Trudie previously reviewed Legacy of the Brightwash here.
A lot of the books I read are such that they can be described with words like charming, wholesome, or delightful. As such, it’s with utmost confidence that I’m able to say that this book is not delightful.
In fact, whenever I mentioned I was curious about reading it, people warned me the book was dark, – very dark, as if they weren’t quite sure my delicate sensibilities would be equal to the task. So when the time finally came, I poured myself a steady whiskey, took a deep breath, and prepared for the worst.
Good thing that.
Legacy of the Brightwash isn’t the brutally-violent-and-sadistically-cruel kind of dark, but rather systemic-oppression-and-mutilated-children dark. Sure, it’s brutally violent too, but that’s just part of the setting, not a defining aspect of the story. Don’t read this if you want a violent gore fest. Read this if you want to be reassured that perhaps the real world isn’t so bad after all – and then make sure not to draw any parallels to anything in the real world. I mean, it’s got magic, so it’s fantasy, right? It can’t have anything to do with reality, right?
The story follows Tashué Blackwood, a law enforcement officer/social worker in charge of making sure the tainted/talented are kept in line, and it’s about how he loses faith in the Authority he once fully believed in and supported. Shit gets complicated real fast, and then it gets worse.
It’s dirty, ugly, and real. It’s awesome.
What I’ll whine about
The book is probably a little longer than it needs to be, and throughout the middle of the second half, I found my thoughts wandering from time to time.
What I’ll gush about
I was prepared for this book being dark, but I was not prepared for it being so heart-achingly beautiful. The budding relationship between Tashué and Stella as it takes form is exquisite – like a tiny flower in a patch of sunlight, growing through the cracks of a gutter flooded with excrement and drowned rats. Despite the bleak, ugly world these characters exist in, they still find, step by cautious step, the strength and courage to open up to each other, and it’s beautiful.
Depth. This is the kind of story that sticks around in your head even when you’re not reading it, and after you’ve finished the book. I’m no stranger to staying up late reading, but it’s not nearly as common that I lie awake after putting the book away, thinking of what I’ve read. Just like this book is not delightful, it’s also not brain candy.
Legacy of the Brightwash is a bleak, dark tale about coming to terms with a world that isn’t what you were lead to believe. It’s about how it’s difficult to be human, and it’s excellent.