Chaos Queen - Duskfall (The Chaos Queen Quintet) by Christopher B Husberg
|Chaos Queen - Duskfall (The Chaos Queen Quintet) by Christopher B Husberg
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson
|Summary: The first of an epic fantasy quintet from an author who doesn't realise that first in series books are generally slow. It's a great ride of an easy read packed with excitement while beneath the surface there lurks a deeper darkness of purpose.
|Date: June 2016
|Publisher: Titan Books
|External links: Author's website
Winter and Knot's wedding is a brave move and not just because Winter is a Tiellan. Knot was brought back to life after nearly drowning the year before, a fate that removed his memory. All he knows is that there are people chasing him and when Knot's angry… you just don't want Knot to get angry. Meanwhile Cinzia is a devout priestess with a problem: her beloved sister is leading a religious revolt. Neither woman will come out of this the same. Cinzia will need to think about her life afresh while Winter… Let's just say big changes lie ahead.
I must admit my heart sank a little when I read that American author Christopher B Husberg received an honorary PhD in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wondered, almost sniffily, what sort of fantasy does someone who is an expert in Buffy studies write? Within 15 minutes I knew the answer: absorbing and totally unputdownable.
The first thing we notice is that this is an exciting adventure rather than a memory test. Christopher only brings new characters in when the existing ones are firmly fixed in our minds' eyes. Then he goes on to ensure that, once fixed, we aren't going to forget them, allowing the story to envelop us without distraction.
Talking about memorable, Winter and Knot, for instance, have a wedding they'll never forget, but there are huge gaps in Knot's recollection. Considering there are some peculiar people who seem to want him, and in a brutal rather than loving way, he'd best fill the gaps in fast. Winter, on the other hand, is a lass that comes to us fully formed with a degree of self-awareness and yet she's in for a few shocks too!
These along with the Priestess Cinzia, her heretical sister Jane and Winter's friend Lian are people we come to care about in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Even little 9-year-old Astrid has hidden depths and the ability to make us paranoid.
Like many a great fantasy, this is also a world of supernatural powers. Psimancy abounds among those blessed with it; telenics can move items with their minds and acumens can delve into others' psyches in order to discern emotions and learn secrets. A rather useful skill to have if you're part of an inquisition that out-nasties our historical Inquisition. Commoners can do it too, although some require a drug to unleash their potential… and that's where the problems can really begin.
This is a speeding horse of a good read that will appeal to those of us who already love the likes of George R R Martin and Michael J Sullivan. In the same vein as these authors, Christopher touches on modern dilemmas including xenophobia and religion to name but two. (Speaking of religion, I loved the subtle, swift nod towards the religion that gave the author's adopted home state of Utah its kick-start. Don't blink or you'll miss it!)
Christopher has also been clever in other ways. For instance Duskfall is billed as a story about 'daemons' and it is, but not just physical 'daemonic' beings. It's as much about inner daemons since our new friends – and others – come to terms with who they are, who they should be and how others see them.
The second book of the quintet Dark Immolation is due out in June 2017. That gives Duskfall a year to get around and take off. Personally, I don't it will need that long.
(Thank you so much to the folk at Titan for providing us with a copy for review.)
You can read more book reviews or buy Chaos Queen - Duskfall (The Chaos Queen Quintet) by Christopher B Husberg at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chaos Queen - Duskfall (The Chaos Queen Quintet) by Christopher B Husberg at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.