A part sci-fi, part fantasy debut novel examines the convergence of magical worlds.
At the outset of this vast tale, an unnamed man finds himself in an odd land of “endless, flat, hard earth.” He is puzzled about his circumstances, though he possesses recollections of being a warrior, remembering “weapons and armor and battle.” It is only with the aid of a stranger that the man discovers he is actually Prince Anthony Duskborn of Nighthaven. Soon after, the reader learns that Nighthaven is under attack. Although the once-proud city has loyal defenders, they are no match for a horde of fiends led by a “being of immense power.” As the royal family is overrun, the narrative shifts to Vincent L’Artane, “lawyer for the Gracette Intergalactic Order.” After a subordinate of his wife, Antonella (who is also an attorney), brings to light information about the creation of a few planets with immense amounts of magic, the couple know an investigation is in order. Gracette is a republic encompassing thousands of intelligent species across the universe and the formation of planets is highly regulated. Why would some be created with a focus on magic, an altogether “rare and random phenomenon”? If this all sounds disparate and complex, that’s merely the beginning. From the Duskborn family lineage to magic licenses for “Eaglic citizens” to a dedicated, if lonely, soldier named Col. James Vanderford, simply understanding the myriad characters and the worlds they inhabit requires patience. There are, after all, many of them. While certain aspects of the tale, such as details of the home life of Vincent and Antonella (as when they decide to make pancakes with their daughter: “What kind of pancakes are we talking about? Bananas on top, or blueberries inside?”), add little to the story, most of the information coalesces in a slow, genre-blending buildup. Finding out how two lawyers and a vast collection of otherworldly creations will ultimately affect one another gives the reader the motivation to navigate more than 700 pages. Neri painstakingly sets the stage for a conclusion that brings it all together.
Though the scale of the book disorients the reader at times, the payoff comes in a decidedly creative mix of sci-fi and magic.