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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Review: Queene of Light

Title: Queene of Light
Series: Lightworld/Darkworld Book 1
Author(s): Jennifer Armintrout
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher/Year: Mira/2009
-Webpage: Jennifer Armintrout
-Blog: I'm sick of sitting 'round here

Synopsis: An unimagined destiny an undeniable passion.

In a time not long from now, the veil between fantasy and reality is ripped asunder creatures of myth and fairytale spill into the mortal world. Enchanted yet horrified, humans force the magical beings Underground, to colonize the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels beneath their glittering cities.

But even magic folk cannot dwell in harmony and soon two Worlds emerge: the Lightworld, home to faeries, dragons and dwarves; and the Darkworld, where vampires, werewolves, angels and demons lurk.

Now, in the dank and shadowy place between Lightworld and Darkworld, a transformation is about to begin....

Ayla, a half-faery, half-human assassin is stalked by Malachi, a Death Angel tasked with harvesting mortal souls. They clash. Immortality evaporates, forging a bond neither may survive. And in the face of unbridled ambitions and untested loyalties, an ominous prophecy is revealed that will shake the Worlds.

Review: Queene of Light is the first book in Jennifer Armintrout’s new series Lightworld/Darkworld. This time she focuses more on Fae creatures and the Faery Court than vampires, however (which suits me fine).
The book begins with Ayla in the middle of an assignment tracking a werewolf through a disgusting, stinky sewer. Armintrout does a very good job of setting atmosphere throughout the entire book—from the dank, dreary, and stench-ridden Darkworld to the only slightly better-off Lightworld—visually. Actually, I thought I could smell the sewers that are Ayla’s home at one point.
The world Armintrout builds is just this side of desperately bleak. Between the denizens of the Lightworld (who seek to re-take the above from humans by any means necessary) and the inhabitants of the Darkworld (who at least don’t want to eradicate humanity, but are nasty critters in a multitude of other ways), hope seems to be as foreign as sunlight. Selfishness, greed, violence, hatred...these emotions drive most of the characters’ actions.
Ayla and Malachi's relationship begins rocky, continues to be pretty rocky and manages to smooth out just enough so that they're not at each other's throats, at least. They don't go from enemies to "'Oh, my God, I love you!" quickly (thank goodness). In fact, Malachi spends a good deal of his time away from Ayla devising ways to kill her with his bare hands, and Ayla alternately hates him and feels guilty over his condition.
My favorite character, hands down, is Keller. He is a Bio-Mech (a human that believes that a body's everything can be easily interchangeable with mechanical parts...pretty much a cyborg, but seems to be more a way of life/belief) and helps Malachi out. He’s just plain fun—takes the world as it is and makes something from it. I wouldn’t say he’s an optimist, but he’s a good deal happier than almost every other character we meet.
A good start to the series, I’m eager to find out the consequences of the final chapter and see where the future shall bring Ayla (nowhere comfortable and happy, I’m willing to bet).

Discussion Questions

#1 Did you have an understanding of the world created by this novel, or did you find the complexity too much?

I wouldn't say that I found it to complex to understand, but I did certainly have some nagging questions in regards to motivations and societal justifications. As a rule Armintrout didn't stray too far from the well known ideas of the various creatures and the inhabitants lived a pretty easy code of 'me first, all you guys come in distant places behind me' ways of life.

#2 In a book that it appears many have trouble liking, what is one thing that you like about this book?

Keller. I'll be flat out honest, I would have smacked Ayla or Malachi pretty quickly otherwise. He amused me to the point where I went along with the rest of the book and ignored the nagging doubts I had about decisions made.

#3 Did you agree with the author’s decision to make Ayla a fierce assassin in battle and a weakling in her emotions? For example her obvious contempt for Garret but yet her willingness to be his mate and subject herself to his demeaning manor?

I think that its a classic archetype for female roles. The strong, stoic fighter who can't handle being thanked or complimented without getting anxious. She wasn't raised in a very warm and loving environment to begin with and the Court minions lived to prey upon weaknesses and emotions. In the Garret case, Ayla began the book with very certain ideas about how things go. Through the course of the novel she didn't see evidence that those certain ideas weren't the best way to survive so she stuck to them.

#4 What do you think the significance of the the baby Ayla carries is/will be?

Ahahahaha...I actually can't answer this one because I *know* what the significance is (having read half of book 2) so I can't remember what I thought was the significance and what I learned was the significance. It doesn't mean rainbows?

#5 What do you think of Ayla's ascension to the throne? Do you believe she accepted her own destiny too easily?

I want to say that her ascending the throne was well-earned and in no way a cop out for her...but I didn't see it coming at the end. Heir or otherwise, the book didn't seem to point to the conclusion that the novel drew. It was one of the more confusing aspects honestly.