because I had that moment stuck in my head. He has several moments where his actions seem negative, but are they really? That game of villain vs antihero is played throughout the novel, and we do get our answer by the end. His personality: He’s dark, damaged, and wears a cloak of cockiness to mask his vulnerabilities. It’s an attractive recipe that’s been used frequently, but it works. Hence its frequent use. Our inner heroine wants to rescue him from himself, pat him on the head, and tell him he’s worthy. I love this character, and he ended up being my favorite one to follow. I cared more about his story than Sylvie’s. PS, the synopsis implies that Sunder isn’t forthcoming with answers, but he is when she finally starts asking.  Supporting characters: Luca — the best friend. Beautiful and clearly in love with Sylvie. He’s sunshine personified. Severine — the Amber Empress. The evil “it girl.” The end. Dowser — trains Sylvie how to use her ability. Secretive about his past and what he knows of Sylvie’s history. Father figure. Lullaby — reluctant ally of Sylvie. Trains her in etiquette. Damaged by her time in the Amber Empress’ court. Takeaways: There’s commentary on how trials throughout life and enduring pain can lead to strength and transcendence compared to living on Easy Street. Trials build character. To build something beautiful — a life, a society — loss is inevitable. The concept of breaking the world to create a new one makes an appearance. The theme of making your dreams into reality is central. The protag’s power is illusion, and it ties into displaying her dreams for others to see. Pitfalls: Elaboration on people’s abilities comes late. The whole time I’m wondering what exactly Reaper can do (ps, it’s not what I thought at all).  Maids are introduced in the beginning, seemingly set up as characters, but are forgotten after the intro. They’ve got names, personalities, and then whoosh, they’re gone. I mean, I didn’t really care about them, but when they resurface towards the end, it’s just a bit jarring. Tropes: Sylvie is basically the chosen one trope. Little orphan that’s destined for more.  There’s also a love triangle that’s not really a triangle but more of a misdirect. There’s really only one true love interest, though I can see Selene potentially employing another misdirect in the sequel with the other dude. Ultimately: It feels unfinished, so I can’t see this as a standalone. There are a couple cliffhangers. I don’t know where it’s heading, but I’m definitely in for the next one! It was a breeze to get through, and addicting enough that I ended up carrying it around with me on my errands for those spare seconds in between tasks when I could read a few sentences at a time. PS: a big thanks to Scholastic for sending me an ARC!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I LOVED all the machinations and court intrigue that drove the plot and kept me guessing. Sylvie is at once a cunning and ambitious character who is still somehow sympathetic and endearing. I absolutely couldn't get enough of the world origin story - the sun chasing the moon and Meridian getting caught up in the drama. It was captivating and really gave so much insight into motivations and games. The only thing I wished for was either 1. a second book or alternatively 2. an epilogue showing more d I LOVED all the machinations and court intrigue that drove the plot and kept me guessing. Sylvie is at once a cunning and ambitious character who is still somehow sympathetic and endearing. I absolutely couldn't get enough of the world origin story - the sun chasing the moon and Meridian getting caught up in the drama. It was captivating and really gave so much insight into motivations and games. The only thing I wished for was either 1. a second book or alternatively 2. an epilogue showing more detail for the ending. I think some loose strings were definitely left that I would love more clarity on. A fantastic new fantasy with romance, ambition and magic. ETA: A second book was just announced! YAY!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Wash

    Loved! So much happens and I'm dying for the next book. Sunder was an amazing character!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kris Brekker

    Sunder, Sunder, SUNDER. Sunder, who makes Cardan seem like a gentle, gentle, gentleee flower. Sunder, Sunder, SUNDER... oh, how I love thee.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christina (Ensconced in Lit)

    Amber and Dusk stars Sylvie, a poor orphan, who has been raised by very strict nuns. We are told from the outset that she has been bullied and tormented by others because she is different. She has special powers that she believes means that she is meant for greater things. The good: the prose is pretty good, especially for a debut. The magic and the world building is interesting. The not so great (and this may be a lot personal): I just didn't feel like it was any different from any other fantas Amber and Dusk stars Sylvie, a poor orphan, who has been raised by very strict nuns. We are told from the outset that she has been bullied and tormented by others because she is different. She has special powers that she believes means that she is meant for greater things. The good: the prose is pretty good, especially for a debut. The magic and the world building is interesting. The not so great (and this may be a lot personal): I just didn't feel like it was any different from any other fantasy I've read. Bad boy who ends up not being so bad. Another love interest who kind of turns out to be a jerk. An evil queen. A mentor who teaches her how to use her magic. Sylvie herself is grating because she really thinks that she is super amazing and is meant for riches and power, and she truly doesn't let anyone stand in her way of her "destiny." This makes her a pretty unlikeable character especially when she has been warned by many characters that pride comes before a downfall and she should not idealize the Amber kingdom. This book for this reasons was not really for me. There are others in the genre that are much better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scrill

    Thank you to Scholastic Press for sending me an ARC for review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andria Sedig

    This book was an amazing blend of magic and court politics that was full of action and intrigue and romance. The world building was well done and I literally could not put this book down. If you love books full of court politics AND magic this book would be for you! It also features LGBTQ+ characters whose sexual identity is not the only part of their character, which is a neat bit of representation in the fantasy world if that's what you're looking for as well! More thoughts to come.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    **You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net** Amber & Dusk is a young adult fantasy romance by author Lyra Selene. Amber & Dusk is a novel that features awesome secrets and intrigue, a really cool world setup, and characters that pull you in. Honestly, I loved pretty much everything about this novel. I really hope there is going to be a sequel. I wasn't sure by the ending of Amber & Dusk if there would be one or not. I think there is certainly room f **You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net** Amber & Dusk is a young adult fantasy romance by author Lyra Selene. Amber & Dusk is a novel that features awesome secrets and intrigue, a really cool world setup, and characters that pull you in. Honestly, I loved pretty much everything about this novel. I really hope there is going to be a sequel. I wasn't sure by the ending of Amber & Dusk if there would be one or not. I think there is certainly room for one. We had a few things that can be expanded on, and that were not completely wrapped up, so I am holding out for for another book. I need more! Lyra Selene did such a fantastic job with her characters and world building. This was a book that I just kept getting more and more excited about, the more I read it. It is a fantasy that I will be recommending to everyone as soon as it is released at the end of this month! You need to read Amber & Dusk! Yes, you! In Amber & Dusk we meet our heroine, Sylvie. Sylvie is an orphan that has magic, which in an of itself is strange because magic is normally a sign of the aristocracy. Sylvie leaves home to try and find a place where she belongs, and her adventure really grows from there. Once Sylvie gets to court, the book really kicks off. It was at this point that I could not put it down. I just kept on reading until I was done because I was so immersed in this world and the story. Lyra Selene's writing felt magical. It completely pulled me in and held on tight. The creation myth of the world was a particular favorite of mine. It deals with the moon and the sun, and it was really cool.  Sylvie is a great, strong yet flawed main character. She was really compelling for me to read about. I loved her. She is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was her flaws and stubbornness that made her seem more realistic to me. And the romance was awesome! I don't want to go into it too much, but let's just say I was a big fan! A big fan of it :)  Amber & Dusk does have some of the more typical fantasy elements in the story, wiht the secrets surrounding politics and court life, but Lyra Selene did a fantastic job making the story her own. Amber & Dusk managed to be a really unique read. It wasn't something I had seen done a ton. (However; take this with a bit of bias, because I am always down for a fantasy with some of the common tropes.. I just love it! It is a story set up that I can read over and over again and love it almost every time.)  Amber & Dusk had everything that I love to see in young adult fantasy romances, but it still managed to feel fresh and different. I loved this book, and I am keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that we will get a sequel! Please make a sequel Lyra!  This review was originally posted on Book Briefs

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Okay, I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much I did. The world building is fantastic! I love how the author doesn’t waste time in explaining all the new terminology (e.g. tides for years, spans for months) but leaves clues for readers to figure them out. Unlike most YA fantasy books that is heavy on world building, the author also doesn’t forsake character development in favor of a grand magic system. That is such an essential element to any unforgettable story! And every time I expec Okay, I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much I did. The world building is fantastic! I love how the author doesn’t waste time in explaining all the new terminology (e.g. tides for years, spans for months) but leaves clues for readers to figure them out. Unlike most YA fantasy books that is heavy on world building, the author also doesn’t forsake character development in favor of a grand magic system. That is such an essential element to any unforgettable story! And every time I expect the plot or characters to develop in similar ways that most YA fantasy books do and commit to certain YA tropes, they veer off to different directions that take me completely by surprise. While not a personal fan of Slyvie/Mirage, her character is incredibly intriguing to read about, and I love that she’s a morally flawed character—her actions driven by ambition and even a strong sense of self-entitlement. I can’t express how refreshing it is to have a protagonist like this grace a YA book! She’s neither entirely good nor bad, but simply human. I also really like Sunder and the way Mirage connects with him (and how they know how to push each other’s buttons and do so without a hint of remorse). All in all, a fantastic debut from Lyra Selene! I can’t wait for the sequel and looking forward to Selene’s future works!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emma (Miss Print)

    Sylvie has always known that she was destined for greater things. She is certain that her life as an orphan with the Sisters of Scion is only a small blip on her path to greatness. When she comes into her legacy--a magical talent that is believe to only belong to the upper class--Sylvie knows it's a sign. Sneaking onto a caravan Sylvie makes her way from the very edges of the Dusklands when the darkness of the Dominion constantly looms into the Amber City's palais Coeur d'Or at the heart of the A Sylvie has always known that she was destined for greater things. She is certain that her life as an orphan with the Sisters of Scion is only a small blip on her path to greatness. When she comes into her legacy--a magical talent that is believe to only belong to the upper class--Sylvie knows it's a sign. Sneaking onto a caravan Sylvie makes her way from the very edges of the Dusklands when the darkness of the Dominion constantly looms into the Amber City's palais Coeur d'Or at the heart of the Amber Empire. In this city where the sun never sets, Sylvie assumes that her magic to create illusions will be enough to earn her a place in the Empress' court. Instead Sylvie finds herself the center of a wager, the butt of a cruel joke, among the palais courtiers. Sponsored by an enigmatic noble called Sunder Sylvie must learn to control her legacy as she navigates the dangerous games within the palais. Under her new name, Mirage, she will have to fight to earn her place at the palais while deciding how much she is willing to lose in Amber & Dusk (2018) by Lyra Selene. Amber & Dusk is Selene's debut novel. Luxuriant descriptions underscore the complex world Selene has created where the sun never leaves the sky and the moon never rises. Complex magic and class systems add layers to this story, particularly once Sylvie arrives at a court reminiscent of Versailles. Sylvie is unapologetic about her ambitions and shrewdly pursues her imagined destiny despite numerous obstacles and warnings from other characters that the palais is not the paradise she might imagine. Reckless and sometimes ruthless, Sylvie throws herself into her new life as Mirage without fully considering the risks or consequences of her choices. While Sylvie/Mirage is a compelling if sometimes frustrating heroine, the rest of the cast is often one-dimensional by comparison. Mirage's sponsor Sunder--so named for his legacy's ability to cause pain--is as mysterious as he is problematic. Amber & Dusk is a seductive fantasy filled with magic and machinations in equal measure complete with an ending that will leave fans clamoring for a sequel. Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Stain by A. G. Howard, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian, And I Darken by Kiersten White

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lyra

    I wrote this book to be everything I want to read: Prose that tastes like sugared secrets. An impossible, intoxicating world--bright to look at but dark to behold. Ball gowns and courtly politics and sarcastic banter and hidden motives. A plot that fits together like broken mirror glass, sharp enough to cut. And a heroine with teeth. An ambitious, complicated, stubborn girl who dreams of an impossible world, glossy as the colors spilling like jewels from her fingertips. Oh, and kissing. LOTS of kis I wrote this book to be everything I want to read: Prose that tastes like sugared secrets. An impossible, intoxicating world--bright to look at but dark to behold. Ball gowns and courtly politics and sarcastic banter and hidden motives. A plot that fits together like broken mirror glass, sharp enough to cut. And a heroine with teeth. An ambitious, complicated, stubborn girl who dreams of an impossible world, glossy as the colors spilling like jewels from her fingertips. Oh, and kissing. LOTS of kissing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Interesting fantasy world, but just a little bit predictable. Before I get into my thoughts about the book, I have to say, I love this cover! It's so pleasing and I adore the font. I loved the idea of the powers/legacies in this book, it reminded me a little bit of the Darkest Minds. Slyvie is just a little bit entitled, which didn't exactly help her especially in her quest in this book. It's hard to root for a character who's been told several times to stop doing what she's doing. The world buildi Interesting fantasy world, but just a little bit predictable. Before I get into my thoughts about the book, I have to say, I love this cover! It's so pleasing and I adore the font. I loved the idea of the powers/legacies in this book, it reminded me a little bit of the Darkest Minds. Slyvie is just a little bit entitled, which didn't exactly help her especially in her quest in this book. It's hard to root for a character who's been told several times to stop doing what she's doing. The world building was good, but I would've liked just a little bit more on the background of how the Dusklands and Amber City came to be what they are. I was left just wanting a little bit more background on everything in general, Slyvie, the world she lives in, the Empress, and Slyvie's mentor. Overall, it was a fun enjoyable fantasy read. I'll definitely read the next book, if there is one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bookish_Opinions

    I really wanted to like this book. From the beginning I was drawn in by the unique descriptions and captivating imagery, it's clear this author is a very talented writer. (view spoiler)[ The book has LGBTQ+ representation which is a big draw for me (although it did feel a bit like a check in a box since it was essentially just one central character and his boyfriend). However, I quickly found the main character unsympathetic in her goals and the initial romance unbelievable. From there, the worl I really wanted to like this book. From the beginning I was drawn in by the unique descriptions and captivating imagery, it's clear this author is a very talented writer. (view spoiler)[ The book has LGBTQ+ representation which is a big draw for me (although it did feel a bit like a check in a box since it was essentially just one central character and his boyfriend). However, I quickly found the main character unsympathetic in her goals and the initial romance unbelievable. From there, the world building was intriguing but arbitrary, the whole concept of the missing moon and the dying sun didn't seem to have any real impact on the story and could have just as easily been left out. Much of the fantasy lingo also seemed random, gardens are jardins and guards are gardes but there doesn't seem to be any real difference between them, while other things kept the names we use for them. I really enjoyed Sunder as a character up until the point when he became the romantic interest. He was nuanced and complicated but I just don't believe him falling for Sylvie. The political intrigue that is introduced is entirely sidelined by the protagonists self-interests, and so much mythology and magical lore was set up only to remain unexplained. There is so much potential in this story, and I honestly eagerly await what this author might come out with next. I personally would just hope to see that same strong descriptive writing with more nuanced characters like Sunder, more development of characters and relationships to make them believable, and world building elements having a real impact on the characters' day to day lives. (hide spoiler)] For me, this story had a lot of promise but ultimately did not deliver.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wilde

    This book bored me to tears. Literally. And the MC is a TSTL selfish bitch of the highest order. She thinks she deserves everything because she can make illusions. It's her birth right, you see. People should just accept/respect her dusty ass because she's a poor man's "8" from Stranger Things. Um, no. Respect is earned. Not given, you entitield, egotistical gamine. She leaves good people--even a sweet love interest--just go to the Amber City where everything is not all silks, champagne, magic, This book bored me to tears. Literally. And the MC is a TSTL selfish bitch of the highest order. She thinks she deserves everything because she can make illusions. It's her birth right, you see. People should just accept/respect her dusty ass because she's a poor man's "8" from Stranger Things. Um, no. Respect is earned. Not given, you entitield, egotistical gamine. She leaves good people--even a sweet love interest--just go to the Amber City where everything is not all silks, champagne, magic, and jewels. There's evil and sadness within the city's amber walls, but this heifer doesn't care. She has magic, and those other kind and humble Dusklanders are beneath her. This girl is humiliated, bullied, and talked down to by the very people she wants to belong with almost ALL the time. This bitch is selfish, absolutely SELFISH. She sees her companions aren't happy--terrified, actually--at the court, so much that they are willing to risk their lives to escape/leave. But our MC denies what she sees, because, "it's my birthright so I belong here." Another LI--because what is YA with out it's all powerful Love Polygons--shows her what the empress does to the other courtiers, it doesn't phase her at all. Not once does she think, "Oh crap. This crazy empress bitch is going to do this to me, too. Whelp, time to bounce. Dueces!" Nope. This cow thinks the guy is trying to thwart her plans at be a courtier, when he's actually trying to get her to understand how shitty the Amber Court really is. And gosh she is stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I caught on to shit from pervious chapters before this heifer could. The second LI even explains something that happened in the past that pertains to the empress and the MC but instead of putting 2 & 2 together like I did, this troglodyte needs someone to tell her she why she's so "special." Ugh. The writing is good, flowery and vivid with lush descriptions. I'll give the author that, but this just didn't work for me. I love flawed characters, but the author failed in making her MC sympathetic.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Not feeling this right now...may pick it back up later

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kiki

    *3.5 stars* for me, and probably *4 stars* to people who like overly lyrical writing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Petrichorus

    I don't know why I bothered. The main character is unlikable. The love interests are mildly unlikable. The writing is bogged down with metaphors that aren't necessary.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren the Book Slayer

    Here’s what I thought about Amber & Dusk: The world was new and consuming. I devoured every new detail! I especially loved it’s creation myth because it was original and fascinating. The progression of the story was spot on. This book was a quick read, but didn’t lack in detail. Even though the romance burned slower than I would have liked, I was glad that Slyvie/Mirage and her love interest *no spoiler here* didn’t succumb to insta-love. There was a lot of sarcastic, an at times, insulting ve Here’s what I thought about Amber & Dusk: The world was new and consuming. I devoured every new detail! I especially loved it’s creation myth because it was original and fascinating. The progression of the story was spot on. This book was a quick read, but didn’t lack in detail. Even though the romance burned slower than I would have liked, I was glad that Slyvie/Mirage and her love interest *no spoiler here* didn’t succumb to insta-love. There was a lot of sarcastic, an at times, insulting verbal sparring between the two, which made their chemistry white hot. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why I only gave this book 3.5 stars when everything I’ve said so far has been positive, well it’s because I couldn’t stand Sylvie. She was entitled, shallow, selfish and ignorant. I felt sorry for her because she was abandoned as a child, abused by this book’s version of nuns, and made fun of by the local children, all because of her magical ability. Did she deserve a better childhood, one filled with love and kindness? Yes! But she thought she deserved even more than that. She believed that she was entitled to riches, prestige, and power, just because she had a magical ability known as a legacy. She didn’t think that she had to work or prove herself, because her bloodline automatically made her a chosen one. She was also very dense. Multiple times she was told, and shown how horrible the royal court could be, the poisonous people and their cruel games, yet she was still dead set on joining. All she talked about was the beautiful gowns, gardens, and people. I kept hoping she’d outgrow her unsavory personality, but it never really happened.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Story Eater

    ***Can't wait to get my hands on this. Any interested in getting their hands on it earlier than 27 November can order through a Scholastic book club online.*** Meanwhile, after reading... I bought this book from a Scholastic book club sale before it hit regular shelves. I’m sorry I spent money on it. To start, it is a bit unbalanced. It takes 52 pages for Sylvie, our MC, to get to the Amber palais but only 28 pages for the climax to begin and end. For a pretty huge lead up to a supposedly huge sho ***Can't wait to get my hands on this. Any interested in getting their hands on it earlier than 27 November can order through a Scholastic book club online.*** Meanwhile, after reading... I bought this book from a Scholastic book club sale before it hit regular shelves. I’m sorry I spent money on it. To start, it is a bit unbalanced. It takes 52 pages for Sylvie, our MC, to get to the Amber palais but only 28 pages for the climax to begin and end. For a pretty huge lead up to a supposedly huge showdown, that’s a bit of a letdown. On the surface, Sylvie reads like a version of Rey with her desert surroundings and abandonment issues. She finds her way to the Amber palais in a caravan headed up by an ore miner and transporter when the Imperial Guard descends on the whole group demanding to know if there are any refugees among them (because refugees are illegal and unwelcome in the kingdom). The whole scene plays out like a bad stereotype that made me want to quit reading. I can’t stand stereotypes of any kind, and the scene with this one in it was too political for my taste. I didn’t like the writing, and the story had too many 2018-style political digs for my taste (any mention of modern political anything in a fictional fantasy tale puts me off of a story immediately). For a court intrigue, it didn’t really feel like the MC had teeth so much as she was teething because of all the whining and complaining she did throughout the book about her entitlement to be in the court her inability to quickly adapt to court mannerisms and customs. Lots of complaining and simpering. Also, I noticed quite a few similarities to other characters and parts of movies or stories that randomly came to my head when I read certain parts. Some of them would give away big plot points, so alas, I will not mention them. But one rather funny example would be the caravan storyteller’s tale at the beginning felt like the scene from Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure when Tink learns where to get another moonstone. The fairy storytellers and their pixie dust cinema came to mind immediately. For all the things I did not like about it, there were some parts that had redeemable qualities. Just none that outshine what made it such a chore to read. I hate it, too-I read the synopsis and got really excited about it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    I was entranced by Sylvie. She is a magical orphan who travels to the city to try to find her legacy, to be among people who understand her - who don't lock her in the darkness - and to find the answers to all her unanswered questions. But what Sylvie doesn't know, is that she is just one small piece in a much larger story, in a court full of thinly veiled punishments, and in a world of unrest. Sylvie is thrown headfirst into the action, into her quest to prove herself, and take control of the d I was entranced by Sylvie. She is a magical orphan who travels to the city to try to find her legacy, to be among people who understand her - who don't lock her in the darkness - and to find the answers to all her unanswered questions. But what Sylvie doesn't know, is that she is just one small piece in a much larger story, in a court full of thinly veiled punishments, and in a world of unrest. Sylvie is thrown headfirst into the action, into her quest to prove herself, and take control of the destiny she always believed she deserved. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Marquart

    The worst part about ARCs is that you have to wait even longer for the second book (if there is one??). The writing is so fantastic I was immediately drawn into this wonderfully complex world that Selene has created, and was never taken out! I loved how the story weaved in it's own mythology and used it in the story. The plot was well developed, fast paced, and kept me guessing! I really enjoyed this book. I hope there is a second one, but if not, I do like how it ended and keeps you guessing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Athena

    Sylvie, a girl with the power of illusion, knows that she is destined for greater things then that of the slow life in the Dusk lands. So she sets out for the Amber city, and gets wrapped in the power and royal intrigue of The Amber Empress and her legacies. But it is more than she bargained for, and the Amber Empress and her legacies have more to them than meets the eye. Beautiful! The writing, the world, and of course, the Palais. This is more like four and a half stars. The writing has descrip Sylvie, a girl with the power of illusion, knows that she is destined for greater things then that of the slow life in the Dusk lands. So she sets out for the Amber city, and gets wrapped in the power and royal intrigue of The Amber Empress and her legacies. But it is more than she bargained for, and the Amber Empress and her legacies have more to them than meets the eye. Beautiful! The writing, the world, and of course, the Palais. This is more like four and a half stars. The writing has descriptions dolled up in silk, and is whimsical( in a good way.) I loved the setting, and the thought put into the world building. The characters were good too, especially Sunder. I love it when characters aren't all black and white. I look forward to reading future novels in the ( presumed to be) series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stacie Boren

    Thank you to #kidlitexchange for sharing the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Amber Dusk by Lyra Selene. This YA read is full of fantasy, magic and adventure all buildt in a very beautifully described world! Sylvie has always wanted more than just her regular life in the Dustland, so she and her gift (maybe a curse) of illusion set off to find her future. Only something or someone has other plans for her and it is wicked. A star crossed love story tied into a suspenseful Thank you to #kidlitexchange for sharing the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Amber Dusk by Lyra Selene. This YA read is full of fantasy, magic and adventure all buildt in a very beautifully described world! Sylvie has always wanted more than just her regular life in the Dustland, so she and her gift (maybe a curse) of illusion set off to find her future. Only something or someone has other plans for her and it is wicked. A star crossed love story tied into a suspenseful adventure. This is a must read for YA Fantasy readers. Review also posted on Instagram @borenbooks, Library Thing, Go Read, Goodreads/StacieBoren, Amazon, Twitter @jason_stacie and my blog at readsbystacie.com

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie (A Backwards Story)

    "Perhaps you want to show the world something only you can see. Something lovely and strange, and just a little bit monstrous." ~Sunder, AMBER & DUSK Did you miss my recent blog tour stop? Read an excerpt from the first chapter of AMBER AND DUSK now! Looking for a debut YA fantasy novel that remains its own world even while containing some of your favorite tropes? The closest comparisons I have for you are A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J Maas (In particular, that time spent Under the Mou "Perhaps you want to show the world something only you can see. Something lovely and strange, and just a little bit monstrous." ~Sunder, AMBER & DUSK Did you miss my recent blog tour stop? Read an excerpt from the first chapter of AMBER AND DUSK now! Looking for a debut YA fantasy novel that remains its own world even while containing some of your favorite tropes? The closest comparisons I have for you are A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J Maas (In particular, that time spent Under the Mountain and never knowing whether or not you could trust Rhys, FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao (The ambition to rise higher than one's station! The question of if one is a hero or a villain!), THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu (Again, a hero or a villain? Mixed in with the ability to weave illusions!), and THE RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard (The power, the politics, the court!). If you loved those worlds, AMBER & DUSK is going to be your next favorite read. Sylvie has always lived a hard life. Despite the fact that she is a Legacy, she lives far from the Coeur d'Or, on the edge of the Dusklands. She steals away from the Sisters of the Scion that raised her and travels to court, determined to seize the greatness she was destined to wield. Court, however, is not all that Sylvie expected it to be. The Empress loves games, and puts a wager on Sylvie's head: Will she be able to control her Legacy and wield her magic with the help of a sponsor? And what happens when the sponsor who steps up is cruel and calculating? He's betting she'll lose, and sponsors her in the name of his greatest rival so that they'll take the fall when she fails. But Sylvie is determined to succeed as she steps into her new role, complete with a new name: Mirage. Sylvie has a lot of ambition. At one point, she is referred to as "You're ambitious. You're arrogant. Perhaps even a little cruel. Whatever gave you the idea that you were owed so much, when you offer so little?" (page 110, ARC edition) It echoed sentiments I felt at times myself. Despite growing up low-born, Sylvie truly believes she deserves greatness. She believes her parents must have been highborn, even though she could have a Legacy with a lower status in life as well. She believes there is a lot owed to her. Despite the cruelties of court life, she knows she belongs there and wants everything the other Legacies have. In that sense, she isn't always easy to root for, and sometimes reminds me of Xifeng from FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao. While she has the potential to become a villain herself, I feel that the rest of the series will explore her flaws. There is good in her, and its likelier that she will be a villain, but that the steel at her core will save her from being eaten alive in the world she has chosen. Another interesting character to analyze is Sunder. He reminds me SO much of Rhy from A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES and part of A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas. For those who haven't read the series and want to remain spoiler-free, I will say that Rhys is a very complex, calculating character. He is playing a long, complicated game and Feyre doesn't quite trust him. As a reader, and perhaps because he reminded me so much of Rhys, I wondered about Sunder. Is he a horrible villain that will oppose Sylvie later on? Can she trust him because he's secretly good? Is my internal comparison to Rhys coloring my expectation for Sunder and he's none of the above? Sunder intrigued me as a character, and I really wanted to learn more about him and his role in the story. I really liked the original mythology woven into the world and hope it is somehow more than a myth and will play a more significant part in the series because it was just so interesting, you know? I also liked the worldbuilding and the magic system. It wasn't exactly the same thing we always see in YA fantasy. I also enjoyed the French influence, which enhanced the world and gave it a different feel. Some of the magic built scenes full of wonder and awe, resulting in places I'd like to visit within a court I'd otherwise like to stay far away from. While it wasn't a breakout, blow me away fantasy, it was enjoyable and I'll definitely be picking up the sequel. It has tropes that I've enjoyed in other books, a unique world I'd like to explore further, and complex characters that will keep me on my toes waiting to discover their endgame.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth ~~Just One More Chapter I Swear~~

    ~~~~ just shy of 4 Stars ~~~~ This book...oh this book... this was a mixed bag of emotions for me. If you have ever read any of my more verbally flamboyant reviews you'd know of my devout love affair with lyrically verbose literary musings. This type of author usually has me waxing poetic (or trying to). Amber & Dusk was undeniably picturesque! It was eloquent in ways I am not and the writing was equal parts delicious... and...well... loquacious. The Character and World developments were both ~~~~ just shy of 4 Stars ~~~~ This book...oh this book... this was a mixed bag of emotions for me. If you have ever read any of my more verbally flamboyant reviews you'd know of my devout love affair with lyrically verbose literary musings. This type of author usually has me waxing poetic (or trying to). Amber & Dusk was undeniably picturesque! It was eloquent in ways I am not and the writing was equal parts delicious... and...well... loquacious. The Character and World developments were both beautifully crafted. The scene depictions were resplendent but I often found myself outside of/apart from/not one with the characters or any of their plights. Instead of being immersed in the "what the heck is happening and what's going to happen next?", I was more in the arena of "who cares who's doing what to whom? Look how sparkly and pretty this sentence is!" Scenes were lost in the grandeur of the description proving the sentiment that sometimes more is just...well. At times the tone flip flopped between robust imagery and mottled mess and when that happened I found myself unceremoniously booted right out of the flow...not cool! Even I believe there's no sane reason to use 2 overtly saccharine sentences to describe a rock BUT somewhere along the way, around the two thirds mark, I found myself absorbed. I finally started rooting for/against characters and worried over their wellbeing. Progress!!! I guess I love the bad boys though because Sunder was the first character to resonate with me and I loved him from his very first appearance. Now Mirage, on the other hand, I was on the fence about her. She longed for a place to belong, to fit in, and the first time she was offered a life of acceptance, Family and Love she refused it without even a spare thought. This rang false with me. She had no idea what her fate/future held instore for her yet she flatly rejected an offer of total wish fulfillment?? NO way!! That's B.S.!!! I call Shenanigans!!! ::: Deep Yogi breath :::in::: :::out::: and I'm back Anyway, imho, the most interesting part of the book was the spectrum of Legacies and the backstories telling how and why they manifested in the ways they did. It was exciting to suss out, especially with respect to the Empress. All information about her abilities/vulnerabilities (or lack there of) was withheld from both characters and reader alike. Now back to Sunder... it has been a few minutes, at least here in my head, and I believe you should know a bit more about him and the burgeoning romance (or two) in the story. Don't worry, they were present but SUPER tame. The main one was EXTREMELY slow to brew and seemed like a tiny drip blip on the action-meter. This, of course, was frustrating... BUT... at the end there was a tiny flicker of hope in my heart, that I am currently stoking feverishly, wishing redemption, acceptance and most importantly HEAT in future books...fingers crossed! Sunder, you are a tortured soul but you have yummy, hidden, secret, noble ideals and intentions that I can't get enough of...I'll Love You if Sylvie/Rina/Mirage won't (and even if she will)!! The showdown at the end brought the anticipation to a crescendo even though it was wildly unsatisfying and ended in more of a limping whimper than a resounding bang. SO, did I fall hopelessly in love with Amber & Dusk? No BUT by the end I did fall in strong like with it and I will definitely look out for the next book in the series. ~Enjoy!

  30. 5 out of 5

    B.

    I first found out about this book through an Instagram story by Roshani Chokshi, who was a critique partner for the book. I’m so happy that I took her suggestion to read is, because this is definitely going to make it onto my top 15 books of the year. In summary, the book follows a young girl from the far reaches of the kingdom. She possesses a power that only those in the kingdoms royal court should have, but instead of being viewed as holy, she is feared and outcast by the close minded people I first found out about this book through an Instagram story by Roshani Chokshi, who was a critique partner for the book. I’m so happy that I took her suggestion to read is, because this is definitely going to make it onto my top 15 books of the year. In summary, the book follows a young girl from the far reaches of the kingdom. She possesses a power that only those in the kingdoms royal court should have, but instead of being viewed as holy, she is feared and outcast by the close minded people where she was raised. She journeys to the capital in hopes of joining the Queens royal court and finding a place where she will be renowned -not scorned- for her gifts. But the court is not the home she was expecting. Instead, she must navigate the intrigue and power games of power hungry courtiers, all the while trying to discover a mystery that has been lurking the halls of the court. Overall, I loved the writing of this story! It was so lyrical, and I felt swept away by both the story and it’s telling. I also loved the characters, especially Mirage, the main character. She was so ambitious and strong, and I could relate to some parts of her personality. It made for a transcending read. (I also really loved the love interest even though I really also want to hate him.) I normally don’t like comparing books, but I feel like if you loved the Cruel Prince by Holly Black and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, you will love this book too. While I was reading it, I felt like I did when I fell in love with the two books mentioned above. Amber and dusk was fast paced, mysterious, and magical. I loved the lore in the story, and the world building was really on point. There are a few things that knocked this down from a five star to a four star read. The first is that there were a lot of cliche story points woven in. I don’t want to spoil them for you, but a few things have been really overdone in YA fantasy. There were a few that the book could have done without, and it was sad to have several of these overdone tropes in a book that was otherwise very uniquely written. The other thing I didn’t appreciate was that the romance was captivating and kept me on my toes… until all of the sudden it was kind of shut down. I wanted it work, and I understand dissolving a romance if it furthers the plot, but I feel like this was done so abruptly. This being said, I hate cliches and will almost always rate lowly or not finish books with even a couple in them these days. However, the rest of the book made up for the tropes included in this book. Aside from these things, this really was just such a good book. I had read a couple chapters when I first received the book, but then finished the rest in one sitting a few days later. It kept me turning pages far into the night, and I was constantly torn between wanting to know the end, and not wanting the story to stop. This book is one I’ve been waiting for for a while now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when it hits the shelves next month! Please be sure to preorder a copy ASAP and support the author!

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