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A smaller-scale view of a dark supers world.

By Sharkerbob, author of Graven

Jan 27, 2019: Note: This story is completed in ebook form, but is being posted for free chapter by chapter on the Anathema web serial blog. I was given a copy of the completed book as part of a review swap.

Gift of Light is a smaller-scale, self-contained story set within the Anathema (aka Powered Destinies) universe. Despite being a stand-alone novel, it would really benefit the reader if they read Anathema (currently being released on Amazon as Superluminary) first, to better familiarize themselves with the setting and some of the major players in that setting who are referenced.

Overall, this is a solidly written story. Characters are distinct and have a good chemistry with one another, both between allies and enemies. I also appreciate that the main character, Wisp, has powers that are very useful, while still being small scale and of very little use in combat, making this a supers story where the hero is still very much in danger throughout; she has to use her wits and ordinary equipment to make it through dangerous situations.

I also like that the story doesn’t allow her an easy out when dealing with making hard decisions; the story is not only about survival, but about her responsibility in keeping her gang safe. While Wisp doesn’t develop as fully as the characters of Anathema, she is still a rounded character, and we get a good sense of her struggles.

After reading Anathema, it is interesting to see a smaller-scale story set within this universe. Anathema covered numerous conflicts in numerous locations across the globe, with numerous parts of the world being rocked by superhuman disasters. This book zooms in to focus on the survivors of just one of these many locations, giving us a fuller view what one of these locations is like. I think its a neat way to expand on the world, and I could see several side-stories like this being done to flesh the setting out further.

If I had a complaint it’s that, despite its short length compared to Anathema, I still felt there were parts of the story that dragged. Parts of the book seem to linger on scenes longer than necessary, and the main plot takes a while to get going. Aside from Wisp herself, the characters didn’t hook me much until the main conflict really picked up. Admittedly, I am kind an impatient guy when it comes to stories, so it could just be a matter of taste; I prefer a faster pace to a narrative.

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