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Child of Light

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2.5 stars

This is Terry Brooks’ first foray into YA fantasy (as well as my first read from him). I know that he is well respected in the fantasy community, so I am sad to say that I was disappointed by this book, but I suspect it’s simply that YA is not a good fit for him. There are no years or places specified, but from what I read my impression is that this is modern day, probably the US or UK. Since Auris is a modern nineteen year old you expect modern speech, but almost everything she says is quite formal. Which would be fine for epic fantasy in a nondescript time but doesn’t really work here. Especially since there are a couple of very misguided attempts at the beginning of the book of her using modern slang (e.g. referring to herself as a “hot mess”). There are also multiple instances with contradictory text. To simplify it here, she’ll ask someone “can they do such and such?“ and be told no. Then one or two pages later she will ask a different person the same question and be told yes. Also, for someone who has been in prison for four years, Auris is oddly trusting and naïve. 

Thank you to NetGalley & Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for this advanced reader copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Terry Brooks has always written fantasy as far I know with Child of Light, his latest having a YA/Teen feel to it. Auris Afton Grieg, a nineteen who has been imprisoned for years for crimes she does not know, plans, and executes a prison escape. Good for her and those with her. She is a most unusual heroine which is most intriguing.

As for characters, Auris is part woman and still part girl. I think prison life would do that to you so Brooks has followed through with that. Not all is explained as she seeks discovery of her own identity as well as her appropriate place in this world of Brooks creation. Surely her place is not a prison so on the journey the reader goes along with her, her friends, and some new and mysterious others. A stand-alone story that is interesting yet I my heart still belongs to The Sword of Shannara characters.

An ARC of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley which I voluntarily chose to read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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At its  heart, this is a love story.  The MC battles with the need to discover her past and on the way she finds  GmHarrow, her true love.

While the writing was excellent, I just couldn't get wrapped up in the story.  It started out with action and excitement that gradually petered out.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the opportunity given by receiveling a free ARC.  This is my honest review.
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Child of Light by Terry Brooks is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early October.

I may be completely speaking out of turn, but I think this is my first Terry Brooks book - in it, Auris is a first-person narrator about being part of a group of teens and pre-teens escaping labor in a work camp overlorded by south-of-human Goblins. Initially, it's sort of like a person coming out of amnesia, where things operate in approximations, what seems to be so, and where it can't quite be recalled differently. Later, she survives an ambush, is taken in by the fae, decides to sort out her uncertain past and parentage, seeps into their culture, recovers, and finds forgotten strengths.
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Some spoilers ahead which I normally wouldn't do.
First, I received an ARC in exchange for a fair review. That is below.
Second, I am a huge Terry Brooks fan, and have been since day one when I grabbed The Sword of Shannara from the bookstore shelf in 1977. Since that time I have spent at least a dozen other books in that place. I have happily gone to Landover numerous times, and returned to Shannara with Nest Freemark, though I didn't know it at the time.

This book was a disappointment. There were only two or three times in the entire book when I felt some glimmer of something. The remainder I just thought was flat and colorless. The main thread is about Auris, a nineteen year Human girl with sketchy memories and hidden skills that we discover along the way with her. We follow her and her friends escape from a prison that is run by Goblins, free across a wilderness/desert/wasteland only to be caught at the last minute. All of them save her are killed but she is saved by a Fae, a race related to the Goblins. Her savior is a warrior/watcher for his people and his insight tells him she is special somehow and he brings her into Viridian Deep, the land of the Fae. 

I'm going skip all of the twists and turns and reveals that follow only because none of them were unexpected. And aside from that, you never get any depth or color about any of the places that they are. Never how anything smells or tastes aside from 'amazing' or 'different' or it is something we already are familiar with like currant tea. This during the whole story there are many Fae who are going about their 'business' every day, walking by Auris' cottage, but we get no look at what their businesses are. We talk to none of them. Ever. Every night they go to different eating places (restaurants?) but again, we get so little look into the venue/food/workers? that I kept thinking why are we here? Why even bother? How are they paying for this? Are they paying for this? This is a foreign race living in a hidden forest and it might as well be an Applebees in Peoria. (not that I have anything against Applebees or Peoria). They're in a forest and are there other woodland creatures? Insects? I don't know. There's some magic involved - but it is just there. There's no...magic about it at all.

Finally, I just never could get into sync with the first person narrative that the story is written in. Auris is going through multiple major personal discoveries piled on top of each other and she just seems to roll with anything and everything. I am not, nor have I ever been a nineteen year old girl, but the ones that I knew/know, would all have a much stronger reaction to many of these revelations than what was described here.

So, if you are already a Terry Brooks fan, I would only say that this title is probably going to be a disappointment. If this is the first book of his that you will be reading, it is only going to be significantly better after this.
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As someone who loves getting lost in world full of wonder and fantasy, Mr. Brooks has held me captive with the world of Shanara for years. With this new saga 
he brings with him the twist and turns that he is known for when he blends dystopian with fantasy. 
From fae to goblins, to human emotions, he creates and rips apart a storyline that is much needed in the world of fantasy right now. 


Thank you to NetGalley for the eARC of this book.
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There’s always excitement when New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks announces a new book. Child of Light is it is the first book of an all-new series, and the fanfare is well deserved.

Auris Afton Grieg only has vague memories of her parents and of life before the prison camps. Her years in captivity are all she clearly remembers. Auris is determined to escape before she is deemed old enough to relocate to the reproductive camps and be forced to make babies.

Escape is only one challenge she must overcome, and nothing outside the prison camps is what she imagined. Worse yet, she may not even be who or what she remembered. Thrown into a magical world she didn’t know existed, Auris must come to terms with her past if she wants to have any chance at a future.

Filled with wondrous descriptions we’ve come to expect from the legendary author, Child of Light is a fantastic tumble down the rabbit’s hole into the Faerie nation.
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While I enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down at times, I feel like there was still a lot of development that was missing. It took a bit for me to get into it and I felt the main character was lacking in personality and depth. The story asked for her to have more...she had been through so much...but it just wasn't there. I like the story that was being told and it really hooked me...with a few spots that dragged a bit. It was a good read overall but had the potential to be just missed the mark.  3.5 stars.
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The Review

A gripping and engaging fantasy read, the author brilliantly draws readers in immediately with a grim and brutal world in which the protagonist faces unspeakable horrors and sees firsthand the vicious nature of her captors, the Goblins. The pacing and mythology the author develops throughout this novel deliver not only a grand universe in which these mythological creatures dwell, but a shocking series of twists and turns not only in the protagonist’s origins but in the status quo of this fantasy world overall. 

The character development was fantastic to see unfold here, and very much reminded me of the bond that formed so quickly between Jace and Clary in Cassandra Clare’s “The Mortal Instruments” YA Series. Auris and Harrow are a breath of fresh air challenging one another without delving into unneeded friction between them, while still delivering plenty of tension with other characters. The gritty nature of the villains plays well into the main narrative, but the villains themselves, the Goblins and Humanity’s ruling leadership, all feel like a play on the theme of humanity’s destruction of the environment and their need to drain natural resources, as this becomes part of the narrative over time.

The Verdict

An entertaining, emotional, and evenly-paced sci-fi and fantasy read, author Terry Brooks and his novel “Child of Light” is a must-read novel of 2021, and the perfect fall read for fantasy fans. The Fae become more than just an additional fictional race in this book, instead of becoming the prominently featured class and (mostly) heroes in this action-packed and gripping narrative that will leave fans eager for more.
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I have voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this title given to me via NetGalley. This book was just amazing. I just lost myself in this story and didn’t want it to end. It was really well written and just drew in you into these characters lives. I look forward to seeing what’s next from this author.
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Child of Light
by Terry Brooks

I think the ARC I got from #Netgalley was the second or third draft, at least I hope so!

This was my very first Terry Brooks book and even though I have a few of his books on my shelf right now, after reading this one, I don't know if I will even touch them now. This book was very disappointing! It makes me afraid that his other books will be just like it.

Minimal descriptions and I mean minimal. 'It was blue.' There's a couple of more descriptive words here and there, but not enough! This book was a very boring read! And the MC, her first-person narration was lifeless. 'I am sad.' And because of this, all the characters felt the same, there wasn't much difference in the way they talked or acted, all because of the lack of descriptions, so in my mind, they were just objects, not characters, and I didn't really care for them.

There were a few places where the book was summed up, and it was done so well, that if I had picked up the book on that page, I would know everything that had happened.

A few sections made me a little irritated because it was a summing up on what they just did behind 'closed pages'. 'Oh yeah, we did this without telling you so that is how I am able to do it.' And some of those things would have been interesting to read about, but instead skipped.

Then there was the repeating of her issues, her worries, her history, almost as if copied and pasted from previous chapters with the changing or addition of a few words. 

The blurb sounded so good, but alas the story was eh because the writing was cheap as if it wasn't really cared about, just needed to publish something.

I wanted to give up on this book within the first few chapters, but I said I would give it a read and honest review. So the only way I could get through it was to make my kindle read it to me because I could not sit down and read it myself.

1 star.
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What I Loved

I loved the first half of Child of Light, in particular.  The story develops slowly with just the right amount of action and intriguing kernels of suspense strategically placed so that the story never loses momentum. It's an excellent introduction to Auris Afton Grieg, who has no memories of her life before being jailed in the Goblin prison and allows for character development in a nearly impossible situation.

Auris tells her story in first-person narration, and this adds to the character development as well. Auris' head is easy to be in, and I found myself developing empathy for her just because I knew what was going through her head – her emotions and reactions to events and people.  Her instant relatability allowed me to quickly understand the support characters as she introduced them in the story.  Though I saw them as she sees them, her reactions are often very telling and accurate to that character.

The second half of the story felt like it took a giant leap, and though disconcerting to me as a reader, I loved the new and improved Auris in that half.  The action in the second half becomes very intense and takes over the story. That's fitting, though, considering the whole fae world is in danger.  I enjoyed the world-building in this part of the story, as I got to see more of the small details of this realm within our own.  The water sprites, in particular, have some cool gadgets and are so incorrigible that they are instantly fun to read about.  

And, yes, there is a romance.  I found the pairing of Auris with the elf who saved her from the goblins, Harrow, to be a natural development in the situation of the story. However, something about the elves' description made it challenging to see a human-elf pairing.  Still, I often found their relationship touching and relatable.


Auris is the main character and narrator, as I already mentioned.  She is strong and determined even at seemingly insurmountable odds.  She is just the type of main character who easily captures my heart and makes me want to know her story.

What I Wish
I wish there had been a way to better transition between the story's first half and the second half.  I would have loved for it to be a more natural jump that didn't jar me out of the world I was happily engaged in.  It would have made the book longer, but I think the extra pages would have been worth it.

To Read or Not to Read

Child of Light is an action-packed story set within an immersive and delightful world that only Terry Brooks could imagine and paint for the reader in vivid detail. I'm delighted that I had the opportunity to enter this world and imagine that any lover of fantasy stories will agree with me.
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"Child of Light" is Brooks first post-Shannara novel, and as such, it does not miss its mark! Brooks is a master of fantasy, and he is on top of his game with "Child."

The novel begins with a prison break for Auris and her friends. Auris is an enigma with no memory of her life before being imprisoned. She and her friends know the danger failure will present if their goblin jailors catch them, but freedom is worth the risk. Fleeing at reckless speeds in the arid desert night is fraught with perils. Unfortunately, perils not all her friends will survive.

It is here where the story of Auris truly begins. It is a story of one young ladies’ resilience. She perseveres until an unlikely rescuer enters the story. A rescuer who introduces Auris to the hidden world of the Fae. This proves challenging as not all Fae are welcoming of humans in their midst. Having been rescued and introduced to the Fae, Auris must unravel the mystery of her missing memory, who imprisoned her, and why the goblins are hell-bent on recapturing her. 

Fans of Brooks’ Shannara series are bound to love this new, fresh series. It builds on some of this previous work in new, entertaining ways. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Del Rey Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I will be completely honest, I had to stop at reading at 14% because I couldn't read any longer. 

The beginning was off to a great start and I liked how the pacing was going, and we could feel how fast Auris's life was changing quickly. I liked the idea of the world because I've watched the Shannara Chronicles on Netflix and was intrigued to read a book from Terry Brooks. Hopefully I can finish it in the future. 

Thank you so much Net Gallery and Random House for the opportunity for an eARC of Child of Light to provide an honest review. 

Review posted on goodreads on 10/11/21
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing this copy for review. I shall be honest in my review as a result!
Child of Light was written by the incomparable Terry Brooks and releases on October 12, 2021.
Update: The release date for Child of Light has, since I wrote this review, changed to October 19th.
Auris was a prisoner for as long as she could remember, which wasn't long given her memory loss at the age of fifteen. She escapes the Goblin prison where she has been held and runs straight into the Fae, one of whom happens to think she might just be one of them.
I'm going to be honest with you, I didn't like this book to the point where I DNF'd it.
Is that good for a reviewer? Probably not. But I told myself I wasn't going to read things I don't like.
Let me tell you why I don't like it.
The writing was stiff and unwieldy. The author regularly used three words were one would do. And that wasn't even when characters were speaking. Speaking of the dialogue, it had no flow to it. It was almost like the words for this book didn't come easy to the author, and given that Terry Brooks has been writing good books for longer than I've been alive (I'm 41) this simply shouldn't be the case.
So yes, my biggest complaint is with the writing. I just couldn't get past it. I wasn't enjoying myself at all. Which is not what I expected going into this book, as I loved the Landover series.
Now let's talk about the other thing I have a problem with. Auris goes through something terrible at the beginning of the book, but what racks her brain when she's rescued? How hot her rescuer is.
Sure, she thinks of the terrible thing now and again, but she thinks about how she is attracted to said rescuer more. Why does the author think this is something a 19-year-old girl fresh out of a traumatic experience needs to do?
Le sigh.
It bothered me a lot, okay?
It's a 1 star DNF for me. 
This review went live on Goodreads on October 4th and will be live on on October 11th.
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As much as I like Terry Brooks, this book is not one of my favorites. The story of the book started really good, but there are many times that the book repeats the same thoughts from main character. For example, the character numerous times thinks about how she thought she was human, but has figured out she isn't and how grateful she is to be living with the Fae. I get it! I don't need to hear it eight times! That really slowed down the action and made it slow. 

Overall. a good book. and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.
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I've had the Shannara books on my TBR for a while because I know a lot of people like them. So, when I saw that the first of a new Terry Brooks series was available on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity to be introduced to his writing. Now I kind of wish I didn't. This book wasn't awful, but it wasn't great either. The writing and story idea were okay, but the weird pacing and mind-numbing amount of exposition killed a lot of the enjoyment I could have had reading this book. The stiff dialogue also left the characters feeling a bit flat.

The beginning of the book started out with a bang, and it sucked me in immediately. Auris was mysterious and needed to escape a goblin prison. The tension was high, and there was tons of action. Then the pace completely halted upon her rescue, and, for the rest of the first half of the book, she sat in the faerie city having conversations and training. For the second half of the book, she and her new friends bounced in and out of several high risk situations so often, and quickly, I should have gotten whiplash. It all felt incredibly rushed. Ultimately, the pacing was all over the place, and it made the book difficult to love.

The world-building was one of the most interesting things about this book. The fae world that Brooks built was fascinating, and the magic the fae wielded was fun to learn about. I would have loved to get more information about the world in this book, especially the complex relationship between the fae, goblins, and humans. The fae vs. human setup was a great way to explore the theme of industrialization vs. a more natural way of life that respects the land, and I enjoyed the peek of it that was provided in the book. There were also slight glimpses of the history of this world and the politics of the fae, which were all intriguing to see.

I didn't really connect with any of the characters in this book, as they all felt a bit flat to me. Auris was mysterious at first, and I did enjoy her journey and inner thoughts related to finding her identity, family, and a place to belong. However, I found her to become almost insufferable as the story continued. She mysteriously knew how to use every weapon available, which was never explained. She also learned how to use magic in ONE day. Despite all her strengths and all of the horrible things going on around her, the only thing she could focus on was Harrow, and she pined over him almost instantly. Their relationship was annoying to read because most of the drama could have been resolved by the two of them talking to each other. I also don't understand what she saw in him other than being enamored because he rescued her. For most of the book, all he did was talk about fae society/history while training her, and he exuded the personality of a wet paper bag.

Ancrow seriously annoyed me in this book, but I also liked some aspects of her characterization. She was an interesting example of how past experiences, especially traumatic ones, with a group of people can leave a person extremely prejudiced against everyone in that group. It explored the question of whether that person's prejudicial actions are justified/understandable given their circumstances and underscored the importance of context in understanding any individual's actions. This character's lies, though, got tedious and annoying as the book progressed, especially since the logic behind the lies made absolutely no sense. My favorite characters of the book were Ancrow's daughters. They were a breath of fresh air amongst the angst, and I smiled every time they appeared.

Overall, I enjoyed the exploration of the themes of identity and family in this book, as well as the world the author created. However, I didn't really connect with the characters and found the pacing, dialogue, and character relationships to be lacking. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. I don't think I'll be continuing the series, and I'm pretty sure it will be quite some time before I read the Shannara series, as well.
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Auris has been in the goblin prison since she was 15. Now at age 19, she and a group of friends are about to age out of the children's prison and into the much worse adult prison so they plan an escape for which Auris is the only survivor.  She's been wandering the desert for days and about to be recaptured when she's rescued by a strange being claiming to be fae. And he claims that she is also fae which is crazy because she looks and acts completely human.  But she has no memory of her former life before the prison and an instant ability with fae weapons. When she's taken to Viridian Deep, the home of the forest Sylvan, she's finds a home and a future she kind for... if only she could solve the mystery of her past. 
This is my first Terry Brooks novel.  I love his ability to create a world that I can escape to through the pages. The world-building was excellent,  the characters were realistic and relatable, I just loved it!
I received an advance reader copy of this book through NetGalley. The views and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and given voluntarily.
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{{Auris has been trapped in a goblin prison for four years. How did she get there? She has no idea, and with barely any memories of her past, she has no hope of finding out. Now, nineteen years old and uncertain of her future, she knows she must escape. After a near-failed attempt, she luckily makes her way out of the prison finding herself meeting Harrow, a forest fae. He brings her back to his home, Viridian Deep, where her story truly begins.}}

I absolutely loved the first half of this book. The detail was phenomenal.  I mean who doesn't want to visit Viridian Deep after Brooks so carefully and intricately described this magical place? 
I was drawn in immediately with the action-packed beginning of Auris's escape, meeting Harrow, learning about her potential connection to the fae, and her past. 
I feel like the last half of the book, though good, I easily guessed many outcomes and everything happened so perfectly - with little mistakes. You know those moments in books where you think "how convenient," and certain situations work out so nicely? This happens numerous times causing me to lose interest.

I had high hopes for Auris and Harrow. It appeared their relationship was going to be a 'slow burn' type, but literally halfway through, no excitement or real surprise, they kiss. "That's it," I thought then all of a sudden, they're in love? It was just too easy, with no excitement to it. 

***Thank you NetGalley and Random House for access to this eARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***
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I have read Terry Brooks novels before and not all of them have I enjoyed, but many of them I did. That said, Child of Light is by far my least favorite. The good thing about this title is I liked the magic, it was different and that sets it apart. I enjoyed the world but at times wished for more detail (something I know Brooks can do). What I hated was the characters. I normally will not say this but really Brooks do you think that is how young women act? About 40% of this book is about the main character and her boy crazy lust. Another 40% of this book is her wondering what she should be doing with her life. The last 20% of this book was just the story trying to piece itself together. I’m sorry but if you can’t reach beyond the stereotype of a girl boy crazy you need to move on.
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