Marie Brennan's Turning Darkness Into Light is a delightful fantasy of manners, the heir to the award-winning Natural History of Dragons series, a perfect stepping stone into an alternate Victorian-esque fantasy landscape.
"Overwhelmingly fun."io9 on The Tropic of Serpents
As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.
When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, Audrey must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
MARIE BRENNAN is an anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She is the author of several acclaimed fantasy novels including A Natural History of Dragons; The Onyx Court Series: Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, A Star Shall Fall, and With Fate Conspire; Warrior; and Witch. Her short stories have appeared in more than a dozen print and online publications.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
LOVED this book. The story reveals itself through a format similar to Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Dorothy L. Sayers' Documents in the Case, which is fun. This is not an easy format to pull off -- the author can't just create a variety of interesting characters, she also has to write in their distinctive voices. Ms. Brennan pulls it off beautifully. The main characters are trying to decipher an ancient text -- which means that, in addition to creating the fictional world in which the characters live and work, Ms. Brennan also had to create an entire mythical origin-of-the-world story that feels real and sounds ancient. Wow. Interesting characters, plot twists, amazing world-building (and religion-building, too) all in a well-paced read. Enjoy!!!
Turning Darkness Into Light is the latest novel from Marie Brennan, and it’s set in the world of her other novel, Memoirs of Lady Trent. That being said, you honestly don’t have to have read the other one first in order to understand what is happening. I didn’t and was fine. Though I’m sure I missed out on plenty of references that fans would have loved. Turning Darkness into Light follows Isabella Camherst’s granddaughter, Audrey Camherst. Her goal is to translate and understand ancient Draconean texts – and she’s quite good at it too. Unfortunately, her work goes deeper than expected, and before long she’s in for a journey of her life. This novel has to be one of the most unique things I’ve read as of late. You see, this novel isn’t quite like any other. At least, not quite like what you normally see in the world of fantasy. In the world of history it’s probably a lot more common. Turning Darkness Into Light is told entirely through the use of letters, newspaper clippings, journal entries, and other unique media formats. It’s quite clever, how Marie Brennan was able to weave a story through these pieces as she did. Turning Darkness Into Light was a unique and exquisite reading experience. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before, and I don’t expect to see a story in this format again anytime soon. I loved how unique and refreshing it was. It was interesting to see such a unique storytelling method applied to a novel of this tone. The two blended rather well, actually. Giving off a feeling of an older story. I don’t really need to explain why the storytelling method worked so well in that instance, do I? Plus, it isn’t every day that you see a novel that is both part of a series/world and a standalone novel. I’ll probably go on to read Memoirs of Lady Trent next. But I’ll be curious to see how those that read the novels in the opposite order feel about the story. This novel started out rather formal and at an almost soothing pace. But things quickly sped up in the life of Audrey Camherst. I loved all of the twists and turns that followed, and it was interesting to learn of Audrey through the letters she wrote. Though I already mentioned that bit. Audrey’s character was exceptionally endearing. She’s brilliant and determined to live up to such a legacy (her grandmother, Isabella Camherst). Her character doesn’t quite fit in with the age of the story – meaning she’s bolder than women should be. And I adored that about her. It was brilliant reading about the Draconean lore and everything else that Audrey was researching. But more than that, I loved the politics surrounding said research. And how everyone seemed to have a different goal, motive, or method. All things considered, Turning Darkness Into Light was a brilliant and fascinating read. And it was quite the experience, too. I’m glad I took the time to read it. Though part of me wishes I hadn’t read it quite so quickly!
Marie Brennan is back once more in the world of Lady Trent with her newest novel, Turning Darkness Into Light. While TDiL follows the granddaughter of the famous Lady Trent, this is not merely a rehash of the same themes we saw in the first series. Audrey is her own person with her own goals… and a heavy familial legacy to live up to. I was impressed not only by Audrey, but also the side characters: Kudshayn and Cora. Told in the form of letters and journal entries, this book has drawn me in from the first page – Brennan has not only met the standard her original series set, but surpassed it. This is a character-driven novel with a writing style similar to the Lady Trent series, but with a new and novel mixed media approach to the story. Audrey Camherst 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 letters back home from Kudshayn, letters to friends by Cora, and clippings of newspapers following large socially important events. Audrey has in part taken up her grandmother’s mantle in that she, too, is an avid researcher. Rather than being a dragon naturalist, however, she’s a historian; she’s fascinated by the ancient Draconean culture. She’s a linguist who studies their language and writings, investigates artifacts, and works with various museums with their collections. Naturally, she does tend to attract trouble much as her dear grandmama managed back in her day. “I thought I was obliged, as Lady Trent’s granddaughter, to sneer at all things feminine and frilly. I made the mistake once of saying something about that in Grandmama’s hearing, and oh, did she ever set me down hard. She didn’t raise her voice. She only explained to me, very calmly, that if any obligation accrued to me as her granddaughter, then it was to acknowledge the right of any person to pursue their own dreams instead of the ones I felt they ought to have.” Between the events of Lady Trent and Turning Darkness into Light, it was discovered that a small population of Draconeans are, in fact, still alive – which forms the political backdrop of this novel. What’s more, a landmark set of tablets depicting one of the earliest Draconean creation myths has additionally been unearthed by one Lord Gleinleigh, a private collector of Draconean artifacts… and when he needs a translator, adding the famous Camherst/Trent name seems like the best option to bring him fame and legitimacy. With a senate vote coming up regarding the fate and independence of the Draconeans, the content of the tablets rapidly becomes an important social topic. Lord Gleinleigh, being involved in politics himself, has a large stake in their contents as the collection is likely to win him power and influence. “SCIRLAND, UNITE! The reptilian threat has arrived early on our fair shores. Not content to wait for the great gathering next winter to determine their fate, they have sent an advance EMISSARY, and in grotesque style—flying alone in a caeliger meant for the use of HUMAN BEINGS.”