A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda brings to life a beautiful new fantasy world and deep character development for all the inhabitants of a small (but magical) village called Marrowdell. While A Turn of Light is paced quite slowly, the relationships that Jenn is able to develop and the mystery that eventually unfolds makes for an enjoyable fantasy reading experience. You will definitely not get through this one quickly, but once I got to the end I was happy to have had the experience!
Note: I received A Turn of Light from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda (Night's Edge #1)
Published by DAW on March 5th, 2013
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 896 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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The village of Marrowdell is an isolated pioneer community, but it is also the place where two worlds overlap, and at the turn of light--sunset--the world of magic known as the Verge can briefly be seen.
Jenn Nalynn belongs to both Verge and Marrowdell, but even she doesn't know how special she is--or that her invisible friend Wisp is actually a dragon sent to guard her... and keep her from leaving the valley. But Jenn longs to see the world, and thinking that a husband will help her reach this goal, she decides to create one using spells. Of course, everything goes awry, and suddenly her "invisible friend" has been transformed into a man. But he is not the only newcomer to Marrowdell, and far from the most dangerous of those who are suddenly finding their way to the valley...
- A Turn of Light is a hefty book at 800 pages, but this allows for a whole lot of character development. The relationships that Jenn has with all the other villagers isn’t something just hinted at. You as the reader really get to see all the little exchanges between people that add up to life in a small community. This means that by the end, you don’t just care about Jenn and the few important secondary characters, you care about every single villager because you know about their lives as well.
- At first we only get hints at the fantasy world that hides behind Marrowdell, but right away you know that it’s going to be awesome. There are toads that have sharp teeth and lay eggs (though the villagers think this is perfectly normal) and a breeze that carries the voice of a hidden being in the meadow. A Turn of Light beautifully captures the mysterious magic that I love about fantasy worlds!
- Jenn and her sister Peggs are adorable! I love sisterly and family bonds in general, and Jenn’s family is the best. Her father is very much present and important in her life, her aunt is living with them for the summer and serves as a mother figure to the girls, and Peggs is such a great older sister. It was so refreshing for family to be a positively depicted element for once.
- The last 50 or so pages of A Turn of Light were crazy awesome and far more epic than I was expecting. I absolutely loved the ending and how things were wrapped up and really consider it worth the wait in hindsight.
- The biggest problem that I had with A Turn of Light is that it is reeeeaaaaally slow at times. It took me over a week to read, which is just ridiculous for me. I read 1000+ page book in less than a week just the other week. I frequently found myself struggling to keep reading about day to day life in the village. There are exciting and interesting pieces of story in A Turn of Light, but they happen in between pages and pages of sewing and taking care of livestock.
- There is a love triangle in A Turn of Light and there is no hiding it. Very near the beginning both men show up and express interest in Jenn and Jenn feels torn between the two. It is resolved by the end, but there is a period of time when she is actually writing love letters to both of them one after the other!
- There is pretty heavy info-dumping and purple prose throughout A Turn of Light. While I was excited to find out about the world and cultures in it, it was annoying when it was all of a sudden lesson time. Combine that with a lot of over description of things that I didn’t much care about, and I found myself tempted to skim some paragraphs.
- The writing of A Turn of Light is at times beautiful, but often a bit odd. There are a lot of fragments that remind me of a stream-of-consciousness style narration, but it is third person so it didn’t really seem to fit. I also frequently found myself hitting “garden path” sentences where I initially interpreted the sentence one way, got confused, reread the sentence and realized that I had read it wrong. This was really frustrating when it happened at least every page since it slowed down my reading immensely.
The world and characters introduced in A Turn of Light are ones that I came to love, even though the going was a bit slow at times. If you are okay with the more traditional fantasy style of lots of description and information about the world, you may fall in love with A Turn of Light, but definitely don’t expect an action-packed read. I’m looking forward to the second book since it sounds like it will have a bit more action and I think that that combined with this amazing world will be a joy to read!
Also check out Pabkins’ review of A Turn of Light since I love the points she made!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
A Turn of Light by Julie E. Czerneda
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