Turning Darkness Into Light
As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is a delightful fantasy of manners, the heir to the award-winning Natural History of Dragons series, a perfect stepping stone into an alternate Victorian-esque fantasy landscape.

Turning Darkness Into Light Details

TitleTurning Darkness Into Light
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 20th, 2019
PublisherTor Books
ISBN-139780765377616
Rating
GenreFantasy, Dragons, Fiction, Historical

Turning Darkness Into Light Review

  • Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
    January 1, 1970
    OMG!!! A future generation continuation to the Memoirs of Lady Trent??!! ::sobs:: I'm so excited! :D
  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    And here I am, continuing my tradition of reading series out of order. I mean, it was fine when I did that with the Xuya series, and I also believe that while sequels don't have to stand on their own, spin-offs absolutely should, so why not try and read something when there are five books of worldbuilding before that one? This kind of thing obviously can't go wrong².You don't need to have read the Memoirs of Lady Trent series to understand Turning Darkness Into Light. However, I think it could b And here I am, continuing my tradition of reading series out of order. I mean, it was fine¹ when I did that with the Xuya series, and I also believe that while sequels don't have to stand on their own, spin-offs absolutely should, so why not try and read something when there are five books of worldbuilding before that one? This kind of thing obviously can't go wrong².You don't need to have read the Memoirs of Lady Trent series to understand Turning Darkness Into Light. However, I think it could be much more meaningful to you if you had, as some of the characters from that series are often mentioned, and as this novel is told entirely through letters, lists, journal entries and translations of ancient tablets. This is a really interesting choice, and I loved this somewhat mixed-media aspect, but this format isn't really suited to descriptions that don't feel like awkward infodumps, which is probably the reason I still have no idea how a Draconian looks like.This is the story of Audrey Camherst (Lady Trent's granddaughter) as she translates ancient tablets from a long-lost Draconean civilization in a place where anti-Draconean sentiment seems to be on the rise, and betrayal could be lurking on every corner. It's also the story of the Four who hatched from a single shell - yes, this novel has a story within a story, which is an aspect I loved.More than anything, Turning Darkness Into Light is about the importance of narratives, of the stories we choose to tell, and how they shape our understanding of ourselves as much as of "the other", and how nothing is ever "just a story". Writing fiction is, and has always been, inherently political.It also makes some really good points about how bigotry isn't something in which only extremists engage, and the subtle, non-violent kind is just as dangerous as the unsubtle, violent one, as the two are tied together. One can't exist without the other.The positives end there. I don't have much else to say; Audrey as a character didn't stand out that much to me, and neither did most characters, Cora being the only exception. I appreciated that the portrayal of an antagonistic relationship between a man and a woman that had an undercurrent of attraction but didn't turn into a romance, as an idea, but I didn't really believe it as much as I'd hoped. The format didn't help with that, as I felt it added a lot of distance between me and the characters.This is a solid novel, if not a really memorable one, and the Memoirs of Lady Trent is one of the series that I'm considering and will maybe start this year.:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::¹ narrator: it was not fine. She struggled for half of the first novella she tried² narrator: keep telling yourself that.
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  • Kelsea
    January 1, 1970
    For those unfamiliar with Brennan's books, she previously authored The Memoirs of Lady Trent Series, a completed five book series. Turning Darkness Into Light is a standalone book set in the same world, starring Lady Trent's granddaughter. (This is your warning that if you haven't completed the Lady Trent series, there are massive spoilers for the series in this book, so please read the full series first!)I binged the entire Lady Trent series on audiobook earlier this summer, so despite my absol For those unfamiliar with Brennan's books, she previously authored The Memoirs of Lady Trent Series, a completed five book series. Turning Darkness Into Light is a standalone book set in the same world, starring Lady Trent's granddaughter. (This is your warning that if you haven't completed the Lady Trent series, there are massive spoilers for the series in this book, so please read the full series first!)I binged the entire Lady Trent series on audiobook earlier this summer, so despite my absolutely atrocious book memory, I actually remember the events of that series. I feel the need to mention that and a few other things, because they really inform my experience with this book. First, as this was an e-ARC, it was jarring for me switching formats. Kate Redding did a fantastic job narrating the Lady Trent series and I missed hearing her voice in this book. Secondly, with Isabella (MC from the series) fresh in my memory, it was a little hard for me to separate my love for her from this reading experience. I craved more of Isabella -- and she is in the book, but she's not the focus, and it took some time for me to accept that.With that out of the way, let's talk about TDIL. Audrey was an interesting character that felt very true to her age and place in the world. She has the burden of famous relatives that she feels the need to live up to -- but she's very much her own person as well, with her own interests and desires. Brennan is excellent at writing distinct, fascinating, smart, and imperfect characters, and Audrey fits all of those descriptions.There were so many things to love about the characters (Audrey and the others) as well as the story... and yet it was really, really hard for me to get into this book. I believe this would be considered an epistolary novel. And while the Lady Trent books are written as a a memoir, they were still almost entirely Isabella's thoughts and words, if I recall correctly. TDIL, on the other hand, is a mix of Audrey's diary entries, letters back and forth between her and her sister, diary entries from other characters, letters by other characters to off-screen characters, news articles, etc. There were some new interesting things that came up because of this format - the footnote banter on the translation was fun to read. BUT there is a LOT going on with the format and it was confusing to track at times.In addition, where Isabella was always off on an adventure, Audrey is sitting in a room for most of the book, translating tablets. Let me put it in HP house terms: Isabella's story was Ravenclaw x Gryffindor, but Audrey is pretty much entirely Ravenclaw. It was a little too much Ravenclaw for me. Sure, she does get out of the house and do a few headstrong type things, but she's still not out in the field studying dragons. I needed more adventure, more action, more things happening. I know it's not quite fair to compare it to Lady Trent (which I keep doing), because this is an entirely separate story, but again, having read them so close together, it was virtually impossible for me to avoid comparisons.Weirdly, though, my love for the Lady Trent series is also what carried me through the first part of TDIL. I honestly might have DNF'd it by halfway through if I didn't love Brennan's storytelling from Lady Trent so much and trust her to deliver.Thankfully, I stuck with the book and then it got good. It got really, really good. I won't spoil anything, but Brennan's brilliance with nuanced characters, plot twists, and interesting character arcs really shone through. By the end I was smiling so hard - I love where the story went, love how Audrey grew and handled everything, love so so much about the ending. And the last part of the book made me really appreciate the building blocks sprinkled in earlier in the story.So here are my main takeaways for you:1. Read The Memoirs of Lady Trent first!2. Audrey is not Isabella and that's okay, because she's interesting in her own right.3. Keep in mind that the formatting is very different from the Lady Trent series!3. If you're not feeling the beginning, it's worth sticking with the story. Hopefully the ending will deliver for you, the way it did for me.Looking forward to the next thing Brennan writes!ARC provided by Tor Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/08/22/...It was heartbreaking for me when the original Memoirs of Lady Trent series, even knowing all good things must come to an end. And so, when I found out that Marie Brennan would be returning to the world with Turning Darkness into Light, to say I was thrilled is an understatement. And that’s not all; I was even more excited when I learned that the new book would follow Audrey Camherst, the granddaughter of Isabella the Lady 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/08/22/...It was heartbreaking for me when the original Memoirs of Lady Trent series, even knowing all good things must come to an end. And so, when I found out that Marie Brennan would be returning to the world with Turning Darkness into Light, to say I was thrilled is an understatement. And that’s not all; I was even more excited when I learned that the new book would follow Audrey Camherst, the granddaughter of Isabella the Lady Trent, who has followed in the footsteps of her famous grandmother into the field of Draconean studies.However, presented in a series of letters, journal entries, articles, and study notes, the novel offers quite a change from Memoirs of Lady Trent beyond just the change in protagonist. Also, while Turning Darkness into Light is a standalone and can be read without any prerequisites, be aware that this book contains MASSIVE spoilers for the previous series. You have been warned!The story opens as Lord Gleinheigh, an avid collector of antiquities but a third-rate scholar, capitulates to demands for a suitable translator to decipher his collection of ancient clay tablets believed to hold the secrets of the Draconean civilization. Naturally, given her distinguished academic family as well as her own achievements in linguistics, Audrey Camhurst was one of the first names to come to mind. Her appointment would also have the added benefit of not being a threat to the insufferable and blustering Lord Gleinheigh, who won’t trust any of his male peers. But as it turns out, Gleinheigh is even more paranoid and protective of his treasures than anyone thought, sending his niece Cora to spy and report on Audrey’s findings, under the pretense of being her assistant.Meanwhile, believing that no translation would be proper or complete without the presence of an actual Draconean on the team, Audrey recruits her friend Kudshayn, a fellow archaeologist to help her with the project. Together, they begin to painstakingly piece together the story of the ancient tablets, revealing a breathtaking creation myth about the four dragon siblings who hatched from a single egg. But even as their work is taking place, a conspiracy is brewing behind the scenes, unknown to our protagonists. With anti-Draconean sentiment is still rampant in the society, there are certain factions who don’t wish for Audrey and her team to succeed, and they are willing to go to great lengths to sabotage their work.Let me first say I was very impressed with the way Brennan was able to convey so much information in epistolary format, to say nothing of the incredible story she was able to tell. She has managed to expand upon the world of Memoirs of Lady Trent and more, and it’s safe to say fans of the series who wanted more about the mysterious Draconean civilization will be very happy with this novel. For me, one of the main highlights was the as the draconic mythology, as well as the character of Kudshayn who provided readers with so much new insight into his people’s history, culture, and way of life—right down to the unique ways Draconeans communicate. It is no wonder they are so misunderstood in the society, leading to clashes in public opinion.If I have one criticism though, it would be the limitations of the novel’s structure. That said, I know how tough it is to write an epistolary novel. As much as I loved what Brennan has done here, because so much of the story is conveyed in the form of letters, I missed the immediacy of the narrative. Granted, this is considered a fantasy of manners, so to be sure there is an air of formality to the prose. This did make Audrey’s voice sound a little stiff (compared to the Memoirs of Lady Trent in which Isabella’s attitude was that of an accomplished old woman who was beyond giving a fig what readers thought of her anymore) and made it a little harder to connect with the characters.Still, I have to say I really enjoyed Turning Darkness into Light. Like the previous series, I believe it will appeal greatly to readers who love science and the simple pleasures of discovery and learning. It was a joy to follow the story, especially at the beginning, when my attention was fully captivated by the mystery of the tablets and wondering what ancient secrets they might reveal.All in all, Marie Brennan has written another winner, building upon the brilliance of her Lady Trent series. Once more, she has changed the way we think about dragons with her unique perspective on these fantastical creatures, greatly expanding on her world-building, making this fan very happy.
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  • Bookphenomena (Micky)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 - 3 stars.Do you like dragons, mystery and ancient antiquities with a bit of an Indiana Jones feeling? If the answer is yes then TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT might be the book for you. It is marketed as a standalone fantasy and it can standalone, however I do believe that readers of Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series will have a great advantage when reading this.This book has a feminist tone all the way through and the main protagonist, Audrey is commissioned to study and translate some rare t 2.5 - 3 stars.Do you like dragons, mystery and ancient antiquities with a bit of an Indiana Jones feeling? If the answer is yes then TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT might be the book for you. It is marketed as a standalone fantasy and it can standalone, however I do believe that readers of Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series will have a great advantage when reading this.This book has a feminist tone all the way through and the main protagonist, Audrey is commissioned to study and translate some rare tablets recently found. Audrey is a young but accomplished academic type, from a family of similar types. Audrey was likeable, she took risks and she knew that she needed help. That help came in the shape of Kudshayn, another archeologist.With Kudshayn, my confusion about the world only grew and I have to say I struggled with being in the dark through most of the book. There is little world building and assumptions are made that the reader can just go with what’s happening and accept the odd, vague reveal about the world and species existing. The Draconean species and culture was not explained adequately and I do believe that to standalone, more world building was needed.The book is told in a variety of styles, the contemporary, many letters and some newspaper articles. I enjoyed the variety of storytelling styles. Audrey’s POV is occasionally interspersed by Kudshayn and another POV. The story builds and builds around this translation of tablets to a great crescendo, involving a variety of characters and criminal activity.This was an interesting but sometimes frustrating read for me. I loved the cover, the idea of the story and Marie Brennan’s writing was enjoyable in the main. I would consider going back and reading the Lady Trent series.Thank you to Titan Books for the review copy.This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities Blog here.
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan is a fun historical fantasy featuring dragons. It's part of the Lady Trent universe, but you don't need to be familiar with that series to understand this novel. I haven't read that series yet and I'm looking forward to it, but I'm sure I would have gotten much more enjoyment out of this if I was already familiar with that series. I have to admit that I did feel out of the loop from tim I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan is a fun historical fantasy featuring dragons. It's part of the Lady Trent universe, but you don't need to be familiar with that series to understand this novel. I haven't read that series yet and I'm looking forward to it, but I'm sure I would have gotten much more enjoyment out of this if I was already familiar with that series. I have to admit that I did feel out of the loop from time to time. Otherwise I particularly enjoyed the mixed media / epistolary format of the novel. Unfortunately I wasn't very interested one way or another in the cast of characters. Perhaps if I were more familiar with the author's style and the previous novels set in this world. I'm definitely going to have to try more from Brennan in the future.
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  • Runalong
    January 1, 1970
    This was a delight - a fantasy tale that praises research in archeology and makes you understand the power of myth on cultureFull review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/bl...
  • Blodeuedd Finland
    January 1, 1970
    I would not say it felt like the previous series. That one was about exploring, and it had this other feel to it. This one is even more scholarly as most of it takes place when Audrey is translating clay tablets.Audrey is Lady Trent's granddaughter (read the books to find out who Trent is.) She wants to prove her worth as her grand parents are famous, her parents are famous and she has not had her turn yet. So she spends month translating.Helping her she has Kudshayn, a well I will just say drag I would not say it felt like the previous series. That one was about exploring, and it had this other feel to it. This one is even more scholarly as most of it takes place when Audrey is translating clay tablets.Audrey is Lady Trent's granddaughter (read the books to find out who Trent is.) She wants to prove her worth as her grand parents are famous, her parents are famous and she has not had her turn yet. So she spends month translating.Helping her she has Kudshayn, a well I will just say dragonman so you get the point. Their benefactor is an Earl who she does not really know what his endgame is.There is more but that just comes into spoiler territory.I liked Audrey. I did want more dragons, and got none, so that is sad. In a way not a lot happens either, it really is hard to explain this one. But it is a fascinating world she has created.NarratorShe did a good job. The book is a lot more than just a story. There are letters, articles and more. I liked her epic clay tablet voice. It worked in audio too with all these different formats
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  • imyril
    January 1, 1970
    This is just wonderful. Coherent review to follow!
  • Christine Sandquist (eriophora)
    January 1, 1970
    “There has been no such thing for my people within living memory, or even the middle past. We have been few in number, single in society. My own kindred find me strange when I visit the Sanctuary, because my behaviour has been shaped by my time outside of it; this, as much as my physical difficulties, is the sacrifice my mother made on my behalf when she chose to lay her clutch beyond the Sanctuary’s walls."Marie Brennan is back once more in the world of Lady Trent with her newest novel, Turning “There has been no such thing for my people within living memory, or even the middle past. We have been few in number, single in society. My own kindred find me strange when I visit the Sanctuary, because my behaviour has been shaped by my time outside of it; this, as much as my physical difficulties, is the sacrifice my mother made on my behalf when she chose to lay her clutch beyond the Sanctuary’s walls."Marie Brennan is back once more in the world of Lady Trent with her newest novel, Turning Darkness Into Light. While TDiL follows the granddaughter of the famous Lady Trent, this is not merely a rehash of the same themes we saw in the first series. Audrey is her own person with her own goals… and a heavy familial legacy to live up to. I was impressed not only by Audrey, but also the side characters: Kudshayn and Cora. Told in the form of letters and journal entries, this book has drawn me in from the first page – Brennan has not only met the standard her original series set, but surpassed it.This is a character-driven novel with a writing style similar to the Lady Trent series, but with a new and novel mixed media approach to the story. Audrey Camherst is the primary narrator, and the bulk of the novel is told via her diary entries. However, in addition to that, we see sneak peeks into other characters and the world at large through letters back home from Kudshayn, letters to friends by Cora, and clippings of newspapers following large socially important events. Audrey has in part taken up her grandmother’s mantle in that she, too, is an avid researcher. Rather than being a dragon naturalist, however, she’s a historian; she’s fascinated by the ancient Draconean culture. She’s a linguist who studies their language and writings, investigates artifacts, and works with various museums with their collections. Naturally, she does tend to attract trouble much as her dear grandmama managed back in her day.“I thought I was obliged, as Lady Trent’s granddaughter, to sneer at all things feminine and frilly. I made the mistake once of saying something about that in Grandmama’s hearing, and oh, did she ever set me down hard. She didn’t raise her voice. She only explained to me, very calmly, that if any obligation accrued to me as her granddaughter, then it was to acknowledge the right of any person to pursue their own dreams instead of the ones I felt they ought to have.”Between the events of Lady Trent and Turning Darkness into Light, it was discovered that a small population of Draconeans are, in fact, still alive – which forms the political backdrop of this novel. What’s more, a landmark set of tablets depicting one of the earliest Draconean creation myths has additionally been unearthed by one Lord Gleinleigh, a private collector of Draconean artifacts… and when he needs a translator, adding the famous Camherst/Trent name seems like the best option to bring him fame and legitimacy. With a senate vote coming up regarding the fate and independence of the Draconeans, the content of the tablets rapidly becomes an important social topic. Lord Gleinleigh, being involved in politics himself, has a large stake in their contents as the collection is likely to win him power and influence.“SCIRLAND, UNITE! The reptilian threat has arrived early on our fair shores. Not content to wait for the great gathering next winter to determine their fate, they have sent an advance EMISSARY, and in grotesque style—flying alone in a caeliger meant for the use of HUMAN BEINGS.” As Audrey, Kudshayn, and Cora (Lord Gleinleigh’s young niece and ward) translate the tablets, they find that Lord Gleinleigh’s motives may not be nearly as pure as one might hope. When he’s seen consorting with known Hadamists, members of an anti-Draconean hate group, Audrey’s hackles immediately rise. What’s more, an old flame of Audrey’s who stole her work and betrayed her may also be involved in the plot. The goals of Gleinleigh and Co. are gradually revealed as the novel moves forward, often with some surprisingly twisty turns – Brennan weaves a fantastic intrigue in this novel, which caught me off-guard several times.I think my favorite part of this novel was the way Brennan integrated the translated Draconean tablet text and used its plot to mirror the real-world conspiracy plot. The prose is mythic and has a distinct feel to it, and the back-and-forth annotations between Kudshayn, Audrey, and Cora were fun to read. Where human society’s tend to center around the repetition of three in most folklore, Draconean differs slightly: their mythic number is instead four. This gives it a surprisingly different flavor for being overall a very small change. This number reflects the themes of their ancient gods: creation (the sun), destruction (death), stability (the earth), and change (the wind).“You may enter,” Crown of the Abyss said, “but you may not return. A cavern may give up what it has eaten, the sea may give up what it has drowned, a forest may give up what it has trapped, but the underworld does not give up anything it takes.”Modern Draconeans, however, worship only two gods: creation and stability, the sun and the earth. Kudshayn, being a priest of the Draconean people, finds this not only fascinating… but also distressing in the extreme. The foundations of his faith and his understanding of his history are shaken, and he must decide which is more valid: modern Draconean religion, or the religion from whence it came. Should he worship the lost gods? Or should he remain firm in what he was taught from the shell? I thoroughly enjoyed the added depth this gave to the plot, and I felt that it added a great deal of weight to the overall importance of the tablets and the conspiracies surrounding them.“I gaze upon these tablets, treasures of the past, and know they are not mine. I share with those ancients my scales, my wings, my bones, my shell. I do not share the factors that shaped them, in body or in mind. The brother who marked these clay surfaces was born in a land that would kill me. For generations without counting my foremothers hid themselves away in the mountains, fearing the sight of humans, while their ancient foremothers ruled over the ancient foremothers of those self-same humans. Who am I to the Anevrai? I am no one. They did not know me, and despite the work of years, we are only beginning to know them. What claim do I have to this past? What claim does it have on me?”All in all, I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed the Lady Trent novels. For those who would like a smaller, stand-alone introduction to the world, this would also be a great choice. While knowledge of the Lady Trent novels adds some additional context, it is certainly not necessary to have a good time with this book.This book and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.Thank you to Tor Books for providing this ARC for review!
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  • Karyn Silverman
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it. I would read the Draconean tax records, frankly, if Brennan wrote them out, but this was much more enjoyable. A little more smoothly paced than the Lady Trent books (which tend to slingshot from travelogue to peril very fast), and I like Audrey Camherst a lot. She’s a scholar and clearly not a society girl, she’s good-hearted and smart but also good hearted enough to miss some clues, so that the reader has the fun of figuring things out just slightly ahead of the characters. The transl Loved it. I would read the Draconean tax records, frankly, if Brennan wrote them out, but this was much more enjoyable. A little more smoothly paced than the Lady Trent books (which tend to slingshot from travelogue to peril very fast), and I like Audrey Camherst a lot. She’s a scholar and clearly not a society girl, she’s good-hearted and smart but also good hearted enough to miss some clues, so that the reader has the fun of figuring things out just slightly ahead of the characters. The translated epic was also excellent, as was the incorporation of several voices. Plus! Diversity props — Audrey is brown in a very white Victorian England analogue, Cora seems to be on the spectrum and also a kickass character, and Kudshayn is Draconean and the prejudice and politics are all fascinating. I can’t wait for the sequel (there’s an ending that points to that being a sure thing) because I will head back to Scirling and the rest of this world as often as Brennan invites me.
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  • Rachel Bridgeman
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to the team at Titan Books for my gifted paperback review copy which arrived along with dragon egg chocolates!! Best book post EVER! 'Turning Darkness Into Light' will be published in paperback on the 20th August 2019.This is a great introductory novel to Marie's alternate fantasy universe-it acts a bridge, a stand alone set in the same universe but centering Lady Trent's granddaughter, Audrey. Through her, the reader gains an understanding of their world, the divisions, the politics a My thanks to the team at Titan Books for my gifted paperback review copy which arrived along with dragon egg chocolates!! Best book post EVER! 'Turning Darkness Into Light' will be published in paperback on the 20th August 2019.This is a great introductory novel to Marie's alternate fantasy universe-it acts a bridge, a stand alone set in the same universe but centering Lady Trent's granddaughter, Audrey. Through her, the reader gains an understanding of their world, the divisions, the politics and the basis of what forms their history and theological texts.Audrey is hired to translate 12 tablets uncovered by Lord Everleigh in Akhia-his reputation as a hoarder of antiquities rather than a skilled archaeologist is quickly made apparent by both his lack of knowledge and his cluttered home with no reverence for the exhibits he has displayed willy-nilly!Audrey is suggested by interested parties in part because of her pedigree, and also because of her sex. Lord Everleigh presents as a person who would see Audrey as lacking in threat to him and not someone he needs to worry about 'spoiling' his exclusive translation of the Draconean tablets.He sends his niece, Cora, in undercover as a spy ,to make sure that no details of the tablets are allowed to escape, which includes monitoring Audrey's letters yet also letting her colleague, and Draconean scholar, Kudshayn, help her with her work in order for it be be completed before the Falchester Congress of the following year. The timing is absolutely crucial as at the Congress it will be decided whether or not forcing the Draconeans to live in The Sanctuary, where a tenuous agreement has allowed them to live, should be reinforced or lifted.The information being gathered from the tablets is expected to support the current assertion that the Draconean ancestors were human sacrificing beasts,engendering fear that the current incarnations of this race are only a small step away from adopting these characteristics.However, what Audrey, Cora and Kudshayn uncover is something quite specatular which could turn the entire perception of Draconeans on its head...and more than one party is hovering in the wings waiting to snatch that knowledge away and sell it to the highest bidder....An incredibly clever, and well constructed novel, this has lashings of Victorian , steampunk-esque trappings that I immediately fell in love with. Written in an epistolary fashion which recalled to mind the stylings of 'Dracula', I was worried about not understanding , for example, the names of the months, place names, history etc but these worries were quickly swept away with the pace of the story and the solidly rounded characters.How can anyone not fall in immediate love with Audrey?! !There is a scene of public outcry when Kudshayn arrives where Audrey behaves in a fashion most unladylike, but totally needed that had me whooping for joy! She is in the unenvious position of being Lady Trent's granddaughter, so the weight of expectation is heavy on her shoulders for her to not only continue the explorer's legacy, but also create one of her own.The way that the book is written is brilliant, you see snippets from newspapers, the differring translations of the same piece by both Cora and Audrey, as well as letters home from Kudshayn. Using the nature of the Draconeans and political unease, Marie Brennan neatly reflects real world concerns about the rise of facism to the right, and to the left.The identification-and imprisonment-of those who are classified as 'other' is a very real concern, whether in this world or the one where dragons exist.I absolutely loved reading about The Scriptures and the myths of one egg which hatched 4 dragons from whom all life has descended and the detail is incredible, whether describing the body language of Draconeans, or the 'rationale'(and I use that term loosely) of Hadamists and Calderites who oppose integration of Draconeans in society, and believe they should be contained.The intricate use of language makes 'Turning Darkness Into Light' immersive, fantastical and a credit to the skills and knowledge of Marie Brennan. I was genuinely saddened when the book came to an end-I am unsure whether this stand alone will be the start of a new series or serve as an introduction to Marie's world, however, I am excited to see that there are 5 Lady Trent novels to get my teeth into!And can we just take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous the covers to her books are? Absolutely stunning!About the author...
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    As soon as I heard there was going to be a new Marie Brennan book I knew that I was going to get it, devour it and probably love it. And sure enough all of those things happened The style of this took some getting used to, being that it was told in the form of diary entries, letters and notes from all sorts of characters. This had the effect of conveying a lot of information quickly so I always felt I had to keep my wits about me I loved Audrey. Her desire to step out of her grandmothers shadow As soon as I heard there was going to be a new Marie Brennan book I knew that I was going to get it, devour it and probably love it. And sure enough all of those things happened The style of this took some getting used to, being that it was told in the form of diary entries, letters and notes from all sorts of characters. This had the effect of conveying a lot of information quickly so I always felt I had to keep my wits about me I loved Audrey. Her desire to step out of her grandmothers shadow and become her own person, and famous in her own right was relatable to I think anyone. The story was brilliantly told and I hope there are more to come
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  • Brandon St Mark
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely LOVED this book! It was amazing, and such a great continuation of the original series. Audrey was a great character to follow, and I loved her personality (she was reading those bitches to filth!!). Definitely one of the best books I've read in a while.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Tor, be aware that I love these books, I love this world, and Marie Brennan is fucking great. Please publish more.
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come shortly
  • Tahlia
    January 1, 1970
    Blog post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...*I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.I’m not really sure what I was expecting with this one and even after reading it, I’m still not sure what to make of it. This is a difficult one to review, because a lot of it didn’t make complete sense to me and I don’t think that those things benefited the story anyway, but then there were other things that I did like. I feel like books like this can m Blog post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...*I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.I’m not really sure what I was expecting with this one and even after reading it, I’m still not sure what to make of it. This is a difficult one to review, because a lot of it didn’t make complete sense to me and I don’t think that those things benefited the story anyway, but then there were other things that I did like. I feel like books like this can make one feel like they’re missing a few brain cells, because so much of it just went over my head. It may just be that I in fact, just didn’t get it, but all the fictional places, types of people and archaeology talk was just such a nightmare to try and pin down and understand. So in general, the world building didn’t work for me at all. I still feel like I don’t truly understand Kudshayn and his people, who they are and just everything about them beyond his noticeable different physical appearance. I think that because I felt like I didn’t even know anything about them, I couldn’t really feel for their plight, which was a shame. Kudshayn was such a lovely character, and his personality was the only thing that made me truly feel something for his people as a whole. The other major issue I had with the world building, was that it was meant to be Victorian-esque, yet many times, it felt like it was just set in the modern world and the juxtaposition of that was quite distracting. It also felt like it was set in a world which was far too similar to ours, with no real weight behind the changes of countries and religions, so it felt like it didn’t add anything apart from confusion.The actual format of the book was interesting, as it incorporated many different styles. There were diary entries from Audrey, Cora and Kudshayn. There were also letters to and from a variety of characters, both major and minor. And lastly, there were police reports and court testimonies. The diary entries were probably my favourite out of the variety, just because I liked being able to get inside their heads and they felt like the most cohesive parts of the story. They were also just generally more entertaining, although the scientific talk did get a bit much at times. Whilst the letters were also interesting, they were a bit of a pain to read as they were in a small font in italics. The novel also shifts between past and present a couple of times to give the reader a bit more background on how the characters ended up in their current situation and to give a bit of context to the dynamics in certain relationships. This was most notably used to tell the story of how Cora ended up living with her uncle and her difficulties with friendships and then, to give the reader the history of the relationship between Audrey and a former love interest. Lastly, on the separate sections where their translations of the tablets were shown, there would also sometimes be footnotes at the bottom. The footnotes acted as a sort of discussion section for the characters to say what they thought about that part or if they weren’t sure of the translation or what it meant. I liked the idea of this at first, but there was almost always so much written in them, that was either confusing or just unnecessary and distracting.The characters, is really what saved this for me and are what allowed to me to give it the rating I did. Audrey was a good protagonist, she was clever, witty, passionate about her job and was caring, but firm and willing to fight for what she thinks is right. She was just a generally enjoyable character to read about and added a bit of spark to a subject that otherwise might not be that riveting. Although she was pretty self-assured, she still went on a personal journey throughout this, learning more about herself, her values and wants and hopes for the future. I really liked her relationship with Kudshayn, as they both understood each other so well and genuinely wanted the best for one another. I’ve briefly touched on Kudshayn, but I also wanted to add, that similarly to Audrey, he went on his own personal journey throughout this. Whilst Audrey was relying on the tablets to make a name for herself, Kudshayn was hoping that they’d help him feel closer to his ancestors and would be the ‘epic’ that could define his people, like the texts that other peoples’ have. When things don’t turn out the way they expected, Audrey has to work out whether making a name for herself or protecting the Draconean people means more to her. Kudshayn is forced to reconsider everything that he thought he knew about his religion and his people and whether the story of their past should be told if it’s not what he was expecting it to be. He’s also dealing with the prejudice of some humans and knows just how instrumental the story that these tablets reveal, will be in changing or reinforcing those opinions.Last but not least, we have Cora who I had a funny little attachment to. Cora was Gleinheigh’s Niece and is placed as Audrey’s assistant by him in order to ensure secrecy is kept around the tablets, even if that means through unscrupulous actions. Cora was hilarious without meaning to be, she was very particular about everything which was humorous at times, given her tendency to answer things bluntly instead of by social conventions. She gets as caught up in things as Audrey and Kudshayn do, and the three of them find themselves lumped together. Her and Audrey get off on the wrong foot and she causes offence to Kudshayn by not understanding his Draconean body language. Cora just wants to follow the rules and do what she’s supposed to, so once she realises how she may have caused offence, she tries her best to right her wrongs. She also has to make some important decisions regarding the tablets, that may throw her ordered life into uncertainty. She was a very unique character and I was endeared by her because of it.In conclusion, the general plot of this was okay, as at the core of it was the gradual translating of the tablets and how that will affect the Draconean civilization’s future. I do feel like it did get a bit lost with everything that was going on and because of the confusion surrounding the world building and more detailed aspects of Audrey’s work. I found the relationships in this book to be the most riveting aspect and were what I enjoyed the most, it was almost annoying when we had to go through all the less interesting aspects again, so for me the author did a great job there. There were a couple twists and turns that it took though, especially in the later section, which meant that the pace increased a lot, compared to the slower pace of the earlier sections. I wouldn’t not recommend this, because there were some things that I did enjoy, but I would say to be prepared to have to do a bit of work as a reader to understand certain things. And although this is a standalone, I would suggest that you read the Lady Trent series before this, as it might give you a helping hand with the world building, that I didn’t have, which may have helped my experience a lot.
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  • Crini
    January 1, 1970
    I STILL haven't read the last Lady Trent book because I don't want the series to be over and now we're getting this *sobs*Update Nov 5, 2018: OMG WE HAVE A COVER AND IT'S THE BEST EVER
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    I've only read one and a bit of the Lady Trent series, having bounced off the uneven pacing of the second book. But I knew the author to be very skilled, not only from reading some of her work but from interacting with her on a writers' forum we both belong to, so when I saw that this one had a new character in the same setting (a couple of generations later), and a premise that sounded promising in terms of a compelling story with strong stakes and sustained tension, I requested it from Netgall I've only read one and a bit of the Lady Trent series, having bounced off the uneven pacing of the second book. But I knew the author to be very skilled, not only from reading some of her work but from interacting with her on a writers' forum we both belong to, so when I saw that this one had a new character in the same setting (a couple of generations later), and a premise that sounded promising in terms of a compelling story with strong stakes and sustained tension, I requested it from Netgalley. Thanks to the publisher for granting the request. I wasn't disappointed, either. It starts out, like the Lady Trent stories, focused on the scholarship, but even at the beginning there are strong hints of why the outcome of the protagonist's efforts to translate an ancient text are going to be politically important. As the story goes on, it becomes more and more clear that there's something dodgy going on, and the action ramps up rapidly. Throughout, there are a series of interactions between the protagonist and her former love interest that develop the complexities of that relationship in a way I've seldom seen achieved. It's presented through a series of documents - journals, letters, police reports, the translation that lies at the heart of the story - and that's well done, though I did stumble a little when I realized that the very confessional, diary-like tone of one piece was actually still part of a witness statement made to the police. It was the sole misstep I noticed in the epistolary part of the book, and since it's lampshaded, was probably intentional. The other thing I stumbled over a little was the worldbuilding. My personal philosophy is that if you choose to create a world that's not our world, rather than just have a version of our world with (say) dragons in it, it shouldn't resemble our world too closely (or what's the point of the difference)? This world sometimes resembles ours too closely, with countries that I mentally dubbed MightAsWellBeEngland, MightAsWellBeChina and MightAsWellBeIndia. Apart from that, which is really just a philosophical difference, I enjoyed this very much. The sentence-level writing is excellent, the pacing good, the plot compelling, the characters and their relationships more complex and messy and (hence) realistic than I usually see. It easily makes my Best of 2019 list.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    While I prefer Brennan’s “Memoirs of Lady Trent” series in terms of action and plot, this was an interesting read from the perspective of a former classicist and archaeologist. It brings to fiction and makes interesting a host of issues well familiar to the academic dealing with dead languages, such as how one reconstructs fragmentary texts, how definitions and glosses are worked out and the political and social implications of ancient texts on modern culture at any given point. It also deals wi While I prefer Brennan’s “Memoirs of Lady Trent” series in terms of action and plot, this was an interesting read from the perspective of a former classicist and archaeologist. It brings to fiction and makes interesting a host of issues well familiar to the academic dealing with dead languages, such as how one reconstructs fragmentary texts, how definitions and glosses are worked out and the political and social implications of ancient texts on modern culture at any given point. It also deals with issues of cultural appropriation, the importance of provenance, the ethics of excavation, preservation and collection, the development of a black market and a forgery industry and the role of museums in the trade of artifacts and a host of other questions that the modern archaeologist thinks about constantly. In short - issues that most people don’t consider often and which aren’t typically of much interest outside of academia. Brennan manages to do all this in a smart, entertaining and accurate way while also painting a wonderful sketch of the state of classics and archaeology in the early part of our own 20th century. For that alone she deserves all the stars. Plus, in typical fashion - the ending was full of fun twists! Very much looking forward to the next book in the series. (1 star off only because I’m not a huge fan of the epistolary, albeit somewhat modified, style in general)
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  • G. Tyler
    January 1, 1970
    An awesome sequel to the Memoirs of Lady Trent, Turning Darkness into Light is a page turner both as a sequel to the previous series and in its own right. Filled with likeable characters and an awesomely academic adventure story I was hooked from minute one. Now, I want to draw attention to the writing and visual style, which tells this story from the perspective of multiple, diary entries, news reports, letters, and telegraph messages. A major departure from the previous series, it is no less e An awesome sequel to the Memoirs of Lady Trent, Turning Darkness into Light is a page turner both as a sequel to the previous series and in its own right. Filled with likeable characters and an awesomely academic adventure story I was hooked from minute one. Now, I want to draw attention to the writing and visual style, which tells this story from the perspective of multiple, diary entries, news reports, letters, and telegraph messages. A major departure from the previous series, it is no less endearing all on its own, with the change in style bringing the different voices to bear not just in mannerism but in each of their individual writing styles. Each character and format even gets its own unique fonts and layouts! From Audrey's diary block paragraphs to news clippings with flashy headlines and double column layouts, Turning Darkness is as much a visual treat as a written one. And I cannot wait for a sequel.
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    I have been waiting with bated (albeit not baited) breath for the latter installments of the Lady Trent series to come in at my local bookstore, so I must admit at the outset that I am not yet fully "read in" on the series which is essentially the backstory to this new addition to the Lady Trent universe. Is it a direct sequel? I can't really ... tell you ... given that I don't know what I've missed. But for those wondering if they need to read all five books of Lady Trent's memoirs in order to I have been waiting with bated (albeit not baited) breath for the latter installments of the Lady Trent series to come in at my local bookstore, so I must admit at the outset that I am not yet fully "read in" on the series which is essentially the backstory to this new addition to the Lady Trent universe. Is it a direct sequel? I can't really ... tell you ... given that I don't know what I've missed. But for those wondering if they need to read all five books of Lady Trent's memoirs in order to read this book, the answer is no. Audrey Camherst, the protagonist of this particular book, is the granddaughter of Lady Trent, and Lady Trent does make a few cameo appearances, but her involvement is not central. Audrey finds inspiration in her grandmother's example, sometimes a bit to Isabella's consternation, but she forges her own path.Here's what I love about this series: Brennan is sharp AF and threads a through-line of cultural and social commentary through the larger fabric of historical fiction of the costume drama variety, complete with period-appropriate feminist sequins and racial representation filigree. In the Lady Trent series, we got a less-problematic Victorian-era Mary Hastings Bradley adventuress. In Turning Darkness Into Light, we get an early-Edwardian pre-suffragette era scholar, perhaps not styled after the Pankhursts, but every bit as compelling. Audrey is herself the daughter of a Scirling (read: white) father and an astronomer from the Talu Union (read: not white), and repeated references to her appearance and its impact on strangers makes race relations an overt, if minor, element in the plot. Her friend Kudshayn, a Draconean priest/ambassador, makes the long journey to assist her in translating some ground-breakingly early draconian tablets. The Draconeans, who I'm sure had a significant role to play in the last Lady Trent novel (that I haven't read yet, but which is suggestively named for the Draconean homeland), are historic enemies of the Scirling people (and, well, apparently most people) and their re-emergence onto the global political stage has put them in the strange and murky position of a protectorate suing for independence. Their physical limitations as the result of certain evolutionary characteristics leaves them weak where they used to be strong in the far distant past, and now prejudices based on centuries of resentment and misinformation threatens to spill over into species riots in Scirland during the negotiations for their independence. The Camhersts, of course, view the Draconeans as people—but many leverage history and the species divide to exclude and abuse the Draconeans. In this way Brennan's commentary on race relations is layered.I appreciated, too, that Audrey's confused and uncomfortable relationship with another scholar is not angled to give us an easy or simplistic conclusion. A young, charismatic, and unscrupulous scholar, the young man with whom she begins to develop an affectionate bond exploits both her mind and her pride of work several times throughout the narrative, and while he is also capable of the occasional redemptive act, Audrey remembers everything. She cannot forget, or even forgive, his abuses. She cannot again give him unfettered access to her heart, and indeed his betrayals have made that decision for her. This is no tortured "I wish he hadn't ..." love affair. This is a practical woman whose first fumbling attempts to build trust with a potential romantic partner have left her vulnerable, a trait she's not particularly interested in cultivating.No, her most significant relationship is with Kudshayn, her Draconean fellow translator and childhood friend, alongside whom she works each day to translate the tablets and with whom she faces down the worst turns of circumstance that the racist Calderites can manufacture for her. She interfaces with the Scirlings interested in his singular presence ahead of the Draconean-Scirling negotiations, and he backs her up when she throws herself impulsively into any (and every) fray that presents itself. He bears the burdens of a literal ambassador for his species/race, and still finds the emotional energy to give more of himself to her people than that. Maybe Kudshayn is the real hero of Turning Darkness Into Light. Maybe that's the kind of sneaky-cool thing that Brennan gets up to when you turn a page.I would certainly be interested to read other readers' takes on the romantic and racial commentary elements in this book, but from what I understand from my own limited point of view, it makes for a graceful but conscientious transition from a Victorian fantasy adventure to a socially conscious Edwardian scholarly drama.
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  • Tsana Dolichva
    January 1, 1970
    Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan is a standalone book set in the world of The Memoirs of Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons and sequels). Rather than taking a naturalist view of dragons, like the earlier books, this one focusses on a significant translation of the Draconian language. I said it stands alone, but it does rather contain a spoiler for Within the Sanctuary of Wings, the fifth and final of the Memoirs of Lady Trent. So beware if you haven't read that book and want to Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan is a standalone book set in the world of The Memoirs of Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons and sequels). Rather than taking a naturalist view of dragons, like the earlier books, this one focusses on a significant translation of the Draconian language. I said it stands alone, but it does rather contain a spoiler for Within the Sanctuary of Wings, the fifth and final of the Memoirs of Lady Trent. So beware if you haven't read that book and want to remain unspoiled. Similarly, do not continue reading this review if you don't want to be spoiled for the end of the Memoirs of Lady Trent.This novel is told through a collection of diary entries, letters, and the translation in progress. Most of the narrative comes from Audrey's diary entries, with various letters, musings from Kudshayn's diary-like entries (but with more formality in mind on his part), and discussions in the footnotes of the translation flesh out the rest of the story. This does come with limitations, such that if something dramatic didn't happen to Audrey we didn't necessarily hear about it. That said, most of the dramatic moments did happen to Audrey and she was in a position to write about them afterwards, but that made some of the other media a bit lacklustre. For example, the first few religion-oriented musings from Kudshayn's journal were kind of dull to me, but I found his insights more interesting as we got closer to the end of the book. This style I think makes this book just slightly less compelling than the original Memoirs of Lady Trent series, because, while those books were written pseudo-autobiographically, they were written by the protagonist long after the events recounted in them. That makes them inherently feel a bit more coherent, while Turning Darkness Into Light is written in a much more immediate style, without any snarky comments added by an older protagonist looking back on her younger self. Putting it that way, perhaps it is just a matter of taste. And I want to stress that I still definitely enjoyed Turning Darkness Into Light and found myself hooked on the story. Even though a story about translating ancient tablets might sound boring, there were a lot of intriguing hooks to keep me interesting.One does not need to have read the Memoirs of Lady Trent to enjoy Turning Darkness Into Light, but I think the reading experience is enhanced by greater familiarity with the world. Audrey, the protagonist, is the granddaughter of Lady Trent, and various members of her illustrious family make minor appearances in this book. I expect some of those references would be quite meaningless to readers unfamiliar with the earlier books, although the overarching story would still work. I enjoyed Turning Darkness Into Light and I'm hoping there will be more books about Audrey or at least more books set in this world. I think there's plenty left to explore, even if this particular story was well-contained in this book. I recommend this book to fans of the Memoirs of Lady Trent (of course) and anyone interested by the topic of translation of a dead language in a fantasy world containing dragons.4.5 / 5 starsYou can read more of my reviews on my blog.
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  • Liz (Quirky Cat)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Turning Darkness Into Light through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Turning Darkness Into Light is the latest novel from Marie Brennan, and it’s set in the world of her other novel, Memoirs of Lady Trent. That being said, you honestly don’t have to have read the other one first in order to understand what is happening. I didn’t and was fine. Though I’m sure I missed out on plenty of references that fans would have loved. Turning Darkness into Light follo I received a copy of Turning Darkness Into Light through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Turning Darkness Into Light is the latest novel from Marie Brennan, and it’s set in the world of her other novel, Memoirs of Lady Trent. That being said, you honestly don’t have to have read the other one first in order to understand what is happening. I didn’t and was fine. Though I’m sure I missed out on plenty of references that fans would have loved. Turning Darkness into Light follows Isabella Camherst’s granddaughter, Audrey Camherst. Her goal is to translate and understand ancient Draconean texts – and she’s quite good at it too. Unfortunately, her work goes deeper than expected, and before long she’s in for a journey of her life. This novel has to be one of the most unique things I’ve read as of late. You see, this novel isn’t quite like any other. At least, not quite like what you normally see in the world of fantasy. In the world of history it’s probably a lot more common. Turning Darkness Into Light is told entirely through the use of letters, newspaper clippings, journal entries, and other unique media formats. It’s quite clever, how Marie Brennan was able to weave a story through these pieces as she did.(view spoiler)[ Turning Darkness Into Light was a unique and exquisite reading experience. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before, and I don’t expect to see a story in this format again anytime soon. I loved how unique and refreshing it was. It was interesting to see such a unique storytelling method applied to a novel of this tone. The two blended rather well, actually. Giving off a feeling of an older story. I don’t really need to explain why the storytelling method worked so well in that instance, do I? Plus, it isn’t every day that you see a novel that is both part of a series/world and a standalone novel. I’ll probably go on to read Memoirs of Lady Trent next. But I’ll be curious to see how those that read the novels in the opposite order feel about the story. This novel started out rather formal and at an almost soothing pace. But things quickly sped up in the life of Audrey Camherst. I loved all of the twists and turns that followed, and it was interesting to learn of Audrey through the letters she wrote. Though I already mentioned that bit. Audrey’s character was exceptionally endearing. She’s brilliant and determined to live up to such a legacy (her grandmother, Isabella Camherst). Her character doesn’t quite fit in with the age of the story – meaning she’s bolder than women should be. And I adored that about her. It was brilliant reading about the Draconean lore and everything else that Audrey was researching. But more than that, I loved the politics surrounding said research. And how everyone seemed to have a different goal, motive, or method. All things considered, Turning Darkness Into Light was a brilliant and fascinating read. And it was quite the experience, too. I’m glad I took the time to read it. Though part of me wishes I hadn’t read it quite so quickly! (hide spoiler)]For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
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  • Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a companion series to that of The Memoirs of Lady Trent as we now follow her granddaughter, Audrey Camherst, who is in much the same line of work as the famous Lady Trent once was. That said, I don't feel you would have to have read A Natural History of Dragons and those that follow in order to pick up this series. (Though you should, of course, as that series is really quite excellent.)Audrey has been hired by the insufferable Lord Gleinleigh to translate some tablets he's literally une This is a companion series to that of The Memoirs of Lady Trent as we now follow her granddaughter, Audrey Camherst, who is in much the same line of work as the famous Lady Trent once was. That said, I don't feel you would have to have read A Natural History of Dragons and those that follow in order to pick up this series. (Though you should, of course, as that series is really quite excellent.)Audrey has been hired by the insufferable Lord Gleinleigh to translate some tablets he's literally unearthed (or at least paid people to do so for him), which is tricky as they've been inscribed in an even older form of Draconean language than she's used to - the novel delves significantly into the differences of a language over time, which is quite interesting.Each chapter begins with a translation or an excerpt from either Audrey, or Lord Gleinleigh's niece, Cora, whom he has set to be Audrey's 'assistant' (spy). Cora is, early on, the most interesting character to me as so little is known about her. Though some comments lead me to think that she's possibly on the autism spectrum, which, as an aspie, is a nice nod that we exist.Although initially Lord Gleinleigh bans Audrey from talking over the translations to literally anyone else, and insists she stay in his estate because he refuses to let the tablets leave the premises, he then surprises her by saying she should bring someone else in on the project. When she suggests her childhood friend, Kudshayn, a Draconean himself, he says he'll fly him over promptly (via private caeliger no less), at great expense, rather than having to wait months for him to arrive by sea. Which is unusual but most appreciated.Why is this unusual? Well, the easiest way to describe Lord Gleinleigh is what Audrey writes of him in her journal early on in the novel; 'This is the thing that frustrates me the most about him. He is all in a rush to make certain these tablets are translated, but I swear he doesn't care a toss what they're about. He only wants to be famous as the man who found them.'So why would he be helpful? And if it seems so many people are so easily racist towards the Draconean (you should see the insert notice warning all HUMAN BEINGS of the reptilian threat who have come to restore THEIR CRUEL DOMINION. (What rubbish...) It's surprising that Lord Gleinleigh isn't the same, but even goes out of his way to show Kudshayn proper respect.And so it seems that Audrey has more mysteries to solve other than just what history the tablets hold. As if that isn't enough for her to deal with, an old flame who betrayed her in the worst possible way comes back into her life and messes things up in ways only he could.This is quite a good novel and start to a series; like the previous series it's, well, not slow in the start because what do you expect when the novel is about a woman translating historical dialects? Basically, in the start things seem trustworthy (otherwise she wouldn't go near it, obviously) and then ramp up as Audrey gets herself into more knots.Hell, any book where people who deserved to get slapped do, actually, get slapped, is an excellent book in my view.
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  • Bob
    January 1, 1970
    While I do wonder whether this might have more appeal for fans of A Natural History of Dragons, the cover blurb did advertise it as a “perfect stepping stone,” so I feel entirely comfortable reading it as a newcomer to Marie Brennan’s word.I’ll be honest, I was lost a bit at first. And then I was okay for a while. And then . . . well, I was confused and curious at the same time. There’s a whole history and mythology behind these books, which basically boils down to this – once upon a time there While I do wonder whether this might have more appeal for fans of A Natural History of Dragons, the cover blurb did advertise it as a “perfect stepping stone,” so I feel entirely comfortable reading it as a newcomer to Marie Brennan’s word.I’ll be honest, I was lost a bit at first. And then I was okay for a while. And then . . . well, I was confused and curious at the same time. There’s a whole history and mythology behind these books, which basically boils down to this – once upon a time there were dragons, archaeology uncovered evidence of their (arguably) tyrannical civilization, that in turn led to the discovery of their evolutionary descendants, and now there is a massive social and political question as to whether they should be allowed to join humanity or confined to their remote civilization.The series, as a whole, predates the Trump administration but it’s still hard not to see parallels to contemporary questions of refugees, immigration, terrorism, and religious persecution.Anyway, back to Turning Darkness Into Light. The first thing you need to know is that this is written in a pseudo-epistolary format, by which I mean each chapter is intended as a letter or diary entry, but the characters do a solid (if unrealistic) job of capturing dialogue and narrating the action. For the most part, it works, but it does leave the reader feeling somewhat detached, and it does mean that a lot of the ‘showing’ comes after the ‘telling’ (if it comes at all).The story itself revolves around the translation of a set of ancient tablets that are slowly revealed to tell a story of creation that is far different from what either race is accustomed to. In fact, the account casts the Draconean civilization in a harsh light, and with such a pivotal vote coming, the timing couldn’t be worse. If that makes you immediately suspicious, then you and I are of like-minds; and if all the secrecy around the translation makes you doubt character motives, then you’re likely to guess big twist as early as I did.As narrators and protagonists go, Audrey Camherst is a remarkable young woman. She is smart, brave, loyal, and rather headstrong. She is not afraid to stand up for what is right and does not hesitate to put herself in harm’s way to save others. She is equally protective of antiquities and the truths they represent, throwing herself into the fire – both figuratively and literally – on more than one occasion. Her excitement is infectious, and that appeal is much of what kept me going through any confusion or frustration.Overall, Turning Darkness Into Light was a decent read – enjoyable, full of some interesting ideas, heavy on linguistic theory (which may bore many readers, but which I found fascinating), and with a fascinating exploration of how we define (and refine) our mythologies. It was a little too thin to be a great read, but it left me curious enough to want to read the Natural History of Dragons books that came before it.https://femledfantasy.home.blog/2019/...
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  • Paperbacks
    January 1, 1970
    I was initially totally drawn into by the cover of this book, I’m usually trash for anything with dragons and the 4 dragons hatching from the single egg is amazing, beautifully illustrated and totally on point with the story. Whilst this is a standalone in the Lady Trent universe, I have to be honest and say I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if it had read the books that had come before. Having that already established understanding of the world and those that inhabit it would have be I was initially totally drawn into by the cover of this book, I’m usually trash for anything with dragons and the 4 dragons hatching from the single egg is amazing, beautifully illustrated and totally on point with the story. Whilst this is a standalone in the Lady Trent universe, I have to be honest and say I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if it had read the books that had come before. Having that already established understanding of the world and those that inhabit it would have been a large bonus, I know that’s not a failing of the author though.The story did take me a bit of time to get into, it’s compiled of a combination of news articles, diary entries, letters, and studies, which isn’t what I’m used to, but I did eventually get into the flow. I liked how the author appeared mindful of newcomers to the series though and we are drip fed information rather than one large infodump. This worked well in a couple of ways, firstly in that I didn’t feel overwhelmed and secondly in that the story is one of discovery and revelation in any event. Whilst a fictional fantasy world, this read very much as Victorianesque in terms of sensitivities, vocabulary, and surroundings, so great if you enjoy a historical feel. Things definitely picked up for me with the arrival of Kudshayn, as Audrey felt more at home when they started working together, their kinship making her more likeable and having someone to bounce off brought much needed colour to the story. Whilst the topic of translation is a dry one, there is a great deal of excitement as the translations take place and the story of the Epic begins to take shape. The book raises a lot of important questions about tolerance, inclusion and agenda’s, which gave the opportunity to expand into what became a great mystery to solve, with a race against time feel. I found myself wishing that more of the book read like the closing quarter as it really was exceptional.There were, however, narrative and formatting choices which I found hard to get on with. Whilst I absolutely adored the passages containing the translations of the Epic (in fact these parts and Audrey’s diary were my favourite) I found the conversational footnotes difficult to find a flow with. This was a real shame as Audrey and Kudshayn’s discussions were fascinating, just not in tandem with the translation itself. I sadly found myself eventually ignoring the footnotes and just reading the translations as they were. I’d be interested to see how this would be laid out in ebook form as it may work better that way. I also struggled with the large amount of italicised text that appeared every time we were faced with correspondence, this often went on for many pages and it was hard going on my eyes.Whilst by the very end I was fully immersed in the story and excitement I did struggle a lot to find my footing and perhaps the style just wasn’t for me. I’m sure established fans of the series will love this though!
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  • Online Eccentric Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ Although I appreciated the amount of knowledge, good writing, and passion that must have gone into this book (and its world building/other novels), I often found myself either bored or disinterested. The conceit of solely using letters/notes/communiques is not new to me and I've read and enjoyed other books that have used similar story telling techniques. But all the same, the very dense science stuff isn't really inter More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ Although I appreciated the amount of knowledge, good writing, and passion that must have gone into this book (and its world building/other novels), I often found myself either bored or disinterested. The conceit of solely using letters/notes/communiques is not new to me and I've read and enjoyed other books that have used similar story telling techniques. But all the same, the very dense science stuff isn't really interesting enough to keep me invested and the jumping around of POVs through various letters etc. became a bit too daunting. I found it harder and harder to pick up the book every time I put it down (which was sadly very often).Story : The granddaughter of the famous Lady Trent (from previous novels) is invited to an eccentric aristocrat's house to decipher antique Draconian scrolls. What she finds is a creationist story that fascinates her.The characters were diverse and had very distinct voices. From a non human dragon-like person (I think I have to have read the other novels to really appreciate a lot of this title) to a prim ward of the eccentric aristocrat. I appreciated that in their letters, each was very distinct in the way they framed words or approached situations.I think problematic for me is that I really am NOT that interested in e.g., a 3 page discussion on the entymology of the Draconian language. Nor another several pages of physiology or mythos. It's dry stuff and great for those who are in that field - I am not. As much as I'd not be very interested on in depth discussions on the different types of teeth enamel (I'll save that for dentists) or wear patterns on an internal combustion engine (I'll save that for engineers). I read novels for the story and in-depth scientific-type discussions really didn't help move the plot along.I had not read the previous novels so there was a LOT that would not be explained in a book formatted to be told solely in communiques. As such, I was also lost during much of this - and have no idea who the various non-humans are or why dragons are/were lost. So those who have read the other books will likely not find this one as baffling. About the only thing I could ascertain is that this takes place in a Pseudo Victorian type setting.So although really good writing, I was lost through most of this and not really interested in all the science-speak. The characters were distinct but not interesting enough to want to follow them. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
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  • Traci
    January 1, 1970
    Find this and other reviews at The Reader in IndigoA standalone sequel to the MEMOIRS OF LADY TRENT quintet, TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is reliant on its predecessors to, if not make sense---I think there's enough info for even a newbie to understand the gist of what's going on, if not necessarily care about it too deeply---then to give the reader some reason to read on. The first half was oddly dry, and though the story picked up in the second half, I didn't think it did so well enough to bump Find this and other reviews at The Reader in IndigoA standalone sequel to the MEMOIRS OF LADY TRENT quintet, TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is reliant on its predecessors to, if not make sense---I think there's enough info for even a newbie to understand the gist of what's going on, if not necessarily care about it too deeply---then to give the reader some reason to read on. The first half was oddly dry, and though the story picked up in the second half, I didn't think it did so well enough to bump this up any higher than three stars.The plot follows Isabella's twentysomething granddaughter Audrey`as she translates an ancient Draconean epic amidst much Scirland-based skullduggery. The story lacks the globe-trotting adventurism of its predecessors, but never really manages to replace that with anything equally interesting. (I almost wrote that the author squelched the mannerpunk elements, except that isn't strictly true; they're probably stronger here than in any book since A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS, it's just that Audrey cares so much less---and is bound so much less---than Isabella that they just feel absent.) The author's choice to construct this as an epistolary novel just added to the dryness, I thought, as did her choice to write out *the entire Draconean epic*, along with the translators' notes, neither of which were really interesting enough (even to a devoted reader of the previous novels!) that I thought they really needed to be written out in full. Yes, there is a mystery involved . . . but at some point, it all started feeling like bloat. I really, really enjoyed the characters, though I think I would've preferred to see them interacting with and in some different plot. (Also, this book made me wish for Jacob's seafaring adventures to get their time in the sun.) Cora, especially, was well-done, and the complexities of the Audrey/Mornett situation had a great deal of potential. But again, I felt the epistolary format sapped the character interactions of much of their vigor.This is one of those novels that I think would've worked much better as a novella. Readers who haven't yet read the Lady Trent novels should absolutely start there, especially as this book contains a number of huge spoilers. Readers who haven't read the earlier works will, I think, have some difficulty getting through this one.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Raj
    January 1, 1970
    I'm always a little wary of sequels to books that don't necessarily seem to need them, but I loved this. Audrey Camhurst is Isabella's granddaughter and is struggling to overcome her famous family name and make her own mark on the world of philology, so she jumps at the chance to translate some recently uncovered ancient Draconean texts. Of course, it's not as straightforward as that, and soon she, and her fellow scholar Kudshayn, are drawn into a conspiracy that could incite war.We've jumped fo I'm always a little wary of sequels to books that don't necessarily seem to need them, but I loved this. Audrey Camhurst is Isabella's granddaughter and is struggling to overcome her famous family name and make her own mark on the world of philology, so she jumps at the chance to translate some recently uncovered ancient Draconean texts. Of course, it's not as straightforward as that, and soon she, and her fellow scholar Kudshayn, are drawn into a conspiracy that could incite war.We've jumped forward in time by a couple of generations, (maybe now the equivalent of our inter-war period?) and the technology and social mores have moved accordingly. There are now motor cars and telephones, and people willing to address each other by their first names!The book is written in an epistolary format, with diary entries, newspaper articles and letters from a variety of different people, although Audrey is our main PoV, with the Draconean Kudshayn the secondary. What they find as they translate the tablets is the founding myth of the ancient Draconean people, and seeing how this shapes the thinking of these two individuals, especially the priest-scholar Kudshayn is fascinating, given that what he learns impacts on his faith.The characters are all great. I had a soft spot for Cora, Audrey's assistant, as being someone we would recognise as being on the spectrum. Even Audrey's one-time beau, Aaron Mornett has depth, and both Audrey and Kudshayn are painted in some depth. Audrey is driven by her famous family. Unlike her sister, she doesn't want to be involved with Society, she wants to be an academic, in a field which her family have basically created out of whole cloth. She especially worships her grandmother, although she doesn't always take the right moral from her adventures. What Would Grandmama Do is often on her lips.The keystone of the plot really lies along the lines of attempts to resist the changing of the world, and the ways in which "moderate" bigots can be as dangerous, if not moreso, than the sort who shout their opinions to the world. Very much a lesson for our time. But also a reminder that there will always be people willing to stand up to the bigots and show how we can, together, turn darkness into light.
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