Mr. Twilight

Mr. Twilight is an odd but irresistibly intriguing read of heaven, hell, magic and monsters. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and Michael Reaves play with several concepts to form a unique story. What if you were a powerful mage? What if you had a guardian angel and demon? What if the darkest nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft came through a rift in your backyard and only you could stop them?

The story stars Colin. Colin doesn’t have a last name. He doesn’t even know who his parents were. He was trained in the ways of magic at a place called the Scholomance. Now he lives in New York where he tries to use his supernatural talents to help others in need. In this pursuit he has two helpers: an angel named Zoel and a demon named Asdeon.

Colin isn’t the only protagonist, however. The other primary character in the story is Gabrielle. Gabrielle is a Navajo shaman working in New York as a curator at a museum. Her circumstances cause her to cross paths with Colin, and together they find themselves up against some powerful foes.

As if magic users, angels, and demons weren’t enough, enter H.P. Lovecraft. Or in this case Edgar Masterton, a writer inspired by Lovecraft. People begin encountering strange things…and even stranger deaths. There’s a book of ancient secrets akin to the necronomicon. There are portals opened allowing the Others access to the mortal plane. And of course there are tentacle monsters.

Together the myriad forces of wizard, shaman, angel, and demon face off against the Lovecraftian horrors. But Michael and Maya push the complexity level a bit farther by introducing an immensely powerful Indian spirit, some arch demons, and even Dracula. When the main plot wraps up, the story marches forward to a startling conclusion. The ending leaves the possibility for another book, but thankfully enough is resolved to leave this one satisfying. While not without flaws, Mr. Twilight was a very intriguing read and kept me turning the pages.

One thing that I think is worth pointing out for readers is the similarities between Mr. Twilight and Kevin Hearne’s The Iron Druid Chronicles series. Keep in mind Mr. Twilight was written years before Kevin Hearne’s series, and both probably owe some inspiration to Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. Regardless, it’s interesting to draw comparisons. Mr. Twilight has a female magic user in training name Gabrielle. The Iron Druid Chronicles has a magic user in training named Granuaile. The primary character in both series is a powerful, male magic user. They’re also both chronically pale (though Colin is more of a goth with his black hair, while Hearne’s protagonist is a red headed Irishman). Both books utilize supernatural characters including monsters and even the gods themselves. Both books also provide assistance to the main characters via supernatural entities. Furthermore, each book has a comedic sidekick (Asdeon the gangster imitating demon, and Oberon the talking dog).

There are a lot of other similarities, but more importantly are the differences. The tone of Mr. Twilight is much more similar to the later books in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Both of those didn’t have as much humor, and had a darker feeling to the story. On top of that, the wide array of mystical characters in Mr. Twilight didn’t mesh together as well as those in the Iron Druid Chronicles. The Lovecraftian aspects were done well. The heaven and hell aspects were done well. However the two worlds didn’t fit together very well. Every now and then they felt a little too disjointed. Still, both universes have some commonality, and fans of either one would find it worthwhile to cross-over.

Overall I give Mr. Twilight a healthy four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed by Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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