Friday, January 28, 2011

Review: Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Hardcover, 312 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by HarperTeen
ISBN13: 9780061575402

Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt.

Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.

When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power.

Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.

With breathtakingly high stakes, the talented Lesley Livingston delivers soaring romance and vividly magical characters in Darklight, the second novel in the trilogy that began with Wondrous Strange.
I read Wondrous Strange last year and really enjoyed it but for some reason, I didn't jump right into Darklight right away. I think I had too much on the go at the time. But then I got Tempestuous, the last book in this series by Lesley Livingston, for review and I knew I had to catch up with what was happening with Kelley Winslow, Sonny Flannery, et al. Am I ever glad I did!

Reading Darklight reminded me why I had been captivated with the first book: the way Ms. Livingston writes. These books are considered Young Adult, but I don't find the writing overly simplistic, nor are the scenarios involved, drawn with no small measure of tribute to Shakespeare, dull. The story moves from modern day New York to the Otherworld quite seamlessly. It's in the descriptions that the author outdoes herself; you can almost feel the difference in the contrasts of the "concrete jungle" versus the lush, verdant Summer Court or the icy majesty of the Winter Court, and so on. This lends some credence to the legends of mortals being tricked into Faery submission. Really, who wouldn't want to live in such a magickal place, where death is rare?

With a blend of New Yorkers and Faery royalty, Livingston will competently maintain the pompous talk of Kings and Queens, then throw in a word like "ass-hat" that makes you giggle at the juxtaposition. I found her use of metaphors quite entertaining also. She writes on page 227, "So many thoughts and questions tumbled about in her head like puzzle pieces in a box shaken by a child who just wanted to hear them rattle." This is a fantastic image and avoids the typical reference to "deafening silence" etc.

It has been a while since reading Wondrous Strange, but I think I liked Darklight better than the first. Maybe the climactic scene at the theatre or the mystery surrounding Fennrys or Auberon's ailment or the hooded figure's identity, or the combination of all of these that made this an exciting read. Being the middle book of a series can sometimes be a detriment, but not in Darklight's case. It has plenty to keep you interested, not just acting as a bridge to the last book (though there is some bridging of the story involved).

I'm not sure that I would recommend it as a stand alone book, but that's just because I love this series and I think everyone should read all of the books as soon as possible. I give Lesley Livingston two very large thumbs up, and move on to Tempestuous with a bit of a heavy heart as I know the story will end there.

To get a little more info on Tempestuous (and its author), my interview with Lesley can be found here.


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