Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review :: The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

"Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything."

It's been a little while since I read some YA Contemporary and I was so ready for this.  The Light Fantastic promised a rich narrative with some punch, so I didn't waste any time starting.  I'm gonna bullet point this one because it's that kinda book.

  • I was quickly hooked, and didn't take long to finish.  I was really intrigued by the majority of the storylines and needed to see what would happen. 
  • I felt no small amount of dread for the duration of the novel.  This was obviously due to the subject matter and its connection to so many deeply horrific events.  The dread was largely unfounded because...
  • ...Combs was delicate in her treatment of said subject and sidestepped rather than delved right in. The novel is about the characters, not the events. 
  • At least one of the narratives could easily have been omitted without doing any damage to the story.  In fact, I think this would have enhanced it.  Some of the storylines left me with more questions than answers.  Fewer narrative strands would have tightened things, IMO, especially as we reached the resolution point.
  • I found myself checking back on the regular to place a character.  There are many of them, situated in a number of different settings, and the links are tenuous (though satisfying to connect).  
  • In saying that, it's more than possible that a reread would clarify things.  Combs packed in a lot, and I'm sure I missed many of the subtleties.  This is a textured, layered story, rich with detail, motif and cross-referencing (a side-along reading of The Glass Menagerie would be ideal for the literary YA).  
  • Each character (mostly YA, but one is adult) has a strong, individual voice.  They felt authentic, and for the most part relatable.  
  • I couldn't help but acknowledge how easy my teen days were by comparison.  The Light Fantastic definitely got me thinking about what a messy, confusing and increasingly dangerous social climate we've created for our young adults.  
  • I appreciated the sense of hope that Combs tied off with.  It's a driving force of the novel and the message is so important.  With a bit of luck it reaches the right ears.
Hitting shelves from Feb 1st.  Keep your eye out x

Review copy kindly supplied by Walker Books

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