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Nether Light (The Feyrlands Collection) Kindle Edition
- ASIN : B088C593RV
- Publisher : Pitt Norton Publishing (May 27, 2020)
- Publication date : May 27, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 4181 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 658 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #786,187 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The story follows Guyen, a refugee who needs to find his way in the land of his enemy. We learn about the world through his point of view, and his perspective feels tinged with anger and a touch of hatred. Despite this, Guyen is also naïve and ready to help, trust, and forgive. Not the best combination when you have to deal with political intrigue, mature and experienced foes, and the world in general.
Stevens delves deep into Guyen’s mind, allowing readers to observe and discover how his perspective and the image of the world change. While convincing and dramatic, it’s also a slow process that will hinder the reading experience of those who won’t click with Guyen right away. Unfortunately, I’m in this group. As a result, I had to force myself to read through parts of the book and I’m convinced a slimming treatment would strengthen it.
Stevens’ writing throughout is vivid, with many noteworthy secondary characters, from Guyen’s close ones to Mist, an intriguing girl skilled with blades.
The world itself awed me with rich imagery and fascinating concepts (like almost limitless probability-based magic or the city’s dark and atmospheric setting). We discover it through the eyes of a young foreigner and he likes details. We get plenty of them. Probably too much. I would say the story really gets going around the 60-65% mark. Once you get there, you’ll probably start to turn the pages with growing interest. Before, though, a lot feels pointless.
At 660 pages, Nether Light requires a level of trust from readers. I found the pacing uneven and discouraging, with exciting bits bogged down with details and Guyen’s brooding. Listen, Guyen, I get it, your life sucks and nothing’s as it seems but c’mon man, get a grip! And cheer up a bit. Not everyone wants to hurt you, and you can find friends in surprising places.
Readers who enjoy slow-burn and dark epic fantasies with a unique magic system and intriguing setting will find Steven’s novel engaging and rewarding. Readers who prefer focused narratives may find it disappointing. Personally, I loved parts of the story but felt bored by others. And, to be frank, I’m not sure if I would finish it if it weren’t an SPFBO finalist.
Nether Light takes place in a strongly realized world, from the rough and tumble port town where Guyen and his family first arrive, to the capital city where the bulk of the novel takes place. It gives an impression of a rigidly structured society, one where careers can be assigned from an early age and where dissent can have severe, perhaps even fatal, consequences. Once the action moves to the capital, things also take on a greater political dimension, with Guyen encountering members of various factions vying to change things and often looking to use him for their own advantage.
In many ways, the main character of Guyen can sympathetic. Force to start over in a foreign land, and having to deal with a large amount of casual racism from multiple sides of the new society he finds himself in, his anger and bitterness are easy to understand, especially since he is a teenager. He can also be frustrating though. I counted multiple times where I was muttering to myself about the choices being made. I suppose that could be considered a positive in some regard, that I was invested enough to let that get to me but it can be galling to have the character mentally proclaim something a bad idea or situation but then not take steps to avoid it.
Given the size of the book, there are a number of supporting characters although only a handful are given more than cursory development. The most interesting are the trio of main female characters; Ariana, Mist, and Jal; and puzzling out their motivations is one of the stronger elements. Each of them alternately helps or hinders Guyen as he tries to find his way in his new society and come to terms with his new abilities.
The notion of a probability-based magic system is an intriguing one and, for the most part, works well; particularly in scenes where Guyen uses it to force outcomes. Unfortunately, the mechanics of it never felt especially clear, and other aspects, such as Guyen’s ever-present simulacrum or the concept of the Layer seemed either underdeveloped.
If I had to choose a word to describe Nether Light, the one that comes to mind is over-stuffed. There is a lot to like about it, the world-building is strong and the magic system is interesting but I was often left with the feeling that the author perhaps had more ideas for it than could comfortably fit into the narrative. Despite these complaints, I will be interested to see if the author intends to do more in this world and explore some of these points in greater detail.
6.5 out of 10 ghostly duplicates.
Top reviews from other countries
I eagerly await the any future stories from this very promising author.