Having read A Prelude to Ashes in advance of this SPFBO 8 entry, it feels like I was let in through a secret back-door into the world of A Touch of Light with little snippets of knowledge other readers didn’t have. Abdalla has stated that the novella can be read before or after the main novel - there’s no right way around - and while I can see how that works, I’m still pleased I read the prequel first. Diving into A Touch of Light, there is a lot to think about, and I have so many theories and so many questions now I’ve finished. These are good things, in this case. Some books leave more questions than answers and it’s frustrating but Thiago Abdalla seems to have found the perfect balance to get you hooked in and fully engaged with the story.
Within the novel we follow Adrian, again, along with Nasha and Lynn as our three P.O.V.s and they cover off a lot of action in different parts of Avarin. All three have some similar themes of mental illness and some form of family or parental drama: Adrian’s father is an overbearing King who only uses his son as a pawn in his political games, Lynn left her family long ago to protect them from the aspect of Death that follows her, and Nasha doesn’t remember a life before the clanlands. In addition, all three have some form of magic but it seems, in this world, very few people truly understand the magic that exists or how to use it, so in some respects our protagonists are in the dark. As a reader, I find this immensely enjoyable to try and figure it out myself and have theories aplenty!
Other themes we see in the novel include; micro and macro politics, religion, death and scheming. Lots of scheming. Not necessarily by our MCs either. There is action and battles, grand plans and huge mistakes. And, yes, there are griffins. A Touch of Light has been beautifully written and expertly pieced together and, while I try to avoid spoilers, I feel as though my words are not sufficient to convey everything there is to say about this book. I will eagerly be awaiting the next entry in The Ashes of Avarin and thoroughly recommend you pick up this series.