Lightlark by Alex Aster, #124 review

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5


Welcome to the Centennial.

Every 100 years, the island of Lightlark appears to host the Centennial, a deadly game that only the rulers of six realms are invited to play. The invitation is a summons—a call to embrace victory and ruin, baubles and blood. The Centennial offers the six rulers one final chance to break the curses that have plagued their realms for centuries. Each ruler has something to hide. Each realm’s curse is uniquely wicked. To destroy the curses, one ruler must die.

Isla Crown is the young ruler of Wildling—a realm of temptresses cursed to kill anyone they fall in love with. They are feared and despised, and are counting on Isla to end their suffering by succeeding at the Centennial.

To survive, Isla must lie, cheat, and betray…even as love complicates everything.


Lightlark was written for 1 type of reader and 1 genre ONLY. It is for the Fae Fantasy cult. Yes, cult. Those who worship faes, read only or mostly fae novels and adore them. Those who are so crazy about this genre that despite reading the mediocre storylines with more plot holes than the portholes in Bangsar roads and build-ups that lead to nowhere. Those who read it for the complete escapism of magic and all imagined things possible, for those who dream of vast worlds, bigger and bolder. If all of the above checks your boxes, congratulations, you’re going to love Lightlark.

If they don’t, welcome to my party of 1, or two, plus Lilian. We’re here to cut open the book like cracking an egg in two. With respect. This book is a chaotic mess of the most popular troupes stuck together with elephant glue, meant to balance a magnitude of promises only to pull apart when it mattered most. With a robust dosage of drama that was meant to entertain, instead, I’m left wickedly amused (not in a good way).

Right from the start, it was immature, it didn’t read as if it came from an author that had experience in publishing. This was not a debut book by the way. It is her second book. I still can’t get over the word “cliffy”, WHAT TF? It eventually got better, there were some nice analogies sprinkled along the way to cover the flaws. Example: Her wall of swords glimmered at one side, winking their hello.

A PLATTER OF MUSHED-UP CAKE. Cake is nice right, fk that, it is heaven. It changes lives. It promises a lot. Lightlark promised a lot. It started ok. It tried to be intense, it tried really hard to be full of plot twists. It was all borrowed material to me. It reads like a patchwork of storylines that were plucked from different novels, full of recurring themes, lines, and scenes. All deconstructed to the bone, the author grew new skin, gave them trendy clothes to suit the era, handed a sword, pat them on the back and said: THERE YA GO, NOW GO FIGHT. The middle had a good chunk of redundant scenes and dialogue. It made for great entertainment. However, it contributed absolutely nothing to the character development and storyline. It wasted a lot of time for the characters who were consistently reminded that they were running out of time. THE ENDING. Ah, that’s when the person that was holding the cake, aka Isla, fell and smashed it on the floor, smearing icing all over the walls for a good added dose of theatre. At times, I wanted to throw my book onto the wall. I didn’t. I paid too much money for it. I screamed to Lilian instead. The ending was rushed, fast-paced, messy, dramatic and nonsensical. Did I see it coming? Yes. I used to LOVE reading fae books. Until they all read the same. Which is why, Lightlark wasn’t a new fresh tale for me. Mushed cake is still sugary goodness. Hence, this book will be an AMAZING MINTY NEW READ for those who are new to this genre.

The Characters
WHERE DO I START? Each character’s personality was solid, the framework was well built. The sims worked swellingly, they played their roles as they should. There was hardly any development for them, except for Isla. She is the youngest in the Centennial. Naturally, with her lack of experience, she is to learn a lot in this brutal curse. I did like the gruesome bloodshedding parts. It was cruel and a necessity. She makes a lot of questionable decisions, strays from her mission and works hard. I admire her determination to see things through and her discipline. I like that she fights against everything to prove that she is just as powerful as the rulers. She operates as she was trained to. She’s a good tool, a reckless one but she gets the job done when her judgement isn’t clouded. She teaches an important lesson in which if you lack in a department, you work your ass off to be twice as better in your other skills to be an equal if not better than those who look down on you.

Chapter Titles
I say this at the top of my lungs; THE CHAPTER TITLES DID NOTHING FOR THE BOOK. It only took up space and made the page look cramped. Maybe they were added for the character 6 character page overlay. I would much prefer that they replace them with “Day 30 of the Centennial”. At least with this, readers will have a timeline and they can understand the haste of time and they too will feel the thrill. It contributes to excitement and anxiety, a healthy balance to jumpstart the heart.

The Controversy
Prior to the book release, many ARC readers have taken to the internet with their pitchforks raised, calling for the blood of the author and incineration of the book. They successfully dragged the book into the dirt and raise hell for the author overnight by plummetting Goodreads rating to 2 stars. It was hateful and the doings of an uneducated gaggle of children. Like children, they didn’t think ahead. Instead of making the book unpopular, IT RAISED A PEDESTAL FOR THE BOOK. Controversy brings about the best of conversation. And the conversation is fueled by reading the book. Lightlark became even more popular thanks to yall. I’ve been following to author since she posted her TIKTOK on “Would you read a book if -“, aka the start of her Lightlark career. It saddens me that the book wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped it would be. Respectfully, I admire the author’s determination to be published and her success has proven that with the might of Booktok, dreams can come true. It is no surprise that her book is a bestseller and lots of people love it, but lots hate it too. It is a hit or miss. It is wonderful for entertainment, escapism and TV. This has been quite a journey for me, despite the shitshow it went through, I hope for its future to be as golden as the yolky sun that hangs in the sky of Lightlark.

Narnia appreciation
If you know me, I’m constantly using a magnifying glass to look for anything related to Narnia, even the tiniest of detail. ALEX ASTER whether you did it on purpose or it was an honest element. Thank you for that hidden door at the castle ruins. The parallel to Narnia: Prince Caspian wherein the Pevensies’ treasure room entrance was a hidden wall.

With all that has been said, would I read the sequel? Yes.
Thank you so much if you read my entire review, this may be the lengthiest review on my blog. You achieve an achievement. You’ve read 1160+ words. Congrats! All opinions are my own, I have no ill will towards the author. This is purely academic.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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