THE FADING DUSK
Smoke and Mirrors, Book 1
by Melissa Giorgio
In the gritty city of Dusk, seventeen-year-old Irina makes her living as the street magician Bantheir’s assistant. The job isn’t glamorous, but she loves the crowds, the shows, and most of all, the illusion of magic. But Irina’s world is shattered the night she is arrested and charged as Bantheir’s accomplice to murder—murder by magic.
Real magic, the kind that’s been forbidden since the old wars.
Irina finds the idea of flashy showman Bantheir using actual magic to kill someone laughable, but she’s the only one who sees how ridiculous the claim is. But how can she convince everyone Bantheir is innocent when they’ve already made up their minds? Desperate, Irina must decide who she can trust to help her win her freedom. Is the surly, handsome Captain Leonid telling the truth when he says he believes Irina is innocent, or is he just using her to get to Bantheir? What about Aden, the sweet soldier and longtime fan of Irina’s who claims he’s on her side?
Irina said she wanted to know the truth, but when she stumbles across a dark secret that changes everything, will she be strong enough to survive?
After reading the blurb, I was excited about diving into this book and getting lost in the world. And that's exactly what happened.
From the very first page, I was pulled into the story. Seventeen-year-old Irina is the assistant
to a street magician and not a fancy one at that. The scene immediately came to life, making it easy to see the town and atmosphere happening. When Irina is immediately threatened and soon running for her life, I was hooked.
Irina is no one special--not a trained fighter, no magical powers and absolutely no tricks up her sleeve. But she's snarky and keeps her wits about her. I liked her right away and found myself cheering for her the entire time. There are a few moments, when she over reacts to things, but these are easy to overlook and simply enjoy her character.
This is a fast-paced story with lots of intrigue, twists and turns. Irina is drawn into the middle of a complex plot that even those around her don't fully understand--and if they did, they wouldn't share the information with her anyway. The lines between friend and foe are foggy at best, making it hard to know who to trust and who not. The ending was a complete surprise and definitely left me wanting to know what will happen next.
There were a few spots where I felt the reactions didn't quite fit (a little over the top), and there a couple of loose ends, which seemed left unanswered (and not the kind that I expect to have answered in book 2). I also wasn't completely satisfied with the hero's sudden 'softness' toward the end - it made him a little wimpy for my taste.
But I recommend this whole-heartedly to anyone who likes fantasy with a romantic twist and enjoys characters who say what they think. I got lost in the story and couldn't put it down until the very last page. Plus, I my fingers are itching to grab book two.
And here she is. . .
Melissa Giorgio is a native New Yorker who graduated from Queens College with a degree in English. She’s always dreamed of being a writer and has been creating stories (mostly in her head) since she was a little girl. Also an avid reader, Melissa loves to devour thick YA novels. When not reading or writing, she enjoys watching animated films, listening to music by her favorite Japanese boy band, or exploring Manhattan. She is also the author of the Silver Moon Saga.