Charley is a cleaner by day and a professional gambler by night. She might be haunted by her tragic past but she's never thought o...

Review || Shrill Dusk by Helen Harper

Charley is a cleaner by day and a professional gambler by night. She might be haunted by her tragic past but she's never thought of herself as anything or anyone special. Until, that is, things start to go terribly wrong all across the city of Manchester. Between plagues of rats, firestorms and the gleaming blue eyes of a sexy Scottish werewolf, she might just have landed herself in the middle of a magical apocalypse. She might also be the only person who has the ability to bring order to an utterly chaotic new world. 

This is the first book in The City Of Magic series.


Authors love to imagine the end of the world. I put that in italics because, if you've read any of those books, it's rarely really the end of the world. Zombie apocalypse, biblical apocalypse, environmental apocalypse... (You'd think as many times as I just typed apocalypse that I would spell it right once, but NO.) Sure, maybe the end of civilization as we know it, but the Earth imploding? We'll leave that for sci-fi. 

Shrill Dusk has a premise not unheard of in urban fantasy: the magical apocalypse. (Nope, still got spellchecked in case you were wondering.) It's a normal day in Manchester when suddenly all things go to hell in a handbasket. Not literally of course, but close. There are hordes of rats, fire raining down, her roommate turns into a bunyip, plagues of insects, fairies and weres fighting in the street, and is that elephant?

Charley is a gambler with a heart of gold as the saying goes. She's actually a little hard to relate to. Even before the MA goes down, she's a little too nice for her own good. She takes on the debt of a fellow gambler and goes toe to toe against the local loan shark baddie for his sake, with no plan of how to get the money to pay him back.  Throughout the whole book, she's running out with no thought to her own safety to rescue people and bring them back to her house like she's running a boarding house for lost and broken paranormal creatures. She's quite naive and impulsive. You really quite want to smack her over the head with something in hopes of knocking some sense into her but...since she's a budding magical "enchantress" now that might not be the greatest of ideas. 

From page one, Shrill Dusk is a non-stop magical throwdown of weird, absurd, and nonsensical situations and that was its redeeming quality. There are a ton of characters marching their way through the plot and most of them are interesting enough, while some are entirely goofy, but still fun. Apparently, if you've read Box of Frogs by the author, I understand that all these characters may seem less thrown in. There's even a hint of a love interest and romantic tension with the super macho werewolf. I feel like there were a lot of loose ends but I guess that's why it's a series. Overall, it wasn't a bad way to spend a weekend and if you like your UF on the silly side, Shrill Dusk is for you.