Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Review: 'The Light and the Glass' by Michael Diack

The elves and humans know that their fate is intertwined as they seek to survive the threat of enemies known and new. The seven stones of light, hidden by the wicked Mayer, hold the key to victory. The renegade dragon brothers, Gorlyx and Brelyx, offer their only hope of recovering the lost stones – but can they be trusted?

The Light and the Glass is the second instalment of the self-published fantasy volume Empyria, and provides a satisfying conclusion to the tale of Nimerians’ desperate plight.
Mary, Faria, Jax and the rest have suffered through the destruction of their home city, and The Light and the Glass tells of their struggle to cross the perilous desert with their people and relocate their city to a place called Dunein, not without perils of its own. But there’s more than one civilisation under threat, and the stakes are raised with the introduction of the elf kingdom, ancient and precious and sublimely beautiful. Athmane and Bayoud, two of our heroes from the first book, must assist the elf prince Viro in reclaiming the artefacts of his people in order to gain the elves as allies in the defence of their own society. As one threat is ended, another emerges. A demon from another world raises a monstrous army from the depths of a dread lake, and all the while the deadly Sanghouls work ceaselessly to bring death and destruction to mankind and bury civilisation beneath the endless sand.

The Light and the Glass has a much wider scope than Shadows in the Sand as the conflict escalates and the stakes increase. The addition of the dragon brothers Gorlyx and Brelyx allows the characters to travel far and wide in their quest, as well as creating an interesting new dynamic regarding the relationships between races. This book has more of an epic feel than the first, perhaps because of the scale of the conflict and the number and variation of the participants, but also because it pays homage to many of the great traditional elements of high fantasy: sorcery, magical weapons, evil beasts, war and battle, dragons, magic stones, elves, and more.
I think one of the author’s strongest areas is his ability to create vivid and varied settings. The Light and the Glass takes us to a whole range of different places during the course of the characters’ various quests: from the Rainbow Kingdom of the elves to the eerie danger-filled underwater lake at Dunein; from the sinister mountain lair of the dragon brothers to the dark abyssal depths of the mysterious Lake Wenlock. Not to mention the continual backdrop of the desert itself, the descriptions of which are so vivid and detailed as to be obviously drawn from real-life experience.

Another strong point of this series for me has been the structure. The story shifts smoothly between each of the various characters and scenarios in order to maintain tension and excitement; the alternating viewpoints work well to ensure that the reader never forgets what is happening to any one character, although I would have liked to see some of the viewpoints given a more distinctive voice.  The pacing of the story is great: lots of short but action-packed sequences with a minimum of fuss in getting from one exciting situation to another.
The Light in the Glass is full of magic, monsters and action: a pleasant and easy read for fans of the genre.

My rating: 4/5
Click here to buy The Light and the Glass (Empyria #2) on Amazon Kindle
Click here to read my review of Shadows in the Sand (Empyria #1)

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