The magic is running out. The curse cast on the 6 peoples of Lightlark (Moonling, Skyline, Sunling, Starling, Wildling, and Nightshade) has been going strong for 500 years, claiming thousands of lives. Every 100 years, at the Centennial, the storm-plagued island of Lightlark is free from its tumultuous storm for exactly 100 days, during which time the rulers of each division meet to figure out a way to break the curse. Nobody knows how, why, or who cast the curse, but they are all trying to figure it out.
Isla Crown is the young ruler of Wildling, and this will be her first Centennial. She has been training her whole life for this event, but Isla has a secret: she has no magic, and because she doesn’t have magic to sustain the Wildling lands, her people and lands are dying. On the first day of the Centennial, Isla shows up and meets Grim, the Nightshade ruler that is showing up to his first Centennial not because he is young, but because he has not been invited to one in the past by the king of Lightlark. Isla also meets the rulers of other factions of Lightlark people: Azul (ruler of the Skylings), Cleo (Moonling ruler), and Celeste (the young leader of Starling). Later that night, Isla meets Oro, the king of Lightlark and the Sunling ruler, when she accidentally falls off of her balcony and he saves her from drowning.
Throughout this book, Isla is trying to find a way to break the curse put on her (not having powers) and save her friend (Celeste, whom she met before the Centennial but they are trying to keep it quiet), but everything she knows is called into question. Who can she trust? Who is telling the truth? Who isn’t what they seem?
Another controversial book, but I do have some thoughts about this one. Most of the controversy about Lightlark surrounds the author, Alex Aster, and her road to getting published (suspected nepotism) as well as the fact that she signed a movie/TV deal for Lightlark before it was even published. First off, publishing is a cruel world, as I am sure most of us have heard or experienced, so using everything you can to ensure your success is no different than using a calculator on a math test in high school — you are using your resources to better your chances at success. Secondly, many books are signed for silver screen adaptations before publishing, because script writers and producers are always looking for the next big thing, so signing a movie/TV contract before official public publishing is not unheard of, and to be honest, hearing that made me want to read this book even more. Anyway, back to the book.
Isla is an amazing main character, and at one point I thought we were going the direction of reincarnation, and I was so worried, but it was so much better than that. Isla is a strong, independent woman that grows into her thoughts, opinions, and values as the book goes on. She starts off very timid and tries to stay in the background, but as she grows more confident in herself and her abilities, she becomes more outspoken and unapologetic for her opinions, which is something I struggle with and admire a lot about Isla. The semi-love triangle in this book wasn’t as love triangle-y as some early 2010’s stuff, but I do have a preferred love interested and I’m not going to say who (hint: it’s not who she ends up with at the end of the book). The crazy plot twist at the end of the book that makes me want to reread this book with the new information made this book so much more fun for me to read, and I cant wait to see what else happens. This book does end with a lot of loose ends and I am excited to see what Aster is able to come up with for the next book.
Of course, I am the person that loves romance, so more romance is always a must for me in YA books, but this book did have a couple of moments where the magic system didnt make a lot of sense to me, so I’m hoping for a more comprehensive magic system description in the next book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book, and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars and am anxiously awaiting information about the movie/TV adaptation and book 2.
What did you think of Isla? Did you see the plot twist at the end coming? Which love interest did you prefer, if you preferred either of them?