“…you never really recovered, so much as you learnt to go on living even though you were falling apart.”—Krystle Matar, Legacy of the Brightwash
When I opened Legacy of the Brightwash, I wasn’t expecting Krystle to rip out my Mom-heart and show me my parenting pains. And I’m not just talking about the horror of a child’s body washing up on shore, which is a nightmare to anyone. I’m talking about the exquisite pain and pleasure of holding a baby, fresh and young, snuggled into your shoulder when your own children are too big to be cuddled that way. Krystle brings the small moments of being human to emotional light, and you as the reader toil along with her characters.
As a reader, you explore all the range of human emotion in Tashué, Stella, Illea, Jason, and Lorne. With these characters, you get to rage against the injustices of your world and fret over your feelings of inadequacy in what exactly you can’t do about it. Then you get to see how the fire is lit in each individual as they strive to preserve who and what they hold dearest, weighing what they are willing to do, willing to give up for love. I judge a book by how many feelings it can stir in my heart. Krystle’s characters bring the hurt, the anger and the betrayal, but they also bring the joy in small moments and the sorrow once you realize those moments have passed you by.
Brightwash has a magic system with little explanation so far except that it is part of who you are and most simply do not have it. The cost for wielding magic becomes clear, both the physical and social cost. This book explores the darkness and looks back on how individuals contribute to the nightmare unknowingly. Do not come to this book looking for all out gore. There is violence, however, and characters that revel in it because that makes sense for who they are. There is sex and drugs and addiction, but there are also consequences; they sting deliciously. There is love, of course, but there is no happily ever after yet. Do come for the love, though, and to answer the question What are you willing to do for it?
Legacy of the Brightwash is a character-driven slow-burn centered on raw, imperfect people struggling in a grim, dark world. It is high fantasy with low magic and elements of romance. This is the first book in a trilogy, so it’s just getting started. Aren’t you lucky? 5 out 5 stars
Brianna Note: I consider Krystle a friend however that did not play in the validity of this review.
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