In the land of Eivar, music and magic were once woven together inextricably. But when a small contingent of the Seers—poets who performed enchantments through song—turned to forbidden blood-magic, Davyd the Dreamweaver was forced to strip all Seers and poets of their magic: “A word was a word, no more.” Yet generations later, poems and their words retain nearly the same power as spells: Empires are built and undermined by poets who often wield more influence than even their royal sponsors. Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel Last Song Before Night tracks a group of young poets and their muses (their loves and enemies) as they unwittingly play into a prophecy to bring the magic back to Eivar.
The very words that Last Song Before Night venerates, protects, and unearths in turn shape the structure of the book itself. The narrative arcs and the characters adopt the style of the words they describe—that is, the epic poetry written and performed by both aspiring poets and disgraced Seers. Last Song Before Night reads less like a novel and more like the kind of song poets would sing, strumming their harps with fingers bedecked with Academy rings, about how the youngest generation of poets overturned the city of Tamryllin’s history of poetry and privilege.