Review: Daughter of Light

It looks like a snowflake etched into her flesh, covering her palm, curling toward her fingers, white as snow. And it glows.

There are several possible explanations of this. Witchcraft is only one.

Rowen Mar covered up her mark with a sword glove, but she couldn’t extinguish the power that pulsed behind it. It was probably inevitable that it burst forth on other people.

Daughter of Light, written by Morgan Busse, opens up a large world. There are kings and soldiers, scribes and assassins. Characters play out their stories in the mountains and by the sea, others come in from the desert or trek across the marshlands. Their stories sometimes feel disconnected, but by the end of the novel all the lines are crossing.

In this way, and in others, Daughter of Light succeeds as the beginning of a series. All the various elements are built up for a larger, longer story. The end is satisfying, yet opens the way for another book.

The religious element is strong and creative. In Christian fantasy worlds, God is most often called the “Creator” or “Maker”. Morgan Busse calls Him “the Word”, a distinctively Christian name. The picture of salvation she paints in the “repulsively wounded” Man is powerful and redolent of Scripture.

The characters are well-done – the less important characters often more so than the principal ones. Minor characters are gifted with small but effective touches; secondary characters proved – at least to me – the most captivating. One of these, Caleb, was particularly well-executed, as Morgan managed to make both his goodness and badness feel real. His journey was written with great skill.

The end, although the best part of the book, could have used a little expansion. [Minor spoilers] The soldiers’ departure needed more attention; I was not entirely sure why they had even left. I would also have preferred that Rowen had more memory of what she did.

Also, the book needed another round of editing. Quotation marks were missing, and a few times tacked on where they didn’t belong. A few words were mixed up – “shown” instead of “shone”, “past” instead of “passed”, “your” instead of “you’re”. The mistakes were all small, but they added up.

And the novel’s virtues far outweigh all this. Daughter of Light is a broad and vivid fantasy, infused with spiritual depth. I am glad I read it, and I have every intention of continuing the series.

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