34953386Once known as the City on the Hill and revered far and wide for its independence and boundless opportunity, Cestia has become home only to the damned. Surviving under the brutal occupation of a southern empire for three long years, the oppressed populace has lost hope of liberation, turning instead towards an increasingly desperate rebellion willing to commit any atrocity for a chance at freedom.

As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Author ebook 288 indie Fantasy May 26th, 2017

I first found out about this book over at Drew’s spaceΒ (you all know Drew at this stage, hence no grand introduction to the sarcastic gentleman) via author’s guest post. I then posted a character spotlight here a few days back. Those two insights into Light Dawning were enough to decide that I simply wanted to read the book. There was a promise of dark fantasy with elements of horror and a squeeze of grimdark and that promise was delivered on. There was also a promise of spreading feelings of sadness, hopelessness and the fact that the good guys don’t always win. That box was ticked as well.

The four main characters in the novel are Myrr, Tala, Father Erret and Casterly. They are all within the walls of Cestia which is under occupation and where any rebels will be dealt with in the most horrid ways. Whether a Knight sent by the Empress, a rebel fighting to get their city back or even a religious man trying to guide his flock towards light, it matters not because there are bigger powers at play which care non for the bloody games that humans play. Everyone is a pawn but they just don’t realize it yet.

The opening of the book sets up the sorry and sombre state of the city and its suffering inhabitants and it truly is grim, hopeless. It is in fact so crap for most that death would be a relief! Quite early on, I started wondering what would be the catalyst which breaks a crack into the whole darkness, to bring about hope, a new fresh start… but true to his word, Ty Author does not let up. You’re in it for the long bloody ride with no escape!

Light Dawning is not about magical, sparkling fantasy worlds. It’s not even about fire-breathing dragons. It’s focus is more on the state of Cestia and how our four main characters battle within themselves and with external elements to live another day. Should they even live another day? But from early on, there is a sense of something bigger being at play (as I mentioned earlier) and at first its description is vague… ‘the thing’ is being mentioned. Slowly but surely, ‘the thing’, birthed by darkness and light, is unraveled and revealed, even though I am still not sure it is just a thing. It’s more of a universal state of somethingness, or nothingness, that through finding a host powers towards its own goal.

Father Erret with his schematics was probably the main, shall I say, perpetrator and cause for most of those unexpected twists and turns by trying to make the fate work his way, through his vision and beliefs. Tala and Myrr find each other to be fighting similar internal demons and as such become close to act as moral support to one another through understanding. Casterly was a great example of what can happened to a man when they reach the breaking point and how the downward spiral, even though kicked off by an ‘unlucky happening’, will possibly set him on a path of revenge.

In terms of otherworldly beings, there is the thing that is darkness and the thing that is light. Where does it all come from? I cannot tell you… Maybe it is the never ending fight in between good and evil, dark and light… There is a druid that travels on a big flying beast (displayed on the book cover) and they, too, seem to be having their own agenda, separate from the goings on of Cestia, separate from the death of evil and innocent. Everyone seems to fear the druid and the beast, Vim, but their presence in the novel is minor. I expect their presence will have a bigger role in the sequel.

Then there are the ‘scuttlers’. The scuttlers are dog-like beings with two heads and arachnid limbs and they hunt down the rebels and everyone in the city against the occupying force. No one escapes a scuttler’s jaws. Rabid rabid beasts, them ones. Quite well written as well, because imagining them definitely helped me imagine them and thus adding that horror element.

Additionally, there is mention of cherub and seraphim… Father Erret claims that they are of the god of light, the Farwalker. Alas, these ‘beings’ don’t look anything like angels and rather more like something birthed by demons, and at least one of them was brought into this world through rape.

If you’ve read this far, then- feeling the darkness yet?

Going back to the overall thoughts of the book… There is definitely a great number of twists and unexpected events which kept me turning the pages. It didn’t feel like one of those’ hey ho, off to action we go‘ reads though. It was more of a slow burn of a feeling, trying to trudge through bloody mud towards being free… Freedom that is only granted by death. It’s one of those novels where the worst can get even worse and everything you don’t want to happen, happens.

Light Dawning was easy to follow due to the descriptive and engaging writing. Prior to picking up this book I remember thinking to myself which of the four characters were going to fall into my love and hate ‘camps’. Those ‘camps’ didn’t form. While all four offer equally powerful presence in the novel, they all also come with their flaws and the ending of this book made me think they’re roles are simply not over yet. For none of them…

You can find Light Dawning on Goodreads | Amazon UK | USA