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  • Writer's pictureTabitha Tomala

Pale Night, Red Fields by Joseph John Lee 2023 SFINCs Book Review

SFINCS 2023 Championship Banner
SFINCS 2023 Championship Banner

This review is part of the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship (SFINCS). SFINCS, pronounced “sphinx”. This is a yearly competition to recognize, honor, and celebrate the talent and creativity present in the indie community. It’s a sister competition to both SPFBO and SPSFC, and it highlights greatness in the novella format in all areas of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.).

To see more information on my team Behind the Musings check out this post!

Pale Night, Red Fields by Joseph John Lee  book cover
Pale Night, Red Fields by Joseph John Lee

Blurb for Pale Night, Red Fields

The threads of fate are not so easily unwoven.

There is a growing fascination among the Dusk Tribe with the land of the dead. The Tribe's shamans work tirelessly day and night to find a path to communion with their people's lost souls, but answers are slow to uncover.

As both the son of a shaman and the Tribe's only Futureseer, Zarrow is ordered to view the days and weeks ahead to reveal the source of the Tribe's successful discovery, but when he does so, he finds not celebration, but destruction. Devastation. Sacrifice. And those closest to him bloodied by it all. Zarrow must find a way to prevent his visions from coming to pass, and he must do so quickly.

For the pale night approaches, and it promises a curse that may leave the Dusk Tribe forever haunted.


Book Review for Pale Night, Red Fields

Obsessed with their own ambitions, the shamans of Dusk Tribe will stop at nothing to commune with the dead. Even if it means sacrificing their own. When Zarrow uses his foresight to look into the tribe's future, he sees death and destruction. The tribe is one wrong move away from bloodshed and Zarrow has no idea how to stop it.

Joseph John Lee has crafted a world in which the Dusk Tribe sits at the very edge of chaos. From the start, readers can see how the tribe is breaking down from the inside. Those born under an Eclipse have been labeled the Eclipseborn. And they are shunned by the tribe. Zarrow is the only character who shows them acceptance. If anything goes wrong it is immediately thrown onto the Eclipseborn’s shoulders. No questions asked, even if there is no possibility of their involvement. And the tribe refuses to acknowledge the Eclipseborn have retained any sort of gift from their birth moon.

Readers are shown the abuse Eclipseborn endure and it is heartbreaking. Zarrow maintains a friendship with the Eclipseborn Kaurazi allowing readers to dive deeper into how the Eclipseborn feel defeated. And when a tribe member goes too far with their accusations the sparks are set. The reader’s emotions will be pulled along as the inevitable spiral begins. It doesn’t matter if the truth is plain before everyone's eyes, it’s just one more excuse to abuse the Eclipseborn.

Pale Night, Red Fields sets the stage for The Spellbinders and The Gunslingers series, laying down a foundation sure to tempt any reader into continuing. If you enjoy fantasy that falls on the darker side of the genre, give this novella a try.

To Purchase: Bookshop

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