Top positive review
A lot to love in this unique story
Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2017
Sister light and Sister dark is a very interesting book with a lot of ideas that you simply don’t see in very many stories. Though it is entirely fantasy, it is played as though it is history and often treats things that happened as though they were historical. This blending of myth, history and the story itself does something fresh and tells the story through multiple lenses and never gets old. With each chapter starting with this fascinating prospective I found the opening concepts of this book to be a great initial hook.
One thing that strikes very quickly is that this book is a chosen one story. I have mixed feelings about that because I really hate the idea of being born to greatness no matter what you do, or fate guiding your hand no matter what your hand does. From this book alone it would be very hard to say the direction that the author is taking here. A lot of suggestions are made to the contrary of the prophecy, but I never really got the sense that the book was giving a lot of argument against the god’s chosen and that really isn’t my cup of tea. I guess I prefer to see characters overcome adversity and obtain importance through their actions and not just something foretold of their birth. I’ll leave it up to you how you feel about the chosen one thing, but for me it was a mark against.
A major plot point and concept of the story is the light sister and dark sister. The summary mentions it, but doesn’t really explain what it is and neither will I. The author reveals this slowly over a few chapters bit by bit and it’s really quite well done. What I will say is the concept is fascinating, if not left largely open ended in this book. I loved it, personally and found it a compelling hook with a surprising amount of time put into seeing it far more complex then it at first appears.
Another big part of this book is the society itself. An all women society which has a heavy emphasis on being capable warriors. The society itself has a lot of traditions, rules and so on that it doesn’t really go into, but I did start to feel familiar with it. The Hanes (as they are called) are really interesting places with interesting people in them and helped to compel the book forward a great deal. Though most of the story is told through their prospective, an outsider is introduced so we can see a little of how others view them which is a nice bonus.
Ultimately though this book for all it had going for it was not entirely a book I loved. Sure I liked it, but there was a lot I felt to be desired in the telling. For one an all female society that might not see men unless they choose to, they were awfully heteronormative. The book could of easily dispelled this with a simple sentence normalizing whatever relationships women might have with each other, but it doesn’t. In fact it very subtly implies there might be one attraction between one pair and unrequited at that. If this book is to be call feminist then I find it odd that it seemed to go so far out of its way to avoid any notion of lgbt storylines. Maybe this is addressed in later books, but for this book I found it to be a huge oversight and missed opportunity. Considering that a lot of time and effort was put into the hetero relationships I’m not entirely sure how I feel about reading the rest of the series.
Sister Light and Sister dark has a lot going for it, great writing and great characters. I can’t say there is anything wrong with it so much as a matter of taste. If you do not mind, or even enjoy chosen one stories you might love this. If the thought of hetero normative relationships without any real nods toward the existence of lgbt (there is one sentence that might elude to it) then this book might be for you. I enjoyed it more than I didn’t, but I’m not sure the direction the story is going and those two above elements are quite my cup of tea. Is it worth a try? Yes, this book absolutely is.