This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lucille’s mom skipped out on her and her kid sister, and her dad disappeared after a nervous breakdown months earlier, throwing Lucille’s normal seventeen-year-old life into chaos.
I feel very privileged to have read an arc of this book before publication. Like I’ve been let in on some awesome secret. Estelle Laure hit the feels spot pretty early on in this book and I loved her characters the rest of the way through. Fiercely. Like, if things weren’t working out I was going to come in there and help make sure they were ok.
My only problem is, I felt like the world was too idealistic. I know horrible things happen, and no seventeen-year-old should be left to be parent to her kid sister, much less have to deal with the financial strain of keeping a roof over their heads. But the kindness of relative strangers makes me skeptical. I would wish for a world in which this kind of generosity exists, but I don’t know that I believe in it.
In fiction, in the context of reading the story, we should be willing and able to suspend our disbelief to take in what happens as inevitable. Of course people step in to help. It’s the only possible way that this story could turn out without being utterly heart-wrenching. Except that I didn’t get there. I still expected the “man” to step in. And when that didn’t happen, I thought “well that’s a nice story…” It’s not that I want characters (or RL people!) to suffer. It’s just that suffering is inevitable. And when fiction conveniently sidesteps it, or dials it back from the worst that could happen, I (and lots of other readers) notice.
Laure’s style, the voice of Lucille in this book, was raw and consuming. I felt the feels and I thought the thoughts that were in her head, the head of a seventeen-year-old. More than once I wanted to write down passages so I could read them over again, they were so delicious.
In all, This Raging Light is a well-crafted read that I would recommend to others.
View all my reviews
I greatly enjoyed Seraphina. Dragons, half-dragons, and an entirely new world to settle into and become familiar with–who could ask for more? So I was thrilled when the sequel came out, so excited to be part of that world again and to see how Seraphina grew and became herself by the end.
Some of the reviews for Shadow Scale indicated that the narrative would be disappointing, and so I was a little nervous going into the reading that I might come out of it feeling that something was missing. What I experienced, though, was exactly the opposite.
I loved this book, the dragon-lore, the scope and breadth of the plot (from gathering the ityasaari to the war between neighboring kingdoms), and most especially the high and low places that Seraphina’s character walks through to come into herself fully and freely.
What I wanted, to see Seraphina become strong and independent, worthy of love and of loving, was exactly what Rachel Hartman delivered. Her last line “I walked myself into the world” perfectly encapsulates the journey that Seraphina traveled from those first pages until the end. For me, the story was always about that.
Thank you again, Ms. Hartman, for sharing Seraphina with us.
I just finished reading Book Architecture yesterday, and I am excited to incorporate series grids into my personal and professional editing processes. I appreciated the format of the book, how each element was broken down and given a “real life” example. I immediately began noticing series everywhere.
I recommend this book for people who want to break out of the “traditional” plot formula, or who have already and are now wondering how to make sense of their manuscript. Series, and tracking series in a grid, can help you identify the important elements of your narrative, and can help you organize those elements for maximum emotional and/or intellectual impact.
I’ll be going back to read Blueprint Your Bestseller: Organize and Revise Any Manuscript with the Book Architecture Method