Despite being the third book published in the “Opal Charm” series, “Opal Charm: The Path to Dusk” is actually a prequel that follows Opal’s older brother Jermaine as he comes into the power called Twilight that runs in the Charm family.
However, just because this book is a prequel, it doesn’t neccessarily mean that you need to read this book first, if you haven’t already read the other two books in the series, “Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn” and “Opal Charm: Hope in Nautical Dusk.” It became a situation, in my opinion, similar to the “Redwall” books. There are multiple different ways you could read them. You could read them in the order published (“Path to Dawn” —> “Hope in Nautical Dusk” —> “Path to Dusk”), you could read them chronologically (“Path to Dusk” —> “Path to Dawn” —> “Hope in Nautical Dusk”), or you could start with “Path to Dawn,” bounce back in time and read “Path to Dusk” and then move on to “Hope in Nautical Dusk.” Ultimately the choice is up to you.
Having read the books in the order published myself, it’s was really great to see how the characters were different in “The Path to Dusk.” They’re younger, they haven’t experience the pain of losing a sibling and child. As the third installment, it’s retrospectively showing us the character development and personality shifts that happen following a tragedy. It was also really nice to see Jermaine and how he fit into the family dynamic, as in the other two books we only really see him as part of the other world, Athre, that he nearly died trying to save.
Another thing that I find indescribably enjoyable is the ability to catch little bits of foreshadowing, because I’ve already read the other two books, I know what the ultimate outcome of this book has to be.
On a structural level, I really loved how the book flowed. While it’s not a book you can really zoom through, it’s pacing is excellent and the chapters, while varying in length, never feel unmanageably long. The chapters encapsulate what they need to, without dragging into the unnecessary.
Furthermore, LGBTQ characters abound as always. Adaeze who first appeared in “Path to Dawn” is asexual and we meet her girlfriend, Lavanda, in “Path to Dusk”! Additionally, Limbani, a disabled trans girl who first appears in “Hope in Nautical Dusk,” also makes an appearance!
If you’ve read the other books you’ll know Adaeze and Lavanda are no longer together and I have to say there was a very small part of me that was worried Lavanda was going to die, but she didn’t! They do break up but there are no buried gays.
The only warnings I can really think of at the moment are for general fantasy violence, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from this kind of young adult novel.
“Opal Charm: The Path to Dusk” will be released on September 3rd and can be preordered here!
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