Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan
- Turning Darkness Into Light
- Marie Brennan
- The Memoirs of Lady Trent , #6
- Finished reading:
- 2nd January, 2022
Might contain spoilers.
To be clear, though it’s filed under the same series, this is a book about Lady Trent’s granddaughter. It builds on what came before, but is not a continuation of those memoirs, nor quite as good.
Nevertheless, Turning Darkness Into Light is a very fine book on its own merits. It’s frankly astonishing how Marie Brennan tells such an engrossing tale about slow, painstaking archaeological processes. She expertly binds personal relationships and the larger fate of the two species alike into the progression of what should be a simple act of translation. The epistolary format (if that term can be stretched to include diary entries and such) is a tad awkward, but hats off to her for wielding it with skill.
I wish I had the ability to truly appreciate the Draconean tale told through the tablets in the story. I constantly found myself wondering whether it is a convincing creation myth. All I know is that formulating the myth presents such clear and narrow constraints that being able to tell the story of the book itself not just coherently but well alongside the chronological translation of the tablets is a feat of writing.
I do particularly wonder about the significance of Ektabr in the fable: he’s left behind and hardly referenced again despite there being a lot of foreshadowing of his importance. The mystery surrounding the belief systems of the Draconeans and their forebears is something I’ll always wonder about. (The names and cultures didn’t bother me this time, perhaps because this is meant to be a constructed myth.)
While no one can fill Isabella Camherst’s shoes—Audrey’s interactions with her are my favourite bits—Audrey and Cora make for a compelling pair of new characters. Kudshayn is reasonably interesting within the confines of his role in the story. I’m disappointed there are no dragons, per se, but at least there are Draconeans.
I’m relieved Aaron Mornett sees no redemption and Audrey’s attraction to him isn’t used to excuse his behaviour, which in and of itself is entirely professional misconduct rather than anything else. I appreciate the precision there.
The detached news article just before Kudshayn’s speech at the end somehow brought a lump into my throat with this passage:
This edition will also carry a new title. Formerly known as The Draconeia (a name assigned to it by Lord Gleinleigh), it will now be issued under the title Turning Darkness Into Light. It will be available for sale on 13 Nebulis, only one week after the original intended date.