3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Light in the Dark follows Alara, an angelic being who took an interest in the beings of the Earthen Realm and chose to give up her wings to live among them. Amongst mortals, she is known as a devi, a being that can die and reincarnate in perpetuity. She has lived in the Earthen Realm for thousands of years, and, in that time, she has died many times and lived many lives.
She is the commander of a security team known as the Southern Irregulars in her current life. Shortly after she and her team rescued Kyrillis, the rightful heir of the Gyladran Empire, from her centuries-old imprisonment in the Pyramid of Dusk, Alara's best friend, Nin, was kidnapped by vampires while on patrol. The vampires let Nin's partner go and left him a cryptic, ominous message only Alara could read.
I love the subtlety with which Lori Hyrup describes traumatic events. The vague way she details the traumatic experiences some characters suffered is a nice contrast to the intensity of the book's plot. Sensitive readers will also appreciate the list of triggering words and events at the beginning of the book.
I also enjoyed the book's theme of friendship. Alara is a friend that goes above and beyond for her friends, and it's lovely to see such love and commitment demonstrated in platonic relationships.
Giving people the benefit of the doubt and not painting everyone with the same brush is another charming aspect of the book. For example, the shadow elves are infamous for being duplicitous. Yet, Alara didn't let their notoriety impede her relationship with them.
That being said, my main grouse with the book is that the characters rarely had room to breathe and just be—if they are not fighting, they are gearing up for a fight. The non-stop action was overwhelming. It also doesn't help that the weight of the entire plot rests on Alara. Whatever I know about the other characters, I learned through her interactions with them. As a result, they seemed more like props included to showcase how loving and accepting Alara is rather than people with their own personalities. Alara is depicted as a flawless person with nothing but love in her heart, making her one-dimensional. Her angelic perfection needs to be balanced with a dynamic, multifaceted character for a richer, more nuanced story. She simply lacks the depth and layers required to carry a long story in her current form.
Another weak point is the number of details I had to digest. The number of trivial characters and sun elves, shadow elves, moon elves, gnomes, dragons, liches, vampires, and other creatures I had to keep with was daunting. Such a diverse cast would have made more sense on a visual medium where I don't have to struggle to imagine how they look. In this case, while I'm trying to conjure a mental image of a creature, another one gets introduced. Constantly trying to keep up with them all drove my mind into a frenzy.
Conclusively, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. The book's plot is creative, and the editing is neat. However, it just didn't hold my interest. Readers with a penchant for action-packed fantasy novels with prominent female characters will find the book a worthwhile read. However, if you consider light descriptions of same-sex relationships and excessive violence a turnoff, you might want to look elsewhere.
Light in the Dark
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon