CHILD OF LIGHT by Terry Brooks. #BookReview #Fantasy

Cover for

CHILD OF LIGHT by Terry Brooks.

Del Ray. h/b. £22.50.

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

Cover for "Child of Light" by Terry Brooks. The cover is a passage through vines to a white doorway with a person at the doorway.

Auris and her friends are detainees of a Goblin camp, and they are determined to escape at any cost…. even knowing that the penalty for being caught is a hideous death by dismemberment. It started as a small group at first. Auris herself, Tommy, and as time went on, they needed to let more and more of their fellow prisoners into the plan to ensure its success. Now, it is time…

Freedom will be the prize if they make it. Freedom from the Goblin prison, where children labour and adults breed more labourers. Sometimes there is a cull. Always life is hard, and when a human is no longer of use to their Goblin captors, they are killed. At the age of 19, Auris will soon find herself being graduated from labourer to breeder. It is time to leave the Goblin prison and these terrifying years of her teens behind her. She can only hope their escape will go to plan.

Child of Light is based around an uncomfortably disturbing concept that is just as uncomfortably believable, set against the backdrop of a fae world. It is an abuse of power in the extreme by those that have it. Auris is a classic fantasy protagonist – wronged, her past hidden from her, her future bleak, and a yet-to-be-discovered ability to wield magic ready to be revealed.   

Many of us have been wondering what Terry Brooks without Shannara looks like. The answer is that we still do not really know. This novel is set in a new universe, and whilst Shannara has been left far behind, this new world is given little in the way of description and worldbuilding. After Auris leaves the prison and the wasteland behind, the reader can only try to visualise Viridian Deep and the various fae creatures she comes across. It leaves us strangely detached from this new world as if watching from outside.

Auris’ narrative voice also comes across as cold and detached when speaking of the experiences of her past and of her present. Perhaps that was a conscious choice, illustrating that to be able to move forward from such heinous experiences, she had no option but to close off from everything. It does, however, mean the narrative we have is a very matter-of-fact depiction of her story, and as a result, she is a difficult character to bond with on an emotional level. This is a novel that will divide opinions. It is certainly Brooks, but perhaps not as we know him.