Author: Melissa Giorgio
Date of Publication: 19th July 2015
This was an ARC provided by Netgalley. Thank you to Melissa Giorgio for the opportunity to read and review.
What drew me in was the concept – magic and murder mysteries are always going to be YA staples, but the idea of the magic being that of a street magician, as opposed to your more typical fantasy fare, piqued my interest.
However it turns out there’s very little in the way of street magic here. The Fading Dusk is a traditional YA fantasy; capturing a little magic, and a whole lot of romance. I hate love triangles with a passion, but was quite glad to see that the one here was more limp than lustful. Aden, the third point of our triangle, was barely part of the equation. Thankfully it was the grumpy Captain Leonid that pulled most of the romantic interest; thankfully because he was probably the most fully realised character. My favourite moments inevitably happened when Irina (our protagonist) and Leonid were together. I felt like Melissa Giorgio had a real feel for their interactions; a lot of them were effortless and definitely the best written.
The plot which had intrigued me unfortunately didn’t deliver. The first half of the book raced by at a frenzied pace, barely stopping for breath. Once I reached the halfway point, the book seemed to settle down – however there were still glaring issues (characters not putting together painfully obvious dots – literally and figuratively – being one of them) and as a reader I was left feeling that the seemingly bright characters were being uncharacteristically dim witted. For what reason, I couldn’t say, but it was only one aspect of a number of occasions in which characters appeared to lose themselves in order to forward the plot. I think in future books I would like to see Giorgio develop consistency as a writer, as it was the main think I found lacking.
The villain was an interesting choice; one I actually really enjoyed. However I wish that a little more time was spent developing them and their reasoning for their actions. Their identity didn’t come as a surprise, but I did feel satisfied that their identity made sense and was impactful to the overall story arc.
Overall, this is a fun, quick read – but if you look too hard it will fall apart. If this were a magic trick, I don’t know if Giorgio would be able to successfully pick my card. However there are good foundations and, with time, I think Melissa Giorgio will develop into a fine YA fantasy author.