Thursday, March 11, 2021

Review of "City of Light, City of Dark: A Comic Book Novel," by Avi

 Review of

City of Light, City of Dark: A Comic Book Novel, by Avi ISBN 0590208586

Three out of five stars

Nebulous reasons for many things

 This story is based on the existence of beings called the Kurbs, they possess great power and owned an island as well as the sky above. The Kurbs thrived in darkness, drawn to it like moths to light. When humans first came to the island of the Kurbs, they had to get permission from them to construct a city there.

 A pact is drawn up between the humans and the Kurbs, there is a ritual involving the power of the Kurbs. Every year on the 21st of June, the Kurbs will hide their power and from that point on, there will be less light each day. The humans must find that power and return it to the place of safekeeping on December 21, at which time the days will begin to lengthen again. Of course, this coincides with the natural changing of the seasons. If the power is not returned on December 21, then the daily amount of daylight will continue to decrease.

 A woman is designated by the humans as the searcher for the power. She herself is capable of donning several different disguises, making her task of searching easier, for she can more easily gain the trust of different groups.

 However, the plot device of the Kurbs is secondary to the primary one, which is dealing with a family where the father is extremely embarrassed by his actions. So much so that he takes his daughter away from her mother and the two of them assume other identities. An evil man knows the truth and continues to blackmail the father into feeble submission. Much of the storyline involves this complex interaction.

 I found the story to be difficult to follow, the presence of the Kurbs could have been rendered superfluous as the reader never really receives an explanation of what they are or what they do. It is as if the writer needed a foil to get started on a story about family separation with an eventual reuniting.

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