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Smoke and Mirrors #1

The Fading Dusk

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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?


First published July 19, 2015

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About the author

Melissa Giorgio

15 books78 followers
I'm a reader and a writer. I love books, always have, always will. Now I just need a bigger house to fit them all.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm).
629 reviews72 followers
May 17, 2019
Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for giving me this book to review.

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?

The Fading Dusk is a very good fantasy novel with action, mystery and romance. It was very fast paced and I stayed up late into the night as I really wanted to find out what happened next. I really liked the city of Dusk as it had an atmosphere and reminded me of London in olden times. However, I would have preferred more world building especially about the old wars as it influences the story but is not explained very well.

Irina is a very likeable character who developed a lot in this book as in the beginning she was quiet and sometimes lacks confidence, but she becomes more self-assured and proactive. Leonid is grumpy but is also is a good leader who is protective and has good instincts. Aden is charming in an awkward kind of way and is friendly, and is a big fan of Irina. There is a love triangle in this story, which I usually do not like, but, it really did not develop the way I was expecting, so I did not mind it. I hope Coreen appears in the next book as this story did lack female characters.

I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading the next one in this series and other books by Melissa Giorgio. I would recommend The Fading Dusk to fans of Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M Lee and Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne.

This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm
Profile Image for Sam.
2,065 reviews32 followers
September 9, 2015
I admit, I haven't finished Melissa Giorgio's Silver Moon Saga, but what I have read, I've completely adored. You'd wonder then why I'd start her new series, as opposed to finishing a previous one, and the answer is quite simple: I love a deep and rich fantasy world.

The world of Dusk is wonderfully fleshed out for the reader, and in a lot of ways, feels like a character in the story. There's a foreboding atmosphere that surrounds the world, one that changes and expands as the actual characters grow within the story. I loved that street performance was something that was heavily integrated into the story, and I love the way in which Giorgio describes magic in this world as being something dangerous, but also something with the power to entertain and delight.My favourite character easily embodied those traits, which was Bantheir. I LOVED him. I found him to be both smarmy, and reviling, and yet he aims to entertain in ways that make you chuckle and feel a bit uncomfortable.

If I'm being honest, I really enjoyed how everything in this story is described. I love the character growth and development, especially for Irina, who becomes quite the unlikely heroine (in that, she really doesn't want to be). I appreciate how much of a softer heroine she is in comparison to Gabi from The Silver Moon Saga, as Irina is a much more methodical, unsure, heroine who grows so gradually throughout.

I loved how unpredictable a lot of the story was, and I liked the way in which many of the plot twists were developed. The ending was fantastic, and it leaves a great lasting impression on the reader, showing how strong and more confident Irina becomes with herself. I also appreciate that the love triangle in this book didn't turn out to be a love triangle really, and I ended up rooting for Leonid with ease. He's a pretty grumpy guy, but I like the cut of his jib.

Overall, I think The Fading Dusk is a solid start to a new fantasy series. Considering how the book ended, I'm looking forward to see what is in store for Irina and her companions, as they have a difficult road ahead of them. If you love a rich and well developed fantasy novel, this book is definitely worth investigating.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,702 reviews215 followers
August 30, 2016
There is this magician who does parlor tricks, because real magic doesn't exist. And there is this woman who goes with him, helping him out with his tricks and trade. And there are this killings, which are pinned to this magician. But his companion doesn't believe he is guilty, is he?
And that is how Irina finds herself on prision, defending his friend from the eyes and ears of the people who think he is guilty; amongst them a Captain called Leonid, which began as a pain in the ass but is turning out to be full of surprises...
But Leonid wants Irina's help in solving this case, and she agrees because she wants to prove the magician is inocent.

I loved this travel around a world called Dusk. I loved the plot that got me guessing all along, looking for guilty parties and innocent ones. I loved the well-constructed characters and the brewing romance. I loved the surprises and twists. I loved the fact that there is going to be a second book in the series as I want to read it!
Profile Image for Maghon Thomas.
1,272 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2015
I haven't read this author before, but this book has changed that from her on out. I absolutely loved this one. It all starts out with an orphaned girl, who is taken in by a magician, or illusionist as we know in this time, until she is arrested for murder as his accomplice. Ok, so that doesn't really catch anything awe inspiring, BUT, let me tell you, this illusionist is a real wizard here. I don't know how he kept it a secret so well because even I fell for it. And the girl, she's not just some scared orphan, or not at the end anyways, and being in prison, not the worst place to be, with nice guards and a hawt captain. Well, at the end anyways. LOL I can only take this into account that the author made such a wonderful story, and wrote it so well, that I just fell in love with it. It's got a beautiful world building, based not on fantasy, but reality, but from the past.

Irina is our leading lady. She was taken in by Bantheir as a child, and has been his assistant ever since. He has fed her, clothed her, sheltered her, and though more like an older brother, or uncle, he was there for her when she lost everything at 4 years old. And upon being attacked by unknown men, she is saved by them in return to be arrested for Bantheir's murdering spree. She didn't believe he was ever guilty until too many things added up. She stayed loyal until it was almost too late. But along the way, she made friends, which she's never had before. The Captain Leonid, the guard Vernen, even Aden, and the rival other street magician and his assistant. This helped her stand on her own, face the truth, and in turn, deal with the path she needed to take. And if I can have on spoiler, just one little one, I need to say this.... There's an awesome creature in here!!!!!!!

There are excellent characters in here, the captain, which started out as an enemy and became ally, the guards Aden and Vernen, Bantheir, who was most trusted then turned to enemy. I loved the changes and how exceptionally well they grew in this story. And I know it's only the beginning because now I'm dying to get my hands on book two!! The location of this story is awesome and so descriptive as well, the rich side, the middle side, the poor side. They all feel like completely different cities which is what I think is supposed to feel like. And the plot twists and ending, I loved that too. It's shows just how much things can change and especially Irina, who became a heroine, though she did everything she could to not. So with that said, I recommend this to anyone who would like a good fantasy story with so many good things in it! 5 MAGICAL PAWS!
Profile Image for Liz Gavin.
Author 97 books738 followers
October 26, 2015
I've received an ecopy of this books in exchange for an honest review.

Just so we're clear, I'm not a big fan of YA stories, but I love a challenge, which means I like reviewing books outside my comfort zone. Also, I love a good fantasy story.

That being said, the YA elements didn't prevent me from enjoying the book. Moreover, the fantasy elements were great as were the many twists and turns in the plot. The characters were well-written and the story flowed in a fast pace, which contributed to my enjoyment.

Bearing in mind this is the first book of a saga, I understood why the author has chosen to leave out details of the background story and agreed with her. As frustrating as it is having to wait, I like when an author doesn't spoon-feed his or her audience. I enjoy putting my brain cells to good use when it comes to figuring out a story.
Hope we can read the next installment soon because I'm eager to learn how the story will unfold.
Profile Image for Savannah.
21 reviews5 followers
May 5, 2016
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

What originally enticed me to this book was a feel of excitement. Feelings of wonder and admiration for a story written in a world of magicians, illusions, and a medieval style backdrop. Did I get this though? Well... not exactly.

One of the first things I noticed was that, as the reader, I rarely got to see any of the magic tricks or shows played out in the book. There was little time to marvel at the world I read about in the synopsis, either at the beginning or anywhere else in the story as well. It is only now - as I write this review - that I realize why this is.

Of course, I understand that the plot needed to start quickly to keep readers interested, and at first, I truly was. But then it just became the same thing over and over again. I mean this in the sense of the individual chapters and the book as a whole. It just felt so familiar and overdone.

Trying to write this without spoilers is hard, but I am trying my best, so bare with me here. The main character experiences a romance, and while I enjoy romance in books, I prefer it to be gradual. I prefer it to have more realism and less, "Oh, he likes me, yay! No, wait... now he doesn't. I am so stupid!" There was a lot of negative thoughts and total obliviousness from the main character, and it just ticked me off. Could the fact she is under a magic spell be to blame? In my opinion, not at all.

As for said magic spell, it annoyed me how obvious that was, too, and for someone to not realize what was really happening. As Parnaby said, he had wanted to keep her in the dark so that she could fight it off herself, so... why wasn't she? A lot of things in the beginning and the end just do not fit together, and plot holes are ripe. There was evidence of the murders right in front of her, and even when she believed that Bantheir was the killer, she still did not realize what was right in front of her. Too much naivety for me.

Can I just, for a second, bring to light how, if Parnaby is so powerful as to have all of Dusk under his magical influence, why was he having so much trouble tracking down Bantheir? Honestly, this is one of the two biggest issues for me, next to the borderline Stockholm Syndrome romance which played out (I do not truly think it was really like that. Leonid's behavior does not fit the captor type, but let us be real about it for a second, okay? I know there are some very negative and harsh reviewers who would say that). Back to Parnaby!

The ending of the book, with Vern being alive, Parnaby wanting to kill him and him trying to spell Lark, and the almost lover type relationship between Lark and Leonid has me wondering... why? It all feels overly done up for a sequel, and yet I have no idea how any sequel story line will be of any worth. They have gone from one magician to the other, and we all know they will live happily ever after anyway.

So, being real here, would I read the rest of the series? No. Will I want to read about what happens in reviews and such? Yes, of course, because despite my problems with the work, I did enjoy it enough to read it until the end. This is quite a feat considering I rarely have the patience for this anymore. There were things I loved in this book, such as Vern being a homosexual and the different ethnicity and appearances that were described. Adding a prostitute was a nice tough, too. Yet I don't know if I want to use my time to read what is, to me, a predictable series that does not have me thinking too hard about what will happen.

I do apologize for this poorly written review as there are things I have missed - such as how the main character behaves, the ages of those around her, the writing style - but I have a migraine and cannot at this time. I shall revisit this in future.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Molly.
456 reviews129 followers
October 9, 2015
If you're a fan of YA fantasy then you'll really love this! As we all know I adored this author's previous series, and I was very excited to read more of her stuff. This book (and series) is going to be very different from The Sight Seer and I think that's great! Sadly I missed my Gabby-sassy-pants a little too much. Okay no I'm joking. I just don't think that the city of Dusk is going to be knocking Gabby out of the top spot in my heart anytime soon.

First I'll just say what didn't work for me. And it was really only two things. First was that it was a bit repetitive at times in some of the words used for descriptions. "The burly man" and "The street magician" were two of the phrases that I got real sick of reading after awhile. I know that Giorgio is a good writer and I know that she can give us description (hello creepy as FUCK demons in TSS!). And second, the romance was just a little too quick for me. I would have liked to have seen a little more courting, a little more falling. And while there is a hint of a love triangle, don't despair! Things turn out much better than expected.

What did I love? THE FREAKING MAGIC! THE SETTING. THE CITY OF DUSK. IRINA! CAPTAIN GRUMPY PANTS! For real the characters were really good. I liked how sure of herself Irina was. I liked how she took charge and did what needed to be done. I also loved how damn loyal she was (magic or not). My favorite part was how she was using her bangle bracelets to torment Leonid. I was all you go girl!

The city of Dusk is beautiful. I love the map in the front and I love the way it's described and how damn alive it is in the book. In fantasy a strong world and a setting that lives as much as a character on the pages does is important. And the world building in this is very strong.

The whole cast of characters is great. Sometimes you fear that they're going to fall into typical YA tropes and then Giorgio pulls the rug out from under us. I loved how she did this in TSS and I loved how she did it in this new series.

And the magic was so awesome. I loved how it started out as just for fun, a way to make a living, and then evolved into something read, dangerous and deadly.

Despite what I said about not liking some of the ways things were described, there were just a few isolated cases (that unfortunately happened enough that they bugged me), and overall the writing is really good. I loved the action! I loved all the movement. And I really enjoyed how there were times when I was laughing and then with a turn of the page was feeling some deep things.

I'm really excited to see what's to come for these characters! Def give this a chance!
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books174 followers
November 5, 2015
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.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jantine.
669 reviews40 followers
October 27, 2016
I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review

I love the way this book has a fantasy-world, that seems so much like our own that it did not need much explanation. Dusk seemed like a kind of 19th century London to me, and I loved it for that.

Irina is a feisty 17-year-old, who spent her first years on the streets of the slums. After her mother died, she was picked up by street magician Bantheir, who cared for her. At the start of this book, their life seems to be falling apart; Bantheir is missing, and accused of murders. Meanwhile Irina is imprisoned, having difficulty to believe her guardian is capable of these murders.

This book reads like fantasy-meets-whodunnit. It had me on the edge of my seat for a long time: could Irina convince the soldiers that Bantheir was innocent? Or was he as innocent as she believed him to be?

There were some awesome plottwists, characters who were not exactly who they seemed to be and especially growing characters. I like it when characters are multi-dimensional, and they certainly were in 'The Fading Dusk'!

Then there was the romance. I like my romance this way; subtle, and again with some twists and varieties. Wonderful! <3
Profile Image for Becky Stephens.
265 reviews11 followers
November 2, 2015
In The Fading Dusk, the entire cast of characters are fantastic, and that includes the city of Dusk. It is a living, breathing character on its own. The world building is strong in this book.

Those who know me ... really know me, know that I am a magician wannabe. I love any and all books with magic, and the magic is amazing in this novel. Fun and entertaining, yet dangerous. I love how Giorgio walks that line.

There is real character growth and development, especially for the heroine, Irina. And with plot twists galore, the unpredictability is delightful.

The Fading Dusk is a strong start to a new fantasy series, and I'm looking forward to see what is in store for Irina and her companions. This book is definitely worth your time if you're a fan of fantasies.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Kimberly Anne.
3,167 reviews177 followers
October 22, 2015
I'll start with the things I thoroughly enjoyed. This book had such depth in explaining the world of magic. It had a way of drawing you in and making you feel like a part of the story. Banthier and his assistant Irina have a very unconventional relationship. He enjoys the spotlight and goes out of his way to make her feel like she doesn't add up. There's always something she needs to improve. That being said, Banthier has a way about him. He's got a sense of humor you can't help but love and his magic hints at a touch of danger. And I love how the story progresses to show that Irina grows a back bone and really becomes herself.
What I disliked was the stop and go feel of the story. There were times where the book was so interesting I couldn't stop reading, and at other times I felt like it was dragging and the point really needed to be made. But in all, the story was great. Full of dark magic, mystery and intrigue, with a little love. Can't wait to see more.
Profile Image for Jenn Sut.
546 reviews33 followers
November 19, 2015
The Fading Dusk
By Melissa Giorgio

I was given a book in exchange for an honest review free of persuasion from the author or anyone else affiliated with this book.

Irina, a magician's assistant to Bantheir, struggles to make ends meet and stay out of the slums. As Irina finishes a show, an angry man approaches her claiming that Banthier has stolen something priceless from him and that he will not leave them alone until it is returned. It goes from bad to worse as she is told that Bantheir is killing people with real magic. Irina believes this is ridiculous. Then she is accused of helping him.

Can Irina convince them that she and Bantheir are innocent? Will Irina find out the secret? Is Bantheir involved in dark magic?

The book introduces the reader into a fascinating new world. Pretend magic or real magic? There is plenty of mystery and suspense. It is a great first book in a new series. I will definitely be buying the next one.
Profile Image for Yoshiblackluvstoread Andino.
163 reviews29 followers
September 2, 2015
Just like with her Silver Moon Saga, The Fading Dusk is packed with action and excitement. Is no secret that I got taken with Leonid very quickly, grumpy cinnamon rolls with an under appreciated sense of humor FTW!

It was a quick and engaging read (I only took so long because I didn't want it to end) and now comes the hardest part where we have to wait for the second book to come out.
Profile Image for Teresa.
206 reviews2 followers
October 15, 2016
I received this ebook in exchange for a honest review.
Irvin's was born and lived in the slums with her mother, when tragedy strikes Irina is left all alone. She wanders until she finds a magic show and meets Bantheir. Life is not great but it beats living in the slums. She becomes Bantheir assistant but one night after the show she is approached by a big burly man and life as she knows it will never be the same. Who is the big burly man? Is the rumours about Bantheir true? Who is the tall dark handsome Captain that saves her life?
Irina, a teenager and Bantheir's assistant. Head strong and stubborn but sensitive.
Bantheir, street magician who loves to gamble. In over his head
Leonid, Captain of the guard. Can not get enough of Irina and her curly hair.
Parnaby/Elyse, another street magician and his assistant. Good at keeping secrets.
Vernon, a guard and Leonid's best friends. Loves having fun at Leonid's expense.
The Fading Dusk (Smoke and Mirrors, #1) by Melissa Giorgio
Final Thoughts:
This book had me hooked from the start. So good. The twists and turns kept me guessing. I thought the connection between Irina and Leonid's was swoon worthy. One minute they're bickering and the next they can not stop staring at each other. What do you do when magic is not illegal but it hums in your veins?
Profile Image for Ronald Keeler.
846 reviews32 followers
September 24, 2016
This was a book I won in a Library Thing Members Giveaway in return for a review.

The Fading Dusk by Melissa Giorgio is a novel of magic. Irina is a magician’s assistant to Bantheir and she feels very unappreciated. It seems all she does is support and clean-up functions; Bantheir doesn’t really include her in anything. She has picked up some of the magic tricks which, as she tells colleagues, are not really magic; they are illusions. Sometimes Bantheir strikes up friendships with some admiring audience members. When an attractive couple invited him to meet them for dinner, Bantheir did not invite her to accompany him. Instead, he instructed her to return home and to invite no one in with her. She didn’t really invite the two men who broke into the house and almost killed her. She didn’t invite the soldiers who fortuitously arrived to save her. And she hadn’t planned to be taken to prison where she was threatened with charges of being an accomplice to almost six murders, all committed by Bantheir.

Irina resisted the charges and could not believe Bantheir would do such a thing. He had rescued her from the Slums, the poorest section of Dusk when she was very young. He had set her up in a house with him in Way, the middle-class section of Dusk and given her training as a magician’s assistant. He had always been very kind to her and she emphasized this over and over to Leonid, a soldier captain and her jailer, who also happened to be very handsome. Although Leonid was under pressure from a city councilman to solve the murders, he wasn’t completely sure Bantheir was guilty. The only way to find out for sure about Bantheir was to enlist the aid of Irina, who Leonid insisted on calling Lark.

Irina (Lark), Leonid and trusted friend Vernen begin an investigation of all the crime scenes. Leonid hopes that Lark’s viewing of the scenes will produce a new perspective and new clues as to who is actually guilty. What was the motivation behind the killing? This is revealed, it is not a surprise. The prize is immortality. In this novel, immortality’s name is The Essence. It is not only one character that pursues The Essence. The reader soon finds out that magic is real and it is possessed by several characters, some good, some bad.

This novel is about magic. It could almost be a fairytale. Like a fairytale, it has a happy ending … almost. There is an interesting twist at the end that leaves a thinly disguised reason for why the story should go on in a sequel. That is OK because the writing in this book is that of a pleasingly told tale. YA genre, but the story can be enjoyed by all ages.
Profile Image for Melissa.
285 reviews
August 25, 2016
Disclaimer: I received this ebook for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The city-state of Dusk is divided into three sections: the poor slums, the middle-class district of Way, and the elite Rise. Presiding over Dusk is a mysterious President, who has outlawed all real magic since the end of a devastating war. Slum-born Irina lives in Way with her master/foster-father, Bantheir, a street magician to whom Irina acts as an assistant. When Bantheir is accused of killing several citizens all over Dusk, Irina is captured by the city guard and held at a nearby prison. There, the local captain, Leonid, hopes to use Irina's knowledge to bring Bantheir to justice. But Irina knows her kind-hearted master isn't a killer ... or is he?

This novel was both a pleasant surprise and a breath of fresh air! I'd been in desperate need of a palate cleanser, after a string of gritty urban fantasy novels, and this was just the ticket.

Irina is not a kick-ass heroine, but she is strong-willed, loyal, sarcastic, and kind. The novel itself is rather magic-lite, despite being set firmly in a magic-filled world. (A world, I should note, we don't get to see anything of, except for the city-state of Dusk. At least, I think it's a city-state. That part isn't particularly explored.) Magic does come into play towards the very end of the novel, when a god suddenly makes his presence known. The plot has more of mystery elements than fantasy, with Captain Leonid trying to prove that Bantheir is a murderer, and Irina hell-bent on proving his innocence.

There were quite a few plot points that surprised me, and some that left me scratching my head. Regardless of how the President of Dusk likes his prisons run, I will definitely be picking up the next installment of this series!
Profile Image for Chalyss.
34 reviews23 followers
August 4, 2015
First off I would like to say if you are looking for another funny and light world of the Silver Moon Saga you are not gonna find it here...

No, here you are gonna find a nitty gritty world not too much different from our own in the sense of you have the rich, the working class, and the poor. After that the similarities kind of taper off. The world of Dusk is filled with darkness and confusion. (I mean don't get me wrong this isn't a complete 180 from the world of Gabi and Rafe nor it is the darkest book you're ever gonna see. You have your strong willed main character that either takes things head on or decides she's in over her head, that one guy that pops up when you need some giggles, and someone who just needs a bit of ice cream to chill them out.) This book has magic but not the pretty kind you see Tinkerbell and the girls of Pixie Hollow waving around. This is a bit more hard core and a big part of this story line.

This book was absolutely frustrating but there is always a reason somewhere and the reason here just takes you from frustrated to mad at that villainous fiend who could do such a thing. But don't worry the reason is worth it and the plot twists are fun (not too crazy or over the top, nice and light). The characters have you second guessing them and trusting no one (which is good, trust no one).

Moral of the story is, while I very much still hold The Sight Seer as my favorite by Mrs. Giorgio this book definitely deserves some good attention and after reading it you know where it's gonna go but you never know how it's gonna go.
Profile Image for Katie Blythe.
182 reviews4 followers
August 16, 2016
*This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Irina has lived in the slums of Dusk all her life with no family, just her friend and father figure Bantheir to take care of her. She is an assistant to Bantheir’s magic show and has always enjoyed his sleight of hand tricks, knowing that there’s no such thing as real magic. After a show one evening Bantheir goes off with a couple to dinner while Irina goes home by herself. While there, people break in saying they are looking for something extremely valuable that Bantheir stole, and before she can truly get away she is arrested by other people for being an accomplice to a string of murders that have been going on, using real magic, being done by Bantheir. Of course Irina doesn’t believe that he could have ever killed anyone and has no idea if Bantheir really did steal something of value, or even where it could be, but she is put in jail knowing that he is innocent and tries to do whatever she can to prove his and her innocence. The more Irina learns, the more she realizes that not everyone is who they say they are and some of the nicest people can be the most evil.
I really enjoyed this story. The world was so beautiful and magical and not all the characters are who they seem to be which was fun to find out. I’d definitely want to continue with a series like this.

***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng***
Profile Image for Mel (Epic Reading).
885 reviews273 followers
August 31, 2016
Read 70/258 pages.
Unfortunately The Fading Dusk is a disappointment. The premise sounded interesting but very quickly I realized that not only was our author an amateur writer but they seemed to think their audience would just accept everything told to them.

We start out meeting our main gal and being told that she's paranoid about living on the streets and going hungry. There's even references to her having gone hungry for days. And yet a few short chapters later she appears to be starving from less than 24 hours of no food. It just doesn't make any sense.
It happens again and again. On one hand were told she's terrified but then she talks back to a captain. And said captain suddenly confides a "very confidential" story to this unknown girl (who may be involved in a murder). Why would he do this?
It's like a bad Bond movie where you're spoon fed details for no reason by characters whose motives would be better served by them not disclosing what's going on.
And don't even get me started on the sudden romantic attachment between our lead gal and one of her guards. Honestly no one falls for anyone that quickly. Period.

It's all just too implausible. The sad part is it's not the plot that seem implausible at all (given the vague setup of the world we are given); instead it's the contradictory nature of every character we meet that is just outrageous.

Perhaps with some work and maturation in writing Melissa Giorgio has the potential to write a good book. Sadly it's not this one.
Profile Image for Gypsy Madden.
Author 2 books26 followers
July 26, 2016
I stayed up well past my bedtime several nights in a row speeding my way through this story. I picked this up since it reminded me of Patricia C. Wrede’s The Magician’s Ward series and I certainly wasn’t disappointed (I am also a fan of the movie Now You See Me which some of the characters echoed). It has plenty of stage magic as well as fantasy magic, the wonderful setting of the city of Dusk, sympathetic heroine Irina, and not to mention a dash of innocent romance (which I have to congratulate the writer on bringing forth since it creeps up and grows slowly rather than the insta-attraction which is in practically all of the paranormal YA books nowadays). I loved all of the characters, and even the class distinctions which really helped the period setting. The only thing that I would complain on is that Irina did spend a lot of the book just hanging out in the jail cell. And though I couldn’t put it down, it did feel like that section was rather stagnant since it was just the same four walls for pages upon pages. As soon as I finished this book, I just had to get my hands on the next book. I did find it sad that right now the series only consists of this book and the next one. I do hope for more in the near future.
Profile Image for Shakera.
624 reviews11 followers
November 2, 2016
The Fading Dusk was truly a great story! It has everything! There’s espionage, love, humor, lies and murder! Just when you think a street magician is just an ordinary guy… slight of hand, making a coin disappear, well, those days are gone! Meet Bantheir. On the surface, he’s your average street magician just trying to make a living, but if you dig a bit deeper… he’s hiding a deep dark secret! His secret is the ultimate betrayal… especially to Irina, his assistant and “adopted” daughter. Bantheir’s betrayal lands Irina in prison with some unlikely friends, like the charming and attractive Captain Leonid. He too, is not everything he seems. With all the secrets going on, who do you trust?

For me, this was quite the story, it begged me to use my imagination! The Fading Dusk is extremely well written, had me sitting on the edge of my seat and left me wanting more. It was nice to see Irina and Leonid drop their guards and bond. While romance wasn’t a big component to the story, it did help progress the story along. Irina started off meek and shy, but by the end she blossomed! I enjoyed this story and look forward to book 2 of the series!

See more at: https://www.yainsider.com/b/the-fadin...
Profile Image for Laura Kehoe.
Author 2 books30 followers
September 24, 2016
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
In The Fading Dusk, magic is a thing of the past. Real magic hasn't existed for a long time-at least that's what Irina believes for most of her life. But that all changes when she's uprooted from her quiet life as a magician's assistant and thrown into a world of magic, danger and betrayal.
I was surprised how much I genuinely enjoyed The Fading Dusk. Based off the description, I thought it might be an interesting story, but I wasn't expecting to become so engrossed in this book. The plot is certainly intriguing and kept me interested, but what really drew me into this story was the characters. I really loved Irina and instantly connected with her. From the first page, I became invested in her life, eager to learn how she fared against each new danger.
This book isn't perfect. There were some pacing issues, with a few slow spots in the middle that kind of dragged. And I wasn't fond of a few things that happened, particularly towards the end. But, overall, I enjoyed The Fading Dusk so much. It was a really great story and I cannot wait to read the second book.
177 reviews6 followers
August 27, 2016
Lark is a street magician's assistant. She is beholden to Bantheir the magician for food and shelter, but she doesn't mind. He has raised her from the time he found her wandering the streets as a small child, lost after her mother' death. It comes as a shock then, when Lark is imprisoned for crimes Bantheir committed. He is suspected of murdering several people and the police won't let Lark go until she helps them capture Bantheir and prove his guilt. But Lark doesn't believe he's guilty. In fact, the very thought makes her physically ill. In a world where true magic is outlawed, Lark is stunned to learn about her mentor's dark intents and his real magical abilities. While in jailLark becomes friends with a young man who ultimately doesn't take no for an answer and tries to force himself on Lark. Even though she is not at fault, Lark feels guilty. The author does a good job of illustrating the consequences of such actions. .The story has it all: magic, romance, mystery, and action. YA readers will enjoy The Fading Dusk and beg for more!
Profile Image for Keri Phillips .
349 reviews
September 14, 2016

If you are in the mood for a stereotypical Young Adult Fantasy, pick this book up. I don’t say this critically. Honestly. I was in a mood for an easy fantasy read and this one really checked all my boxes. You have the Dystopian society full of the different levels of culture. Then, you have the “magic is evil” aspects. I loved it.

Irina is an assistant for Bantheir, who is a street performer in Dusk. Magic has been banned, so all of his act is sleight of hand. However, Irina is brought in for questioning when Bantheir is accused of murdering people by using magic. Bantheir took Irina in when she was a child and has been her Savior. She cannot believe these allegations are true. Should Irina believe Captain Leonid? He says she is innocent. As the story progresses, Irina has to face very hard truths and deal with dark secrets from her past.

As previously stated, I really enjoyed this book. I am so happy this is a series. I plan on picking up the 2nd book by Melissa Giorgio in the very near future. I highly recommend this one. Four out of five stars for me.
Profile Image for Vivien.
373 reviews56 followers
September 14, 2015
Thank you Xpresso Book Tours.

When I read the synopsis, I was intrigued. The story was about magicians. I don't read a lot of books with magicians and I was in the mood for magic.

I read some and thought, this is okay, not the best, but not terrible.

I continued and I killed myself. There are times where books are bad and I get these feelings, but this book was over kill.

There's insta-love. There is an overwhelming amount of it! It is so potent! Think a marine's sock after running in combat boots in the desert on a really hot day. Then he/she walks into this swamp, where an animal with really stinky excrement, relieving him/herself. The relationship came too early. I thought that the book was a sequel because there was so much romantic development missing.

The writing was also really boring too. It didn't have this pizazz to it.
Profile Image for Amy McNulty.
Author 31 books497 followers
July 21, 2015
If you like the Silver Moon Saga, you'll devour The Fading Dusk. If you love magic and atmospheric settings, where you can almost *feel* the fog pouring off the page, you'll devour The Fading Dusk!

Irina is a different kind of heroine than Silver Moon Saga's Gabi. She's quieter and more unsure of herself, but that's just at the start of the novel. She's also got some chemistry going with not one good-looking fellow, but two--but this isn't the love triangle you're probably expecting. Leonid is amazing! He's got a little touch of a character like The Darkling to him.

I can't fully explain everything I love about this book without spoiling things. Read it and see for yourself!

And look at that amazing cover!!
Profile Image for Sue.
560 reviews29 followers
November 10, 2016
*Review copy reveived from publisher*

An enjoyable, origional and unpredictable fantasy with complex characters that brought the story together
Profile Image for Caro.
773 reviews70 followers
February 18, 2017
I’d like to Thank Netgallery for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for a honest Review.

I’m going to start by saying, that “The Fading Dusk” was a 3 Star Read for me, meaning that it was an enjoyable read, however did not get me really immersed in the storyline and the characters. I’d recommend this book for someone looking for a fast/easy Fantasy read. However, I personally cannot see myself continuing with the Series (there are set to be 3 more books, one is already published). In terms of what I liked and what I did not like, I divided my Review into a few categories.

Worldbuilding » The premise of “The Fading Dusk” sounded really amazing and interesting to me. The idea is that we’re having this city divided into 3 quarters (slums, Way, Rise) and in the midst of it all we meet out main character, an assistant of a street magician. Real magic however, has been forbidden, therefore. all people enjoy is the illusion of magic. This very idea was part of why I decided to request the book, because street magic? Amazing! However, I felt like the worldbuilding was lacking many information and a certain depth, which is really sad, because it had great potential. We learn that there were old wars where dragons fought against dark magicians for power and that after this debacle magic was forbidden. However, it seemed like magic did not cease to exist and still is hidden somewhere. Those are all elements that are very interesting and immerse, but we did not really get more depth to them. After reading the book I had a dozen worldbuilding questions and felt not really satisfied with the world. Here are some of the questions I had about this world: The book talks about lands, meaning that there’s more in this world than just the City of Dusk. What is this country called? Are there other cities? Is Dusk maybe the Capital? Are all other potential cities divided like Dusk as well? That however were not all questions: give me more history please, just mentioning wars and power struggle is not enough for a rich history. How was this world created? How did people come to acquire magic? Can that be learned to a certain degree? Is magic passed down in families? Why did the dragons and magicians fight for power? What was the breaking point which resulted in the old wars? How did the dragons go extinct? Were all the magicians involved in the war killed? What happens nowadays if someone is discovered to be a magician? Throughout the book religion is also mentioned along with gods: What are the other religions not mentioned? What do their gods represent? If those gods are alive why are they so passive? How important is religion for the people? Also what is the role of the council in the city? How much power do they have? Are there other councils in different cities? In general I’d also like to see more traditions of Dusk ... like national holidays or festivals. I also felt like the author did not spent enough time exploring the different quarters of Dusk. The slums were mentioned, as was Way, but I felt like we did not experience them enough. This is just my personal opinion cornering the fantasy world. As I already said the world had potential, but in my view this potential was not really used.

Characters » Let’s start with our protagonist and narrator of the story: Irina. I felt like she in theory should have been a character that I liked, because she was sarcastic, stubborn and fierce. However, in reality she did not work for me at all. It’s not like I don’t like the character, I’m just really indifferent towards her and did not find her particular sympathetic or relatable. The reason simply was that she was incredibly moody sometimes and at one point made a really big scene and overreacted a great bit. She also was really sullen after that and blocked out her cellmates attempts to make her feel better, which was not the nicest thing to do, because Coreen really did try. What also irked me was her nativity concerning the whole murder and Bantheir. There were facts and proof right before her eyes and she still ignored them and whined about how her former master was innocent and yelled at anyone who dared tell her he was guilty. That really annoyed me, because she just turned away from the truth and was foolish to hold onto her belief in him, even when it was obvious that he was a murderer. I mean one could say that because of the pain and this storyline she could not do something else, but I wanted to watch her struggle against that more and really try to change her mind and not get stuck with it for hundreds of pages. 

The second main character I liked much, much better. This character is Captain Leonid, who is only 18 but seems so much older and wiser in the book. This was really fascinating to see how mature he was, sometimes I really did forget that he was only so young. In my opinion he was the most fleshed out and complex character. Nicknamed Captain Grimface for his constant scowl we firstly only see his slightly grumpy side, he puts on at work to reach his goals. However, as the story continued we see more and more of a different Leon, one that can smile and laugh, but does not do so often. Someone that is considerate, but can also get extremely angry and protective. Leon just had so many defining characteristics like his love for tea or his ability to work on almost no sleep. He felt so very real and handled the assault situation of Irina very well. Leon immediately reacts and draws the other boy away and offers Irina to leave the cell and sleep somewhere else. He takes her to his quarters but keeps his respectable distance, being really understanding and knowing that she’ll not want him to come too close. Leon also offers her his room to stay in with an invitation to lock it in order for her to feel more safe. In the end we get even more background information on him. Easily my favorite character in the story. Close second is Coreen, a hooker that gets herself imprisoned because in prison there is at least a warm place and food. She’s carefree, flirty and the opposite of Irina. I really liked her character and was sad when she later was released. I felt like Irina and her could have formed an unlikely friendship and was sad when that did not happen.

Now unto Aden, which I think is not a super complex character, because he’s just too good and lovely from the beginning. Later he turns out to have another side and in the end is set on the path of a redemption arc, but I couldn’t care less about him. I just do not really care to see him or a redemption arc, because I won’t be able to forget what he did in the beginning. And the thought of Irina and him becoming friends again in the future makes me shudder. I just lost interest in his character and would not really like to see more of him. Other characters I really did not like is of course Bantheir, because he’s set to be the bad guy. I did appreciate the attempt to explain his backgroundstory and motivation, but he still remains a murderer and also emotionally abusive to me. Parnaby later in the book also turned really ruthless and annoyingly arrogant, power hungry which I’m sure is going to be a theme in the later books. His attitude just annoyed me so much and I don't particularly wish to see the upcoming drama with him.

A very lovely character was Vernen, Leons best friend and a very funny, kind soldier in the prison, who’s also gay. I have to say that he was such a sweetheart and I really don’t like where things went with him. He grazed the “Bury your Gays” Trope which really annoyed me, however later it turns out that things were not as grave as I expected, but I also fear the path his development is going from here, because I just don't like what happened to him and where this will lead Vernen. I’m also fearing that in the end the “Bury your Gays” Trope will reappear and claim him, so really not sure about what will happen to him.

Another complaint I have is the severe lack of amazing female charaters. We only really had Irina as a female main character. There were Aden, Leon, Parnaby, Bantheir and Vernen as important male character. But as for female ones? Apart from Irina we only have Coreen and Elsye, who only have minor roles. Really sad to see that woman are not really well represented in this book and that once again we have more amazing male characters with huge storylines. 

Plotline » The plotline was not bad, but the first part of the novel really was more slow moving. The second part however, was so much more better, because finally things started to happen and add up. There were some amazing reveals that even I did not see coming and which completely took me by surprise! This is the action that I hoped for, with twists and turns, drama and facing the enemy. I was so pumped those last chapters and personally I would have liked for more to happen in the beginning. The whole prison plotline was rather slow and took up two weeks. Nothing really happened besides relationship developments, but for me that was not enough. I wanted more murder solving and also more action. Give me her escaping and getting into trouble, give me more investigating! I felt like Irina was let off the hook too easily after a few interrogations. After her big scene in front of the councilor and Leon, the storyline of threatening councilor wants to keep her in prison as an accomplice was dropped suddenly and there were no new interrogations. I just felt that some action and suspense was missing in this large chunk of the story. The sudden disappearnce of the councilor also was some sort of a plothole, because we never find out where he went of to. Was he simply withdrawn from he scene? I can only guess, because it was never really mentioned. Also why did no one manage to capture Bantheir in those two weeks? There are many powerful characters in the book, what took them so long?

Romance » I was not the biggest fan of the blooming relationship between Irina and Aden. It was so very rushed and had the definite instalove feel to it that I really do not like. In the end their relationship ended before it could really began, but that does not change how I felt about their instant attraction. Just no. I would not really say that there’s a love triangle, not really though, because some struggle of her between the boys is not shown and not any plotline. Really something I liked, because love triangles are so very overdone in YA and I’m always happy to see a book without the feared triangle. I also thought that Irinas relationship with Leon was so much better developed than her with Aden. Irina and Leon really build their relationship and there was not this instalove feel to them. They are definitely not an OTP, but they were cute and enjoyable. Sometimes there were a little cheesy parts as well, but I did not mind those, as in general I liked reading about the pair.

Writing Style » The writing style of the author is really good and made the book a quick and enjoyable read. If my problems with worldbuilding, plotline and some characters could be improved I’m sure that I’d like the book way better, because the author knows what she’s doing. I definitely think she’s got great potential and the writing really is almost flawless, apart from some expressions (like “she released a breath she hadn’t been realized she’d been holding” but this one occurs more often in many YA books).

In conclusion, this book had great potential and some good plot twists as well as some great character, but ultimately could have been improved in terms of worldbuilding and the behavior of the protagonist.
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