Dying Light

Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
276 Pages
Reviewed on 01/30/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Dying Light is the first installment of A Light and Shadow saga by Claire Merchant. What worries sixteen-year-old Sienna Sullivan most is if she can pass an upcoming test to move up through the ranks of Light Lacers, people born naturally with magical abilities. However, her life turns upside down when an unexpected attack on their secluded colony by Shadow Weavers -- people who acquire magical abilities later in life -- leaves her as one of the few survivors, alongside Tobias Hail (Tobie), a mysterious teenager. On the run with Shadow Weavers on their trail, hell-bent on committing genocide, Sienna and Tobie struggle to survive their journey. Meanwhile, Sienna learns more about her familial history which makes her question everything she knew about herself and the world.

A fast-paced young adult urban fantasy novel filled with mystery, action, romance, and intrigue, Dying Light is an entertaining odyssey you wouldn't want to miss out on. Author Claire Merchant crafts an intricately woven tale set in a vivid world full of people with magical abilities at war with each other. Merchant's worldbuilding is exemplary, and the surroundings add a sense of authenticity to the narrative that makes the story all the more immersive. The world feels lived-in. The main characters are young adults with an iron will and a relentless drive to push themselves to their limits. Their distinct traits and likable personalities make them easy to root for. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Sienna and Tobie and recommend Dying Light to young adult fantasy lovers.

K.C. Finn

Dying Light is a work of fiction in the fantasy and adventure subgenres and serves as the first installment of the Light and Shadow series. It is aimed at young adult readers and was penned by author Claire Merchant. The book follows a teenager named Sienna Sullivan who is a Light Lacer, which gives her solar-powered magical abilities. Her stable and secure life is turned upside down when she meets Tobias Hail who introduces her to the dangerous outside world that awaits her. Armed with the knowledge of those who threaten the Light Lacers, she begins a journey to save herself.

The first book of a fantasy series always presents unique challenges; how to establish a complete and coherent world – including a magic system – in one story whilst leaving room to learn more about it in future books, telling a complete narrative that stands on its own but leaves room for the sweeping saga to come. It’s a minefield that Claire Merchant has mastered navigating as her work deftly avoids the common pitfalls and results in a book that can be enjoyed alone as a complete experience but also as part of the series. Sienna is an excellent lead character who I’m looking forward to reading more about in future installments, and her journey out of her sheltered upbringing is tense and exciting as it unfolds. Overall, Dying Light is exactly the sort of story I’d love to see adapted to the screen with its cinematic descriptions of the world and epic narrative, and I hope that the series continues for many installments to come.

Miche Arendse

Dying Light by Claire Merchant follows the story of young Sienna, a light lacer raised in the safety and sanctuary of the reservation. Sienna’s biggest challenges seem to be passing her light lacer classes and dealing with boys but that all changed in the blink of an eye. Sienna’s entire world gets turned upside down and she is left with the sanctuary's outcast, Tobias, as her only ally. As secrets are revealed and lives endangered, Sienna must face this new reality in the real world. Gone are the days of a sheltered and peaceful life. Now it comes down to survival and the protection of the light lacer race.

I was so excited to read Dying Light by Claire Merchant. When I saw the synopsis for this book, I immediately knew it had some relation to the Visionary series and I couldn’t wait to read it. As expected, I was not disappointed. This book was such a pleasure to read. There is so much character development, especially with Sienna as we see her slowly come out of her sheltered and spoilt persona into a much stronger young woman. I also loved Tobie for his straightforwardness and the way he stays true to himself, regardless of what others may say or think of him. Once again Claire Merchant has written such a wonderful story that touches on maturity, coming of age, young love, and growth along with the added supernatural flair. I absolutely enjoyed this piece and always look forward to reading more of Claire’s work.

Michaela Gordoni

Dying Light is the first book in the Light and Shadow fantasy series by Claire Merchant. Sienna Sullivan is a light lacer, or so she thinks. Being a light lacer means being gifted with certain abilities. Sienna lives in a secluded area with other lacers under the protection of magic. The reason? Their entire species is being hunted by other magical beings—shadow weavers. On Sienna’s 16th birthday, she discovers a lot of truths, and as strange things start happening to her, she discovers she has to flee the light lacer reservation. But she isn’t alone; a fellow lacer, Tobie, runs away with her. Whether they like it or not, they will need to use their different abilities to protect each other from constant danger. Sienna’s adventure in Dying Light is just the beginning.

It can clearly be seen that Claire Merchant’s imagination in Dying Light is endless. She has thought up a creative story with a unique, feisty protagonist and a few love interests, too. The frequent tension between Sienna and Tobie made Dying Light all the more interesting. The writing is slightly fast-paced. Claire does not overdo it with lingering scenes or overly-detailed paragraphs. She intentionally leaves a lot of gaps to be filled in the following books, leaving certain characters like Tobie with a lot of mystery still surrounding them. I think that this is a fantasy novel that is sure to entertain teens from ages 14 to 17.