The Dark Light by Sara Walsh
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Personal Shelf
Reviewed by: Lili
Mia is torn between two guys—and two worlds—in this epic, romantic fantasy.
Mysterious lights have flickered above Crownsville for as long as Mia can remember. And as far as she’s concerned, that’s about the only interesting thing to happen in her small town.
That is, until Sol arrives. Mia’s not one to fall for just any guy, but she can’t get Sol—or the brilliant tattoo on his back—out of her mind.
Then Mia’s brother goes missing, and Mia’s convinced that Sol knows more than he’s sharing. But getting closer to Sol means reevaluating everything Mia once believed to be true. Because Sol’s not who Mia thought he was—and neither is she.
The second I saw this cover I knew I had to have it! And let me tell you, I found this book to be entirely enjoyable, though the premise failed to give me a glimpse of the fantastical twists in the story. While the large tattoo on Sol’s back is clearly important, the premise made this seem like a twisted love story, not a fantasy story with a romance in it. Though I was pleasantly surprised with this series of plot twists, they were completely unexpected and I wish the premise wasn’t as misleading. If you’re expecting a love triangle, the premise is misleading as well. The love triangle is pretty much nonexistent because not even a third of the way through the book one of the love interests disappears and we never hear about him again and he becomes a loose end.
And that pretty much sums up my main qualm with the story—loose ends. The premise puts a heavy emphasis on a love triangle that is nonexistent. One boy is taken out of the equation, never to be heard from in the end. And the same type of situation can be found several more times throughout the story. While I love Walsh’s attempt to give us a happy ending that I so desperately wanted for these characters, she left a lot of plot holes and twists that were never fully developed or fleshed out which left me, as a reader, slightly upset at the end of the story. I feel like this book needs to turn into a series to truly answer all of our questions because there simply wasn’t enough room in all of the pages to cover everything.
My favorite aspect of this story is Mia and her characterization. She is so strong and determined to protect her little brother. She had to grow up young and has natural maternal instincts because of this, and I love that about her character. She’s easy to relate to and easy to respect. I also enjoyed Sol’s characterization. In the beginning of the book, his mysteriousness drew me in. Though he is incredibly cryptic at times, I never found myself disliking him. All secondary characters were pretty amazing as well. I could relate to almost all of them in some way, shape, or form and that is incredibly important to me as a reader.
But the aspect of this book that blew my mind was the imagination and creativity when it came to the plot. Despite my problem with all of the loose ends by the time I reached the end of the book, I couldn’t put this book down for the life of me. I don’t want to ruin the surprise fantasy twist, but it is something I never would have imagined. It blew me away and led the way for such an extreme level of creativity that I can’t help but respect. I was completely lost in Walsh’s world alongside Mia.
A great young adult debut, I would definitely recommend this one for the romance, adventure, and fantasy. While the book left me with a few questions, I couldn’t get enough of it. I will eagerly be awaiting Walsh’s future works.