Twilight Falling by Paul S. Kemp
Posted by travizzt on October 29, 2009
Twilight Falling by Paul S. Kemp- This is the first book in The Erevis Cale trilogy. The second book is, Dawn of Midnight, and the final book is Midnight’s Mask. However, the first appearance of many of these characters are found in the Sembia: Gateway to the Realms series. There is a short story in Halls of Stormweather anthology entitled “Resurrection” and the second book in the series entitled Shadow’s Witness. Then after this trilogy, the story continues in The Twilight War trilogy (Shadowbred, Shadowstorm, and Shadowrealm).
The story follows a butler/assassin named Erevis Cale and him leaving the Uskevren family (whom he serves). In the process of leaving, he gets a message from an old colleague/rival Drasek Riven, whom he meets at a tavern. After the tavern explodes, Cale and Riven realize that it was a hit on them and find who is trying to kill them, a shadow mage named Vraggen and a half-drow named Azriim. After a brief fight, Cale rushes back to Stormweather (where the Uskevren family resides) to check on them, and comes across more of Vraggen’s henchmen. He finds out they are after a globe and they escape with half and a hostage, after Cale cuts the globe in two with his sword. Cale then goes out to find an old friend, a halfling named Jak Fleet, to try to figure out what the globe is. Riven meets up with them, much to the dislike of Jak, and they take it to a “god-touched” loremaster named Sephris, who tells them some shocking things about the globe and themselves. After rescuing the hostage, the trio track down and attempt to stop Vraggen and his plans, but they get more than they bargained for.
WARNING: Spoilers are present.
1) Jak. He is a wuss. All he does in the story is complain or whine about this or that and it really got to the point of being really annoying at times. I do like him as a character and a foil of Riven, but he is just plain whiny. He couldn’t hold his own in almost any fight and always seemed to rely on either Riven or Cale to step in and give him some aid. I really do see the point of him being in the story, but come on, at least make him a little more capable. I know I am giving a very weak argument here, but after seeing how powerful Cale and Riven are, Jak just seemed like a joke at times.
2) Cale Clichéd? This isn’t really a huge negative, and it’s something that I just now noticed. Cale is pretty much the big, bald-headed, brooding killer that is in so much media now-a-days. You see this type of character in movies, video games, television shows, and various books. While most of the characters in those outlets are utterly terrible (most of the time), Cale doesn’t come off like that. He is more believable and honest in a way. Like I said, this is more of an observation than a criticism.
3) Magadon. At the cost of given the ending away, Magadon felt like a huge mistake in his usage within the story. Now, I love this character, but he only appears in the last three or four chapters and he just suddenly becomes (kind of) buddy-buddy with trio? It just doesn’t seem right when given the perfect chance to escape certain doom, he decides to stick with them and die? It just doesn’t make sense to me. There was no evidence of a friendship building between the three and him, it just was oddly thrown in there from left field and it just doesn’t seem to fit.
1) Characters. Although Jak was a little annoying and Cale is a little cliché, the characters are wonderfully done. Cale is as interesting a character as anyone I’ve read and his insights and feelings on certain things really makes him fantastic and likable. The emotions and thoughts he has really are insightful and make you think at times. Riven, I think, is better. He is an “Artemis Entreri-esque” assassin (Artemis Entreri is found in books by R. A. Salvatore), with his amazing sword work and typical villain personality. However, I think he is so much more than what Entreri could ever be. He is a killer, yet at the same time, you see him in a much different light and it makes you really start to like him. It’s really hard to explain what I mean, other than he is so much more complex than Entreri could ever be. Then you have Azriim. I think he really overshadows the main villain in the story just because of the traits and personality he has. While Vraggen is your typical villain who wants to “rule the world,” Azriim gives off this likable, but obviously bad persona that works really well and he slowly and rightfully becomes the main villain.
2) The Middle. The middle of the story is just wonderful. While the beginning does a bit of an introduction and recap of things that happened before this story, the middle is what is really good. The whole finding out what the globe is and the trio trying to rescue the hostage is what this story is really about. While it might be a little odd to base a story on something so simple and “silly” as this, it works really well. It really does feel like you are reading the first book, with giving you background on the characters, the personalities, events, etc. which all first books should set out to do. You don’t want a trilogy to feel like there isn’t anything real there because of the lack of character development, you want it to feel like you can really connect with the characters and really start to like them to want to read more about them. This is what the middle section does. It really makes you like the main characters and root for them to succeed. And who cares if the story ends in a –
3) -Cliffhanger! Because of the middle section really making you attached to these characters, the cliffhanger (even though I don’t like cliffhangers, usually) seems okay. It ends with so much up in the air, yet you know this isn’t the ending and you sure are hoping it isn’t! The ending really is what makes this special. You see these characters about to die and you are worrying over if they are or aren’t, and it’s all thanks to the middle and how it presented the characters. The ending really does make you want to throw down this book and quickly grab the next so you don’t lose anything. It was just done beautifully.
1) Vraggen. He is just so… boring. He really does seem original or great but it doesn’t really matter. Because you soon learn he isn’t the main villain, which is a relief.
2) Vraggen’s Henchmen. You would never have thought them to be what they turn out to be. Even looking back at some of the really “telling” moments, you would have never have picked up that they are so different.
3) Artwork. The cover art is interesting. I do like the half view of Cale’s face, it works really well. The globe is an interesting touch to. However, the background is just weird. What the heck is it? Some dragon thing? But there isn’t any dragons in the story, so what is it?
The story is great. The characters are superb and having you actually being to like the characters really make this story great. The only problems I had were Magadon and his strangely loyal behavior, and Jak’s annoying behavior.