Review: City of Light (an Outcast Novel) by Keri Arthur

Format: mass market paperback
Pub Date: January 2016
Publisher: Signet
Length: 368 pages
FTC: Received for free from RT16, presumably from the author or publisher
POV: 1st, past

To my knowledge, this is my first novel by Keri Arthur. I'm not a huge Urban Fantasy reader, and those that I do read are usually UF with strong romantic elements. This is not that type of book.

As my limited experience with UF has shown me, first books are often the worst in a series, simply because SO MUCH TIME is spent on world building. It's just the nature of the beast that the story will drag a bit. Added to that, I'm sure I'm missing some of the shortcuts I'm supposed to get because I don't read a lot of the genre...there were times I was flat-out-lost in the details of who was supposed to do what. It's a lot to remember. Overall, though, this was different, compelling, and emotional enough to keep me reading.

This is a grim book. It's set 100 years after a war that was filled with atrocities committed by both sides...and Tiger, our protagonist, is a hidden relic of that war. She lives alone with the bones and ghosts of the war's casualties...including children. Her days are filled with scavenging food and parts to keep her bunker functioning

I admit, as a romance reader, the sexual content of the book made me uncomfortable. Not because it's casual, but because it is eventually used as a weapon. That bothered me. It also bothered me that threads connecting secondary characters seemed to be dropped and picked up at will. I wish there'd been a little more interaction between all of the characters and less introspection, but that is partly due to the first person point of view.

There's a lot of emotional heft here, though, which is what kept me reading. Guilt, loneliness, regret, desperation, desire, fear...Those are all well done, and saved this book from being another run of the mill, post-apocalyptic story.  I'm hoping for more character-centric content in the next book which comes out in November.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:

They ended the war.
But they started something worse.

When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others—demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay….

As a D├ęchet—a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war —Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being—an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth.

Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe…

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