THIS IS A REVIEW OF A SECOND BOOK IN A TRILOGY AND THEREFORE MAY CONTAIN
SPOILERS OF THE FIRST BOOK. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
to delve into Light the Way:
One of the things that is instantly different to Blinded by the
Light is an introduction to a new protagonist. This is an interesting way to
open the book – it creates a fresh voice to the story we’re familiar with,
and acts as a way to differentiate the
two books making it clear this is an evolvement of MaryAnn’s story. What’s
interesting about having two protagonist is that they’re from completely different worlds. MaryAnn is
the privileged daughter of the legislate, whilst Charlotte is a country girl
from the outside. This adds some diversity in the book and makes it easy to be
able to tell the voices apart as they have different thought processes.
There is a lovely addition of light humour throughout between
MaryAnn, Peter and Daryl. This works well to stop the book from being heavy,
and helps to build a contrast between some of its darker parts. It creates
light and shade in the book, which is something that we feel is important in
dystopias, especially those aimed at young adults. No one, especially not
teenagers, want any more misery added to their day, which is why comedy can
have its place in these of books.
We find ourselves in a complete change of setting to Blinded by
the Light. This allows a better understanding of the society as we see it from
the eyes of those living beyond the boundaries of the Light. We’re given a
glimpse into how the Light still holds control over the outside, and exactly what
it means to be ‘immune’ for individuals.
This book works particularly well by having a first person
narrative, especially with two different protagonists. As we have an insight
into the minds of both the characters, we find things out as they find them out,
and in some cases we know things before the other characters. This is a great
strategy as it makes you root for the characters, with your mind screaming out
to tell them what they don’t yet know. It creates a connection between us as
the readers and the book, as we can’t
help but become a part of their world.
The main thing we were really impressed with is the fact love is
still not the main aspect. It’s so refreshing for teenage relationships not to
take over the whole story – more often than not we turn to a book like this to
find out about a society, not about an all consuming crush. We do hope Joe
Kipling continues this into book 3, but that’s not to say we’re opposed to love
– everyone needs a little bit sometimes.
Light the Way had a very readable pace – the story was fast enough
to keep us gripped and not too much was crammed in to make us confused. The
whole book focuses on one main event rather than lots and lots, meaning that it
didn’t become increasingly unbelievable. This is a change from the first book
which did feel like there were lots of little events that built up to MaryAnn’s
we could change anything it would be:
A more believable story. At times it became quite obvious the
characters would make specific decisions. This meant the book lost some of its
draw as we weren’t surprised by what happened. We did enjoy the way the book
played out, but sometimes it was just a bit too predictable, meaning we weren’t
as enticed as we could have been.
More tension building. Some of the things that happen in Light the
Way have a huge negative impact on the characters, but there is not quite
enough build up for it to also have an effect on us, the readers. Maybe this is
a good thing – it stops us from absorbing too much negativity that could be
harmful, but it also means we aren’t as consumed by the book.
It would have been more thought provoking if the human rights
issues explored were more explicit. This would have built more tension and
depth into the book, as it would have given it the grittiness most dystopias
benefit from. There were definitely issues explored, but they just weren’t
quite in enough depth for us, which meant they didn’t make us hate the society
as much as we should have done.
At times we did find ourselves yearning for something to relate to
in the main characters. They were perfectly likeable and had their individual
flaws, but we still felt there was something lacking to make us really connect
to them. This may have been intentional on Joe Kipling’s part to make us focus
more on the society than the characters, but in reality we need to be able to
relate to those whose mind we’re in.
Age recommendation – YA