The Darker Light by Lynn McCain finds Lily in the midst of deep dissatisfaction and restlessness. Although she has tried to forget the trials and tribulations of Arcadia, she somehow feels even more out of place in the world she belongs in now. Soon, however, she is summoned back to Arcadia by a terrible prophecy that she has to fulfill. She has to defeat a foe much more powerful than Reciful this time around. All the while facing the possibility of a tragic betrayal from the one she holds closest to her heart.
Since she has had her memories removed, she has to relearn all the tragedies of her past. Henry, Calev, and her grandfather all had been hiding dark secrets from her that haunt Lily for the rest of the story. However, she meets and befriends some fantastical new characters that assist her in the journey, like Lord Bran.
The plot of The Darker Light is fascinating because there is an inherent greyness to the characters that comes from being held helpless against a prophecy. Although Lilith is conducting horrible misdeeds, I could still feel a modicum of empathy towards her. Everyone seemed to be doing the best they could to protect themselves and fight for their loved ones.
It was also fascinating watching Arcadia unfold from Lily’s best friend, Clarice’s perspective. There was a pleasing contrast between Lily’s recognition of this fantastical place and Clarice’s wonder. I appreciated this subtle shift in perspective that was present throughout the story. Calev, Henry, Lillith, everyone was allowed to present their own views on the situation. It made for a story with a lot of depth and intrigue.
Like the previous installment, this story had some strong Narnia resemblances: everything from the evil queen to the different anthropomorphic creatures. There were a barrage of characters being introduced every other chapter and it could get a little confusing, but the plot remained crystal clear and quick-paced. The Darker Light is perfect for anyone who is home for a few days and looking for a Narnia-esque adventure.
Pages: 298 | ASIN: B07592DFKG
Neither Light Nor Dark follows Lily who has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of Reficul. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
I honestly had a dream that I could not escape from. I sat down one night and poured it out into my laptop. Over time I got inspiration from everywhere- other books, movies, music.
Lily is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to her character development?
I think finding out all of the lies about her former life and learning how to deal with her new future definitely helped make her into the girl that she becomes. This is more obvious in book two, The Darker Light.
I loved the fairytale-esque lore embedded in this world. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?
I love fairytales! C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book that I remember falling in love with. His world definitely inspired me to go in that direction. The whole idea of us having a predetermined destiny was a big part of the story. I wanted the reader to ponder, “Do I have a choice?”
This is book one in the Beyond the Gates series. What can readers expect in book two of the series, The Darker Light?
Book two is full of surprises. So many things about the characters are revealed that you will find yourself wondering who to trust. Lily is taken back into Arcadia where she is faced with a past that she never knew existed. The journey is harsh but new friends are made and old ones are reunited. Book two is my favorite. I feel like lily really grows up in this one.
YA Fantasy fiction full of surprises. This is a story about a girl, the man she loves, the boy who stole her heart, and Reficul, the evil ruler that stands to ruin it all. Lily Channon gets caught up in a war only she has the power to stop. The only problem is she doesn’t know why or even how. Her quest for answers leads her on a journey through love, crazy, hard to swallow, painful betrayal, and has deadly consequences. Will she find her place? Will she be willing to give what is required of her? Does love really exist, or is EVERYONE a liar? Find out what happens in this exciting book.
Neither Light Nor Dark is about the journey of a young girl, Lily, who unknowingly bears the weight of an immense prophecy. It is an immersive fantasy novel that takes us through the incredible lands of Arcadia. From her childhood, Lily’s own family has protected her from the secrets of a dark and tumultuous past. However, her destiny reveals itself soon enough. She has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of the loathsome Reficul. A ragtag group of friends follow her as they face troubles, misadventures, and battles.
This was an enjoyable and unique read because of the strange fairytale-like narration throughout. The descriptions of Arcadia and its elements were elaborate and fascinating. The characters and their dialogue appeared to be out of another era altogether. However, perhaps because of these anachronisms, the text was a bit dry in places. Nonetheless, the consistent tone and style were a refreshing break from contemporary reads.
The complex relationships between Henry, Calev, and Lily were also surprisingly well-navigated. I’m not the biggest fan of garish love triangles but I was able to perceive and accept the individual perspective of each character, which was refreshing. I was astonished at how quickly I was able to jump ship between characters without too many regrets. I was definitely rooting for some of the quirky personalities that were woven throughout the story.
From the beginning, the family dynamics in Lily’s world appear to play a big role in her life. The strained relationships between Lily and her grandmother was palpable from the beginning. It was clear that these dynamics and relationships were intricately crafted. However, at times, it was difficult to establish a connection with some of the characters. I think this was because the dialogue and style of the characters were a little less believable than I would prefer. This story does take place in an entirely different time and place, and it is not difficult to ascribe this issue to the nature of the story.
Neither Light Nor Dark is a fantastically enthralling read, and a perfect setup to a riveting fantasy series.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B01LW35M4V