Book: “Into the Dying Light” by Katy Rose Pool
Publishing Info: Henry Holt and Co., September 2021
Where Did I Get this Book: Edelweiss+
Book Description: Following the destruction of the City of Mercy, an ancient god has been resurrected and sealed inside Beru’s body. Both are at the mercy of the Prophet Pallas, who wields the god’s powers to subjugate the Six Prophetic Cities. But every day, the god grows stronger, threatening to break free and sow untold destruction.
Meanwhile, far away from Pallas Athos, Anton learns to harness his full powers as a Prophet. Armed with the truth about how the original Prophets killed the god, Anton leads Jude, Hassan, and Ephyra on a desperate quest to the edge of the world. With time running out, the group’s tenuous alliance is beset by mounting danger, tumultuous romance, and most of all by a secret that Anton is hiding: a way to destroy the god at the price of an unbearable sacrifice. But the cost of keeping that secret might be their lives—and the lives of everyone in the Six Prophetic Cities.
Review: This has been a hugely popular series over the last year or so. While I didn’t actively dislike either of the books, I also could never quite figure out what the big deal was. Mostly, my inability to strongly connect to the characters is what held me back, an extremely subjective experience if there ever was one. But I did enjoy the second book more than the first, so I was happy enough to go into this, the final book in the trilogy.
Things are coming to a head. With a powerful god contained within her, Beru’s future is tenuous and fraught with danger, as she and the god can be wielded to terrible effect. For their part, the others are on a quest of their own, eager to find a way to hold their fraying world together. Anton, alone, knows what this same hard-fought success might cost them. But trials await in every form, both the physical challenges set before them and the emotional bonds that build, fray, and tighten between them all.
So, very like the second book, I did end up enjoying this book more than the first. I think most of it comes down to the characters I found myself most drawn to in the first book. For me, Hassan’s story was always fairly dull, and I didn’t connect very strongly to his storyline or character. So the first book, which featured him heavily, worked less well for me. But in these last two, he largely drifted into the background. Perhaps even more so in this book than in the second.
For the second part, there were characters who were barely introduced in the first book that I found in reading the second, and now the third, were a few of my favorites. Beru, for one, had very few chapters in that first book, but she’s always been a favorite of mine, so I enjoyed these last two books more for seeing more from her. Here, her story very much comes to the front. Containing a powerful god will do that for a character arc! I found her entire storyline over the three books to be very satisfying, and the resolution to her story was appropriately profound.
I also liked the romances that developed. Jude and Anton have been fairly precious since they were first hinted at as a pair in the end of the first book. But I admit, I’ve been more invested in the enemies-to-lover romance that develops between Ephyra and Illya. As Illya is only really introduced in book two and quickly joined Ephyra as one of my favorite characters, it only goes to show that these last two books had more of what I was looking for. I liked how both of these characters truly operate in shades of grey (sometimes outright black!). Many authors talk a decent game about writing morally grey characters or anti-heroes, but then when it comes down to it, any/all bad stuff is either off page or completely justified (like self defense, etc.) I appreciated that true darkness that was explored in both of these characters.
Overall, the trilogy definitely ended on a higher note than it started, and I’m glad I stuck it through until the end. Fans of the trilogy will surely be pleased, and if anyone’s been lukewarm on it so far, I still think this is a satisfying conclusion.
Rating 8: A trilogy that got better as it went along, I was happy to finish this one off on a high note.
“Into the Dying Light” is on this Goodreads list: 2021 YA Books with LGBT Themes.
Find “Into the Dying Light” at your library using WorldCat!