Review: Wings of Twilight by Hans Cummings

Wings of Twilight (The Foundation of Drak-Anor, #1)Wings of Twilight by Hans Cummings

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.25 stars for those who prefer precision rating.

Wings of Twilight is delicious, chewy brain candy that doesn’t taste quite the way a first impression would lead you to expect. Think of it as a trick jelly bean but not one of the awful ones. It’s a tart, tasty treat that looks like butterscotch but surprises you with lemony essence instead.

This is pure, straightforward D&D-style fantasy. The dual plot pits the monsters who inhabit a dungeon against a party of adventurers seeking treasure and victory against evil. The author puts a fun spin on it by letting readers see both sides of the impending conflict. The monsters are dealing with betrayal within their ranks, so their story is a kind of police mystery, while the adventurers’ quest to reach the dungeon involves a clash between moral absolutes and the muddy ambiguity of real life.

But don’t let that high-falutin’ description put you off. Wings of Twilight is a light read full of humor, action, jokes and set pieces that let the characters develop.

Well. Development might be stretching it. I did mention the D&D-style aspect, right? The characters’ personalities and abilities are defined by species and vocation, and they behave according to moral codes based on those options. This isn’t a story to read for deep insights into the nature of life, love, and Deeper Meanings. It’s a book that wants to be read for comfort and giggles. It does exactly that.

One thing I must mention; just as even the best jelly beans leave a sticky odd aftertaste in my mouth, this story did require swallowing down some “not-this-again” stereotypes and plot ideas. Nothing pushed the envelope of my tolerance, but if gender-based jokes old enough to have gray whiskers and questionable (in my mind anyway) relationship advice rile you up, this book might not be the best fit.

There are mysteries, tragedies, and discoveries, the character interplay is entertaining, and the plot wraps nicely in ways that leave plenty of room for future stories to grow. In summary, it’s all good, and the next book is on my to-read list.
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