Last Rites (Darkling Mage #6), Nazri Noor
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Tags: Magic, Necromancy, Mythology, Entities/Dieties, Action, Gay MC, Series
Length: 273 Pages
Dustin Graves can’t get a break. Murdering an Old One was only the beginning. Enraged, the Eldest have answered with searing rains of ivory fire from the stars, threatening Valero and the world itself. The madness must be stopped.Ancient gods of prophecy, death, and darkness themselves answer the call for battle. But the secret to saving the world lies closer to Dustin’s heart than he knows: a ritual sacrifice, meant to end the suffering. After all… what’s one life against the fate of billions?If you like snarky heroes, snappy dialogue, and a bit of grit and gore, you’ll love the sixth book in Nazri Noor’s series of urban fantasy novels. Explore the Darkling Mage universe and discover Last Rites today.
It’s carnival time in Valero and the Boneyard boys are out enjoying themselves. Dustin is sucking at winning prizes, Sterling doesn’t let him off the hook about it either, and before they know it, their ongoing motto of carpe noctem turns into a shit sandwich. These guys need to learn to stay in.
The Eldest, those pesky and powerful beings that want to control/destroy the earth as we know it, who don’t give one hoot about the veil between the arcane and humans, also don’t care about downtime or fun for anyone.
Right at the outset it’s all hands on deck to keep the shrikes and their overlords from creating havoc, and they do some damage before the Boneyard fight back and the Lorica join in, then comes the obligatory and difficult clean-up, but you know they’re coming back for Dustin. He can’t be let off too easily.
There are some thick and fast attacks by the Eldest. Dustin gets to meet some more entities and supernatural beings like Baba Yaga and Izanami.
“I fear that terrible things are coming your way, boy,” Baba Yaga said.
“Tell me something I don’t already know. The Eldest are coming, and they mean business this time.” I raised my chin. “And my name is Dustin Graves.”
Baba Yaga scoffed.
In his search for gifts to those who ask for it, for the knowledge Dustin needs, there are some rather specifically disturbing requirements.
Madam Chien was right. Even a bazaar as diverse and – well, bizarre as the Black Market didn’t trade in things like the breath of the dying, or the screams of those in truest pain.
There is also another of the Eldest’s finest coming Dustin’s way.
“The hell is that?” I muttered.
“This one is named Shtuttasht,” Izanami said, her voice laced with both fear and reverence. “The Overthroat.”
Plenty of the regulars are in Last Rites. I always love Sterling, but now I have this massive soft spot for Asher. He has a sweet disposition and he’s also a fierce necromancer, all in the one non-jaded package. Keeping doing you, Asher.
**Personal rant: I’ve noticed a couple of reviews noting a problem with Dustin being gay. No, it isn’t mentioned previously, but why should it be? Newsflash, people of all sexual identities or orientations exist and they’re allowed to get into relationships, and they’re allowed to exist in the UF and fantasy mainstream genres. I’m glad that feelings aren’t completely neglected in any book, but if you’re worried, it’s way off in the background and the action is to the fore. I agree with my sci-fi/sci-fantasy reviewing colleague John’s sentiments – ‘books where there is no personal connection or sentiments, even some sex to relieve tension, are not real, and sexual orientation should never matter, good content should’. The content in this book, this series, is good. Just for fellow readers who want to know, there is absolutely no sex in this series, not even close. There is no fuss about Dustin and Herald in the writing either. Dustin and Herald have feelings for one another. Big deal. Logically, given the number of characters, someone in this series being LGBTQ is on target for the population. I didn’t hear shock or horror about Gil being heterosexual, and a werewolf, and being in a relationship with Prudence, an arcane human. One more thing. Dustin goes to a bar and the Fuck-Tons are the drag queen owners – Imperial and Metric, loved their names. It was a small part of one chapter of thirty-five chapters, and Dustin had been sent there like the Black Market or the Midnight Convocation. It was fun and it was what it was, part of the series that fit the book. Viva diversity in writing and reading! Hopefully it fuels more openness in UF/fantasy writing and reading. To homophobic readers, grow up is my overall sentiment to you. **Personal rant over.
Dustin definitely has a lot on his plate and sacrifices are made, very painful ones. Ones that make me unsure how certain skill-sets can be compensated for, or if it’s a temporary situation. I can’t say anymore without spoiling the book. The Boneyard has Dustin’s back, and Dustin has grown a big pair along the way, too. The Lorica are proving to be a help and a hindrance as the series progresses, depending on who it is within that organisation we’re talking about. Some of the entities/dieties prove to be frustratingly apathetic in a situation that affects them as well.
Another good addition to the Darkling Mage series, Last Rites leads into a difficult arcane time ahead for Dustin… some interesting connections with those around him as well, and I know it will be painful for Dustin before it (hopefully) gets better, mwahahaha. Run, Dust. Ruuun….
Bring on the rest of the series. 4 Stars.
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