“God’s gone. I was his firstborn. I am your master now.”
There’s something very wrong with Lily Wright. On top of her mysterious illness that can’t be diagnosed, people have a habit of trying to kill themselves rather than speak to her. Plants die at her touch, and a series of increasingly disturbing incidences convince her that she’s been demonically possessed. Yet the truth is far darker than Lily imagines, and she discovers a world that is haunted by a past that won’t stay dead. Trapped with an inescapable new identity, Lily finds herself at the heart of a ten thousand year old love story, an apocalyptical war between Heaven and Hell, and a rivalry that dates back to the dawn of time.
Littered with historical and biblical references, as well as a whole lot of humour and sass, this YA fantasy is like nothing I have ever read before.
Lily, the protagonist, is absolutely mesmerising, and I would argue that she is one of the most morally ambiguous and complex characters I have seen for a long time. Defnas has a sharp wit that makes his characters refreshingly modern in their attitudes, and Lily’s cynicism would be at home in any self-deprecating teen of 2018. The supporting characters are well-developed too, particularly Rosh and Toffee, who together with Lily make a dysfunctional trio of friends who are effortlessly funny and had me laughing out loud in public more than a few times.
Lightbringer isn’t a romance, but love plays a huge part in the plot. It can be found in the angels and their commitment to God or Lucifer, it can be found in Lucifer’s tragic fall from grace, and it can be found in Lily and her budding romance with Rosh. I’ve said before that I tend to need convincing about a YA match – characters are so often thrown together without any kind of believable foundation to their romance – but Rosh and Lily were very compelling as a potential couple. Rosh’s reasons for standing by Lily aren’t just those of a young man blinded by love; I believed in Lily as much as he did, and his dedication just proved his strength of character.
If I am to sin in this life, I would rather I sin with you.
One of the biggest themes of the book is morality. You would think when it comes to Heaven and Hell that it would be obvious who is good and who is bad, but that isn’t the case in Lightbringer. Every great villain has a backstory, and I was often left undecided on who to support, as each side was so complete in their ideology. And what if the strongest moral compass – albeit flawed at times – is found in a figure you have believed your whole life to be inherently evil? Who do you side with then? Conceptually, this makes for a truly engaging read.
Overall, a stunning debut novel by Victor Defnas that confirms the rumours are true: he is certainly one to watch.
Star Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Lightbringer is now available to buy on Amazon.