Tim Lebbon's "Dusk" was sometimes slow, but it was nevertheless an interesting and original dark fantasy, which ended with a lot of promise for the second installment of the story.
"Dawn" mostly wastes that promise. For the first three quarters of the book very little happens that moves the story forward in any significant way beyond how it was when we left off in Dusk. There are a lot of repetitive traveling scenes and several tedious scenes in which characters have meaningless visions. It is only in the last quarter that the book actually moves forward.
In that last quarter there are a few battle scenes which are admittedly quite good. But they do not succeed in making the book too much more exciting. Many of the characters tend to spend a lot of their time engaging in self-satisfied rants inside their own heads, often thinking remarkably philosophical and overly "deep" thoughts which aren't realistic representations of how people really think. The fact that it's a fantasy world doesn't change this. I found this same problem in Steven Erikson's "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series, only Malazan is still ten times better than this.
And Lebbon wastes time with his characterisation by having all of his characters completely ignorant about what they must do to counter the threat of the Mages. Instead, the world of Noreela itself does all the work and they simply go along with it, completely in the dark about what is happening or why. This removes any sense of heroism or nobility, because no one CHOOSES to do anything virtuous. That choice is always made for them and they don't even understand it once they have gone through with it.
Overall, these two books disappointed me. There were sparks of interest and originality in there, which I can grant separate Tim Lebbon from other authors as his own, unique voice. But I can never give a book a good review if it didn't captivate me and keep me wanting to read more - and unfortunately neither this book nor Dusk did that.