Friday, October 23, 2020

Review Day: Long Light by Paige L. Christie

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Long Light is Book Three of the four-book series, Legacies of Arnan, by Paige L. Christie (I also reviewed Book One and Book Two). This story decisively belongs to Kilras, who was easily my favourite supporting character in the previous books. We learn (in a mostly sequential manner) of his growth from a child in a specific village to the empathetic caravan master that eventually befriends Cleod.

It would be too easy to dismiss it as "just a prequel" (in spite of the vexing fact that Book Three ends without any closure about the climax of Book Two) -- Kilras' journeys across Arnan also serve to introduce new people, customs, and factions that have only been hinted at. This adds some "epicness" to the consequences of Leiel's, Cleod's, and Kilras' decisions and breaks away from the mostly-regional perspective we've been given so far.

This broadening device reminded me a little of the recalibration required with Janny Wurt's Wars of Light and Shadows, where everything we learn in previous books has a deeper interpretation as the camera steadily pulls away from the seemingly simple tropes introduced at the beginning. I expect that future rereads of the Legacies of Arnan series will be just as rewarding.

Long Light is structured very similarly to Wing Wind, with an emphasis on one character's evolution instead of the future-facing plot. I wondered why I devoured Kilras' story so quickly yet struggled when the same structure was applied to Leiel in Book Two, and came to two conclusions: (1) Kilras remained enigmatic enough in the early books to have a lot of blank canvas to cover here and (2) Kilras' introspective musings are swirled into a revolving backdrop of interesting cities and situations, while Leiel's growth was more contained to a single location, so it was often the only thing happening for pages.

The bottom line: Book Three worked completely for me. I enjoyed the journey to this point enough that the forthcoming conclusion, Storm Forged, will definitely be a release-day purchase.

Final Grade: B+

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