By: Jennifer Armintrout
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: September 2009
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: January 17, 2010
In the first book of the "Lightword/Darkworld" trilogy, the division between fantasy and reality no longer exists. The veil separating the two has been torn apart and now humans, faerys, demons and even dragons come into contact with each other. But there are problems and the humans have forced the creatures of fantasy into the dark world of sewers and stench where they fight among themselves.
At the start, the reader is introduced to Ayla, a half-faery, half-human resident of the Lightworld. She is an assassin for the Faery Court, charged with destroying those creatures deemed harmful to the faery world. While tracking a werewolf, she herself is tracked by a Death Angel, an immortal race of merciless beings set on destroying all that might harm humans. If Malachi, the Death Angel, had known that Ayla was half-human, he would have avoided any conflict, for touching her will render him mortal. They do fight, leaving Malachi a mortal and fatally wounded. Normally, Ayla would have simply finished the job, but for some unknown reason, she decides to leave the suffering Death Angel to die alone.
Heading back to the Lightworld, Ayla meets up with her mentor, Garret, brother to the Queene. He is in love with Ayla, and although the Ayla doesn't share her suitor's love, she nonetheless realizes that being the mate to the brother of the Queene would be advantageous. With marriage to Garrett looming, Ayla continues her duties, but it isn't long before she once again meets up with Malachi, who has survived the conflict.
Queene of Light offers court intrigue as Ayla deals with Queene Maab, Garret, sinister plots, and betrayals, while at the same time opens the door for romance as Ayla and Malachi develop an unlikely affection for each other.
This first book in the "Lightword/Darkworld" trilogy has much to offer in a world where humans and fantasy creatures intermingle. A faery assassin, immortality, the "Strip" (a place where all beings, human and otherwise, intermingle), dungeons and dragons are all rife with intrigue. I was looking forward to getting lost in this new world and indeed, the story got off to a quick, action-packed start. Unfortunately, many other sections dragged and much of the adventure falls flat as the characters were not fully fleshed out. What could have been amazing landscapes didn't come fully to life. The way all beings quickly traveled from place to place, coupled with the sparse, lifeless descriptions made the lightworld/darkworld seem more like one big city rather than two huge worlds forced together. We don't know what caused the worlds of reality and fantasy to meet, other than reading about "after the veil tore" and other aspects of the story are equally lacking. Too many of the creatures (pixies, vampires) seem to be afterthoughts, thrown in to add to the "cool" factor without adding to the story. Still, there was enough intrigue to keep me reading to see if Ayla would become Queene, if she and Malachi would wind up killing each other or become lovers, and to try and figure out what Garret, the Queene’s brother, was up to sneaking around the Faery Court.
Quill says: A great premise that doesn't live up to its promise.