CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 20. . . .January 29, 2010
In Darklight, Lesley Livingston once again places her readers in a world where fantasy and reality are difficult to distinguish from one another. Kelley’s acting career in New York City seems to be taking off, and she is rehearsing as Juliet for an upcoming production. She knows, however, that despite her human childhood, she is actually Faerie royalty and thus is always involved –– willingly or otherwise –– with events in the Faerie realm. Kelley’s love, Sonny, has been forced back to the Faerie Otherworld where Auberon the King of Winter has assigned him to destroy the Wild Hunt using blood magick and even his own blood, if necessary. Kelley and Sonny are reunited in the Faerie Realm but this doesn’t last for long. Various faerie personalities continue their eternal struggle for domination, and this involves all manner of trickery, deception and magick. The two lovers become unwitting and unwilling pawns in this game of intrigue which may eventually allow them to come together or may result in their final and everlasting separation.
Darklight manufactures many twists and turns and resembles the faerie version of an ongoing soap opera, with characters who are in many ways ‘over the top’ and larger than life. Because no one knows who is honest and who is deceptive, trust of any kind is impossible. There are continuous emotional ups and downs, battles of will and actual physical battles scattered liberally throughout the novel. Love and romance are powerful motivators, but so are hatred and revenge. Characters may seem friendly and positive on the surface but turn out to be entirely the opposite as the plot unfolds. The setting of New York City is limited to well-known areas such as Central Park but otherwise has little or no importance. Any large urban area with a theatre community would be equally appropriate. And, of course, the faerie realm is whatever one imagines it to be, and Livingston’s descriptions are vivid, giving readers a real sense of entering an imaginary Otherworld.
This is the second volume of Livingston’s urban fantasy romance trilogy. While it stands on its own, readers would benefit from taking in the opening volume first in order to better understand the characters and the links, both human and faerie, between them. As in any middle book, many questions are left unresolved, some as fundamental as the real identity of Sonny, one of the main characters. Fans of the trilogy will be impatient for the publication of part three in order to have their questions answered.
On the surface, it would seem that the appeal of this book is limited. The faerie realm, the strong emphasis on romance and jealousy, even the novel's cover, all target a female young adult audience. However, since a quick internet search reveals dozens of websites about faeries, the book’s readership may extend beyond these somewhat narrow expectations.
Ann Ketcheson, a retired teacher-librarian and former teacher of high school English and French, lives in Ottawa, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.