Top critical review
Gimmicky, unresolved plot lines, and utterly disappointing
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2018
As a long-time fan of Jodi Picoult, I could not be more disappointed in "A Spark of Light." First of all, her choice to write the entire story backwards was a poor one. It's not that I had a hard time following it, but that the plot (what little plot there was) didn't warrant it. The "twists" were cliches at best, and all were apparent to me before 25% of the book had passed. As for the characters - they were afterthoughts, chosen to serve Ms. Picoult's chosen and timely issue. None were followed up on in the Epilogue except the detective and his daughter - and even that was just the immediate aftermath. Every other character was left hanging, except the ones we knew were dead from Chapter 1. While her afterword claims she was open-minded to both sides of the issues, her pro-life characters were all cliched and extremely unlikable. Even the main antagonist, the shooter, wasn't well written. Despite being hit over the head early on with "bad childhood, PTSD," yadda yadda, and even given what was his motivating factor, I couldn't see how quickly he had moved from the life he was living to mass murder. The entire time I was reading, I just felt like there were missing pieces everywhere. I know Ms. Picoult is a much better writer than this, and I'm not sure what happened. Maybe she should go back to writing compelling characters instead of relying on gimmicks and making the hot issue of the day the main character of her story.