Last Song Before Night | Thoughts
I picked up Last Song Before Night with high hopes, expecting something along the lines of Pat Rothfuss, with an even heavier focus on musicians and settings akin to The Eolian.
It's my own fault, really, for setting that bar so high. Myer gives us several POVs to follow, all confusing, none really memorable.
We have Lin, whom the jacket would have us believe is the MC, but she felt more like a secondary character. Lin is a wealthy noblewoman fleeing her cruel brother, masquerading as a man in order to play the harp and perform with other poets in the city.
Darien Aldemoor, dashing poet and the envy of all his peers, best of his generation, is competing for the Silver Branch, a token that gives him a position of honor at court and puts him next in line for Court Poet at the right hand of the king. Another bonus, he will be able to present a true offer of marriage to the love of his life, Rianna Gelvan.
Rianna is sweet and naive, understanding nothing of how the world works outside her father's luxurious home. This is no fault of her own, and she never comes off as annoying or spoiled, just innocent.
Marlen Humbrelieh is the villain of the tale, once best friend to Darien Aldemoor. His betrayal during the contest for the Silver Branch sees him triumphant, though the price is the sacrifice of his friendships and any honor he believed himself to hold.
When Lin receives a warning about dark enchantments finding their way into the world once more, she sets out with Darien Aldemoor on a journey to find The Path—a way to the Otherworld, that has only been found once before in history. The way is lost save for one clue—it lies in the mountains. They are hunted by Marlen Humbrelieh, who is pressured by the Court Poet to find Darien Aldemoor before he finds The Path.
Wondering why I have to keep saying Darien Aldemoor and Marlen Humbrelieh? Isn't it enough, now that I've introduced them once, to just call them by their first names?
YEA, IT IS. But for some reason, Myer felt it necessary to give us their whole names every single time a chapter in their POV started. Just these two...not all characters. Which begs a question of consistency in her preferred methods of storytelling, but I'll let that one go since it was an incredibly annoying aspect. It helped keep readers detached from the characters, as if we never got to know them well enough to call them by just their first names.
Though the pacing was fine, the story did not flow well. I felt jerked around in time and place, and not just by the switch of POV. Months could pass or hours, and what I think was an attempt at a slow reveal really just came off as poor storytelling. I'm glad I finished, as the characters finally do some interesting things at the end, but I was wholly unimpressed.
Two highlights that kept me reading were, funny enough, Marlen Humbrelieh and Rianna Gelvan. They were the only two I felt had any character development, and the mental struggles Marlen faces were interesting to watch evolve. Rianna, too, comes a long way from the pampered girl she is at the start, though we don't start seeing any action with her until the last third.
Boring, disconnected, and falling emotionally flat, I'll have to go to Kvothe and his lute for comfort and leave Darien Aldemoor and his harp far, far behind.