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Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Meyer: A Book Review

Last Song Before Night
Author: Ilana C. Meyer
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Pages: 416
Source: This book was given to me by Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: A high fantasy following a young woman's defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world's lost magic in Ilana C. Myer's Last Song Before Night.

     Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

     On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar's connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

     The Red Death's return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

     My Review: Once in the land of Eivar, there was magic everywhere. Poets could use enchantments through their music and songs. However, it all changed when  people conducted dark experiments that consisted of blood divination and unleashed a harsh plague. Soon Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld, which was the source of the magic, was broken. Lin, a female musician and poet, where women are forbidden to these arts, embarks with several others on a quest to reopen the Otherworld to bring magic back to the land. Little does she know that this perilous quest will change her land forever.

     While this story is told from a variety of characters, the central character in this story is Lin. She disguises herself as a boy, though everyone recognizes her immediately upon seeing her as a girl. She competes in a contest at the capital of Tamyrlin, where she sings and plays her harp. Eventually she voluntarily accompanies Darien, another poet, on a quest to accompany the underworld.

      It is through their journey that reveals the pieces of Lin’s past. Even though she is the daughter of one of Eivar’s wealthiest families, she has a cruel past. She is actually in hiding and trying to conceal her identity from her cruel brother. Lin is a sympathetic character. Yet, she is also a very strong character. She is very selfless and does not think of herself. She is also an emotionally distraught character. She is very vulnerable and is also distant from other characters. Slowly, she does open herself up to a few of them.

     Overall, this book is about friendship, sacrifice, redemption, choices, love, and acceptance. It is a quest about a woman finding her identity. The message of the book is to live your life to the fullest. While the story is slow-paced and the quest starts halfway into the book, I found it a great character-driven story. I loved all the characters, including the villains for they were very complex and interesting. I also loved how the women in this book were strong and formidable. The world of Eivar is well-developed and very enchanting. Last Song Before Night is haunting, lyrical, and poetic. I look forward to the sequel so that I can enter the world of Eivar again. I recommend this to anyone who loves high epic fantasy, music and poetry, and strong female characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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