Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
A year after Selkess threatened to upend their family, Eureka, Baltan, Azzie, and Llewellyn are trying to make the best of their new lives. But, trauma and fear have left the small family shaken, with an unrelenting fear that danger is on the horizon. That fear is justified when Eureka’s brother, Keida, arrives with news that the Easterners have attacked Kwoltan Gera, and now their tribe is missing.
In a leap for duty to his people, Eureka and his family set out on a journey to help Keida, his wife Shaeda, his daughter Naesa, and young warrior Beialk to find Kwoltan Gera. Along the way though, they get wrapped into the dramas of another tribe deep in the forest, that places their own life at risk.
Avalon Roselin paints a wonderful story, creating a unique world filled with inspirations from both our world and her own imagination. The reader is transported immediately back into the lives of Eureka, Baltan, Azzie, and Lleuwellyn, picking up the pieces after the slaughterhouse incident. The plot moves at just the right pace, giving the reader enough time to reconnect with these characters, as well as make new friends.
I initially said in my review for Cloudless Rain, how I was initially unsure about the story, due to its mix of human and non-human creatures. Once again, I am so glad I was wrong. The Azures are the charm of the Stellar Eclipse series; not only do we see more of them in this book, but we are introduced to the Azures of Morit Gera, who have a genetic trait that allows them to fly. These traits play into their culture, and turn the Azures not into just one type of people, but many types, just like humanity.
And like humanity, they have suffered at the hands of greedy individuals: both Azure and Easterner in kind. While the Easterners take land, once again the Azures are faced with conflict within their tribes, all of which they are forced to over come.
While these ideas of colonialism and internal societal struggles are the heart of Dark Lightning, fundamentally, this is Azzie’s story. We once again delve into Azzie’s point-of-view, where we are not just told a coming of age tale that explores Azzie’s first love and his slowly mounting powers, but also one of a teenager working his way through trauma after years of abuse. Roselin does a fantastic job exploring this, creating a character that is not just defined by his abuse, but also has attributes that define him: a hero-complex similar to his father, an innate curiosity, and a rebellious side. .
That being said, Dark Lightning is quite different from Cloudless Rain, but for all the right reasons. While Cloudless Rain introduces itself as a detective novel, Dark Lightning is much more about family and personal growth in face of adversaries. While the books each come to their own conclusion and can be read on their own, I highly recommend picking up Cloudless Rain first to get a feel for the characters. Also, if you enjoyed Cloudless Rain for its investigative side, be aware that Dark Lightning does take a twist. While I think it is for the best, some may not.
It’s not often you can say that a sequel is better than the original, but in this case, I think I can say that I love Dark Lightning more than Cloudless Rain (and I loved that book too)!
So please, go pick up a copy of Cloudless Rain. And while you’re at it, pre-order a copy of Dark Lightning. It is worth it!
Note: I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
What’s it about?
An unexpected journey into the wilderness can test even the strongest bonds…
Nearly a year has passed since the slaughterhouse raid. Eureka should be happy now that he and Baltan are Azzie and Lleuwellyn’s legal guardians, but he can’t shake the feeling that a storm waits on the horizon.
When Eureka’s brother arrives with news that Kwoltan Gera was attacked and asks for help, Eureka knows he can’t turn away–especially after the search for their missing tribe leads them to a reclusive Azure village where trust is hard to come by and war looms overhead.
Old grudges and past failures follow close, and they may have deadly consequences for Eureka’s family.