Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Children of Lightning - Book Review


Children of Lightning by Annie K. Wong is what I call a strange story. There are a lot of characters. There were some interesting aspects like how the names given at birth have a significance and changing them could affect the life of the person – or creature involved. I also enjoyed the use of poetry and songs.

"Power unchecked is ultimately self-destructive." This quote probably best describes the novel and the main character.

The description of some of the characters in the novel, all of whom are creatures, was weird throughout. There are Plurans, which are Medusa-like creatures that for some reason can't have male children and accordingly have to mate with one of seven Ophidians. The latter are snake-like creatures but throughout the novel I could not really picture them; I also felt the description given to them was constantly changing.

The mating ritual is considered a 'deadly dance'. "Lonely and sorrowful, the pluran grieved in song and the Ophidians were charmed. They agreed to help the pluran conceive if she would serve them. Thus began the covenant that inspired thrill and dread for all plurans."

Although all the creatures in Children of Lightning were created from the "Lucerie Lightning" (a kind of comet that hit their land), there is obvious class distinction. The plurans are looked down upon most of the time.

One of the main themes of the novel is the names given to the plurans. The mother described in the early chapters begot a daughter, whom the ophidian named "Wriven" meaning "fierce". However, the mother did not like the name changed it – without the child's knowledge – to "'Tithren' meaning 'Victory'".
The novel also focuses on destructive ambition, particularly Tithren's.

"All seven of these serpentine monsters lurked in the Shadowlands, preying on living beings. They would eat anything, including a snake-haired pluran like Mother."

I liked that Tithren had clear flaws, which were greed and a temper, but there was no development, which was one of the main aspects that bothered me in the novel. The narrator constantly said that Tithren "couldn't control it." (It being her killing spree and selfishness).

After her first kill, Tithren goes on a killing spree. She also seeks to become something like a Rend Apex – the one in charge, which makes her short-tempered, stupid and a murderer.
Continuing with the character development part, I thought that after learning her real name Tithren would become fierce and wise, but she just become blood-thirsty and stupid. She is also extremely selfish - to the point of insanity for her and to the point of ridiculousness for the reader.
"Confused and careless, she pulled the dagger out. Blood poured from the wound like a waterskin punctured."

The fight scenes were awfully strange. I couldn't picture any of them. The colours of the ophidians were bright and dark at the same time. It could just be me, but I just imagined a big blob of colours some with spider legs, some with a snake body.
There was also a lot of gore, and mixed with the colours – it didn't go so well.

Starting part III, the time frame begins to get jumbled. Nine years and a war have passed, which we don’t know was between which species.

There are hardly any likable characters, just Junpo and probably Tithren's mother.

The novel kept me going and I wanted to reach the end to see what would happen but I felt the ending wasn't strong enough. I also didn't like the main character, Tithren, and it's hard for me to enjoy a novel, where the protagonist isn't likable – and more like obnoxious.

There are several interesting quotes in the novel, which was fun: "We came as one, a diamond from the sky. Together we must stand, or we will all perish like a teardrop shed and evaporated."

At the end of the day, I ask myself: would you recommend this book to others? In the case of Children of Lightning, my answer is No.


Note: I received a free copy of this novel in 2015 as part of a blog tour, but because I didn't like the novel, I had to withdraw from the tour as I could not promote a book I didn't like.