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Child of Light


Child of Light

It’s been a year since Terry Brooks brought his long-running Shannara series to a close. I’m sure he will find himself tinkering in that world again at some point. But his main work chronicling those stories is over, and now he seeks to spread his wings and soar with different environs. With CHILD OF LIGHT, Brooks has opened the doorway to new mysteries, and he sends readers on an exploration that feels wholly original yet right at home.

CHILD OF LIGHT opens with action, and enough questions to propel readers instantly into the fray. The setting is a prison, and the narrator --- 19-year-old Auris --- details the situation as she and a handful of other prisoners attempt a breakout. In this world, the goblins imprison humans, forcing them to work until they come of age to reproduce. At this point, they are transferred to a different camp where they procreate, creating new workers. Then they move on to factories and work farms. When you cannot work, you are “retired.” As the novel opens, Auris is soon to be relocated to the reproduction pens, but she insists she will not be subjected to that fate.

"CHILD OF LIGHT has interesting characters, a solid mystery and a worthwhile story. It is a short book that easily can be read in a day or two if you have the time to sink into it. And sink into it you should."

The prison break doesn’t go as planned. Well, actually, it does. They didn’t really believe it would go well and it doesn’t. Auris survives the pursuit by the goblins and comes to find herself in the company of a green-skinned stranger who goes by the name Harrow. Together they travel to Viridian Deep, and Auris finds herself equal parts welcome and despised by those who dwell there. Additionally, Harrow reveals to her that he is a Fae, but more importantly he believes that despite her more human appearance she is also a Fae.

Auris is an intriguing narrator. Much of the novel’s tension is driven by the mystery of who she is, and her quest to uncover those answers for herself. She is enamored of Harrow and Viridian Deep, but her past is shrouded in secret. As she discovers her own inner magical abilities, those who accepted her begin to look at her with disfavor. Harrow stands beside her and challenges her. There is an affection there, and it tends to run both ways.

The goblins are hardly the only villains to be found here. The governing bodies of the human world are no less daunting and despicable. This is something we’ve come to see as a bit of a foundation for Brooks, and he spends much of the Shannara series chastising the human race for its greed and wanton destruction of the natural world. That same feeling carries over to CHILD OF LIGHT, though instead of rising from the ashes of nuclear fallout, there is a drive to obtain the magic of the Fae at any cost --- and they are willing to resort to all manner of violence and atrocities to meet their goals.

The book has a Shannara feel, to a point. That is not to discredit the work here. No doubt Terry Brooks will never be able to fully divest himself from a style that he crafted for so long. This familiarity that is sprinkled into the story is what gives it that “at home” feel while also bringing readers into something completely new. The biggest change comes from the first-person perspective, giving us a vision of the world as seen through the eyes of Auris. And there is a comfort in that; it makes the journey a little easier to settle into.

CHILD OF LIGHT has interesting characters, a solid mystery and a worthwhile story. It is a short book that easily can be read in a day or two if you have the time to sink into it. And sink into it you should.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on December 3, 2021

Child of Light
by Terry Brooks

  • Publication Date: June 28, 2022
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN-10: 059335740X
  • ISBN-13: 9780593357408