Written by: K.D. Edwards.
Reviewed by: Keturah Barchers
The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards is an action-packed urban fantasy that combines the legend of Atlantis and a collage of mythical beasts and other fantastical elements into the mystical world of tarot. The political and socioeconomic system of this world is a hierarchy based on the names and meanings of tarot cards—meaning that the tarot represents people and royal houses. Rune Saint John is the last surviving Arcana of Sun Court and a hitman for The Tower, a powerful magician. As the story goes on it is clear that there’s more to Rune than even he understands, and his own power is a force that all must be reckoned with. Rune and his Companion sidekick, Brand, spend the entire book throwing sarcastic angst at everyone, including each other, while they tear apart villains and enjoy baked goods.
Edwards has sparkling descriptions that begin on page one: “They were young, drugged, and blankly beautiful. I banked my distaste at this…”, and flow in and out of the narrative. Small history lessons surround different structures that were acquired by the Atlanteans, which roots the world into our reality and gives legitimacy to the long lives his characters have. It’s a nice subtle tactic that serves Edwards’s storytelling well. The ending of The Last Sun is complete and satisfying, while still setting the reader up for a series. There is no cliffhanger and that is delightful.
The concept of this story is fun and the characters have potential. Unfortunately, neither the fun or the characters are fully realized, although they are close. In many places in the story, the angst that Rune and Brand have towards each other is entertaining. There are several times that Rune’s sarcasm and snarky comments to other characters or situations are well timed and may even earn a chuckle. However, there is such a thing as too much angst, sarcasm, and snark. Instead of enhancing these three things working together creates an unrealistic hyperbole that is more exhausting than entertaining. Part of what causes the exhaustion is the consistent f-bombs. One can’t read three pages without being accosted by at least one, and only one in fifteen is needed to keep the reader in tune with who the characters are.
The dynamic between Rune and Brand is intriguing, and because Rune keeps saying that Brand is one of the most important people in his life, one expects to see a full-bodied character. It is, however, a broken promise. The reader is told how much the two love one another, and that Brand’s loyalty to Rune has less to do with the magical bond between them and more about true friendship. What the reader sees is Brand’s persistent and barely contained rage and Rune’s persistent tactics to disregard or redirect Brand. There is only one tender moment between them, but it goes nowhere. The result is two deflated character arcs that take the rest of the story-goodies with them.