Fantasy Novels

‘Turning Darkness Into Light’ Review: The Exciting Mysteries of Archaeology

Turning Darkness Into Light continues the Lady Trent series with a new adventure featuring her granddaughter, Audrey Camherst.

It’s a definite rollercoaster, shifting from the excitement of academic discovery to the horrors of a conspiracy that could spell doom for all involved. This is admittedly my first foray into this wonderfully drawn world and I loved every minute of it. The writing is expertly done, the characters are multi-faceted, and the mythology is enthralling. 


Brennan has created a beautiful creation myth that pulls from a fascinating alternate history. We see how the world was created in the eyes of the ancient Draconeans and how that differs from their more modern mythology. It’s an especially epic tale, and we get interpretations from both Audrey and her Draconean friend, Kudshayn. That dual perspective, of foreign scholar and native priest, adds a lot of meaning as the tablets are interpreted.


With each new translated tablet, you can feel the thrill each character experiences. They’re discovering something never seen before, and that concept is exciting on its own. It harkens to a past age of human history where archaeological discoveries were the constant talk of the town, engaging imaginations and creating a frenzy for further discoveries.


This side of the novel is especially timely. We see people actively trying to bring down a race much different than their own based on falsehoods and a complete ignorance of fact. Audrey is a hero in the face of these evil people, revealing them as conspirators in an especially heartless plot. It sheds light on the importance of truth and the dangers of prejudice. 


I love the combination of letters, diary entries, catalogues, etc. It adds an extremely authentic feel to the book and gives you a closer insight into the characters than a more typical narrative. 

This is a spoiler, so avoid if you want the back half of the book to remain a surprise!


I was most intrigued by the surprising direction the book took. What started as a thrilling archaeological find became a huge conspiracy meant to hurt the relations with the Draconians. It’s born of deep prejudice, casting already questionable characters into pure villainy. Brennan writes this part of the book expertly, throwing in clues at every turn until the full mystery is revealed.

Turning Darkness Into Light
By Marie Brennan
Published by Tor Books

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Photo by Jon Minnema on Unsplash

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