Thank you, Julia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of Turning Darkness into light by Marie Brennan for free in exchange for an honest review. This is the second to last book for dragon week and then we are onto all things spooky who is ready for Halloween?
How cute is this book I mean look at the baby dragons.
Let me first say I was very impressed with the way Brennan was able to convey so much information in epistolary format. Marie has managed to expand upon the world of Memoirs of Lady Trent and more, and it’s safe to say fans of the series will be very happy with this novel.
This is a character-driven novel with a writing style similar to the Lady Trent series, but with a new and epistolary approach to the story. The book is told in a variety of styles, the contemporary, many letters and some newspaper articles. I enjoyed the variety of different storytelling styles. Little side note Turning Darkness into Light is a standalone and can be read without any reading the Lady Trent series.
Audrey is the primary narrator, and the bulk of the novel is told via her diary entries. However, in addition to that, we see sneak peeks into other characters and the world at large through the epistolary style. Audrey’s point of view is occasionally interposed by Kudshayn as the story builds and builds around this translation of tablets to a great crescendo, involving a variety of characters and criminal activity.
You may be asking who is this Audrey I've mentioned well she is Lady Trent's granddaughter. Audrey is an interesting character that felt true to her age and place in the world. Audrey is a young but an accomplished academic, however, she has the burden of famous relatives that she feels the need to live up to. Despite that manages to be her own person, with her own interests and desires. Audrey was likeable, she took risks and she knew that she needed help. That help came in the shape of Kudshayn, Kudshayn is wonderful and a gift to us readers she provided new insight into his people’s history, culture, and way of life, down to the unique ways Draconeans communicate.
This book has a slight feminist tone throughout and the main protagonist, Audrey is commissioned to study and translate some rare tablets recently found. From this book alone I can tell that Marie has a beautiful talent writing distinct, fascinating, smart and yet humanly imperfect characters. As Audrey starts to translate the ancient tablets from a long-lost Draconean civilisation in a place where anti-Draconean feeling seems to be on the rise, and treachery could be lurking on every corner.
One of the main highlights was the as the draconic mythology and the story of the Four who hatched from a single shell. I was smiling to myself so much through this book I loved where the story went, how Audrey grew and handled everything. Also, I enjoyed the ending of the book and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me appreciate the building blocks sprinkled in earlier in the story. Marie makes a really good point about how prejudice isn't something only extremists engage, and the subtle, non-violent kind is just as dangerous as the unsubtle the two are tied together and one can't exist without the other.