Book Review: Lightborn by Tricia Sulivan

The urge to unnecessarily classify a project is a strong one and accordingly as I began this book I found myself trying to do just that.  The results were inconlusive, the two main protagonists are both in their early to late teens, so it could legitimately have been a coming of age story, but the book deals with the devastating although localised  effect on humanity of a mind altering disaster and so my first thoughts were that it was a zombie apocalypse tale, although this evolved into thinking it was a dramatic exploration on the definition of consciousness.  And running throughout all of this is a seam of urban resistance, so maybe it’s a war story.

The answer of course is that Sullivan has taken all these threads and woven a beautiful tapestry from them.  Her writing style makes for easy reading but you have to pay attention to follow the intricacies of  the si-fi themes that she teases onto the page. The plot also makes several twists and turns and is not handed to you on a plate. Refreshingly though you do not finish this story with a ‘huh’ on your lips, but rather a considered thoughtfullness.

I’m not convinced that she has accurately captured the voice of the children in her story as they all spoke with a far more mature voice than I would have expected but then adversity forces maturation. However, as a mother I suppose Sullivan is in a better place to judge than myself.

Lightborn is one of the nominations for this years Clarke awards and the one whose premise attracted me the most.  In combining the themes that she has, Sullivan has not disappointed.

Lighhtborn is available from Orbit books

If you like this book then check these comics

 The Light from image Comics – An apocalyptic story where people are infected by the Light

DMZ from Vertigo comics – Excellent urban war story

You can check out an interview that Tricia did with Geek Syndicate here

and a video interview with her at this years Arthur C. Clarke Awards here

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

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