Friday, June 1, 2018

Bright Burns the Night by Sara B Larson, 2018

Spoiler Warning: this is the second book in a duology. Click here to read my review of the first book, Dark Breaks the Dawn.

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Ten years ago, King Lorcan of the Dark Kingdom Dorjhalon defeated Queen Evelayn and cut her conduit stone from her. Since then, he has kept her trapped in her swan form. With the loss of balance between Dark and Light, winter has descended and the Draíolon of Éadrolan lose more power every day. But once a year, Lorcan transforms her back to her Draíolon form and offers a truce. And every year Evelayn refuses -- for he requires her to Bind herself to him for life.

But now, with an Ancient power bearing down upon them, everything may change. Evelayn will learn that the truths she once believed have shattered, and that she may need her enemies even more than her allies. Lorcan and Evelayn become partners in a desperate quest to return the balance of power to Lachalonia. How far will this partnership go? Can friendship -- perhaps even love -- bloom where hatred has taken root?

Sara B. Larson delivers a thrillingly romantic and hauntingly satisfying end to this extraordinary duology.

(320 pages)

Whew. What a ride. I can't remember being this emotionally invested in a book's characters in a long time. I really cared about them, and their stories. Evelayn and Lorcan's relationship was particularly fascinating to read.

That said, I fully recognize the flaws in the story. The insta-love issues I had with the first book are even worse in this one, and the plot largely consists of a bunch of characters running through the woods with their target and the antagonist both quite vaguely defined.

But in Bright Burns the Night, it just kind of works. I don't think anyone is going to categorize this series as fine literature anytime soon, but they're just plain fun to read–and Bright is much more fun even than its prequel.

I have some issues with Evelayn's love life in this book, which is basically entirely different from the first one, and I think it's really dumb how fast she moves on from literally being turned into a swan for ten years. Her and Lorcan's relationship is extremely unrealistic.

But still. It's fun to read. And really, that's all I want for a book. Bright Burns the Night didn't just keep me tied to the page while I was reading–it also stayed in my mind for several days, as I rolled the story around in my head and relished some of the most striking scenes and characters. It's a story that has staying power, and I love that. And that's not even mentioning the fascinating magic system, where characters can smell emotions and royals can shapeshift.

I can't delve much into the plot because most of it is just the characters in the woods, and then the end has spoilers, but I did find the ending rather confusing. I like it, but I have some questions about what actually happened and how certain things will work in the future.

Honestly, looking at the story objectively, I feel like I probably shouldn't review it quite as highly as I do. But I loved the experience of reading it, so that counts for a lot. If you like what you hear about the duology, then check it out for yourself and let me know if your impressions are the same as mine!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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