Equinox is a very unique dark fantasy book, set in the eighteenth century, but in a world where people share their body between a day-self and a night-self. Towsey has created a thrilling mystery in a setting that is sure to draw readers in and enchant them. Massive thanks to Ad Astra at Head of Zeus for having me on the blog tour and sending me a finished copy for review. All opinions are my own.
RELEASE DATE: 12/05/2022
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: In this world, two souls inhabit a single body, one by day, one by night. But though they live alongside one another, their ends do not always align. For Special Inspector Morden, whose hunt for a dangerous witch takes him far from home, this will be a problem…
Christophor Morden lives by night. His day-brother, Alexsander, knows only the sun. They are two souls in a single body, in a world where identities change with the rising and setting of the sun. Night-brother or day-sister, one never sees the light, the other knows nothing of the night.
Early one evening, Christophor is roused by a call to the city prison. A prisoner has torn his eyes out and cannot say why. Yet worse: in the sockets that once held his eyes, teeth are growing. The police suspect the supernatural, so Christophor, a member of the king’s special inspectorate, is charged with finding the witch responsible.
Night-by-night, Christophor’s investigation leads him ever further from home, toward a backwards village on the far edge of the kingdom. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more his day-brother’s actions frustrate him. Who is Alexsander protecting? What does he not want Christophor to discover?
And all the while, an ancient and apocalyptic ritual creeps closer to completion… (from Head of Zeus)
OPINIONS: I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky and unique take on dark fantasy, with elements adjacent to horror and tropes taken from the classic detective procedural. What makes Equinox stand out most is its world building – everyone is split into two separate people, a day-sibling and a night-sibling. These often have utterly different personalities and don’t share each other’s worldly attachments (so if a day-sibling is married, the night-sibling is not married to the night-equivalent of the day-spouse), which can lead to interesting entanglements, especially in terms of family and relationships. Our hero in this story, Christophor and Alexsander, is utterly different in night and day. Whereas Christophor is a detective, Alexsander is a musician – which the former does use to his own benefit over the course of the investigation, as Alexsander can go places where Christophor may not be able to go as openly.
This makes for an interesting narrative, though at times a confusing one. I appreciated the design choices ensuring that each section was marked with the day or night symbol mirroring the ones used in the cover design, but I can’t help but wish they’d taken a page out of the German edition of The Never-ending Story that I grew up with, and used different font colours for day and night. But alas, that is an expensive production extra, and may be more reasonable in case Equinox ever gets a special edition.
Equinox is fast-paced and compelling, though I found myself more invested in characters over plot. However, the pacing is well-done, so it never feels like the plotting drags or the mystery is too transparent, which makes the story read well to both the casual reader and the reader looking to dive deep into all of the lore mentioned within the story and immerse themself. It is a book that I would definitely recommend – if you like the darker side of humanity and a gripping read, do check this one out.