May Contain Spoilers
I am a big fan of Keri Arthur’s Souls of Fire series, so I was excited to check out City of Light. This is the start of her Outcast series, which has a futuristic, post-apocalyptic feel. The main character is a déchet, an artificially conceived super-solider with both shifter and vampire DNA, and she’s been trained to seduce enemy shifters to divulge their deepest secrets. She can alter her image, she’s immune to poison, and she can talk to ghosts. She’s also pretty kick ass in a fight, and can better than hold her own in most instances. She has one major weakness, and it’s almost her downfall several times during the story. Tiger was in charge of the nursery in one of the déchet bunkers, and after the shifters won the war and attempted to eradicate all traces of her kind, she was forced to watch all of her young charges, as well as every other individual in the bunker, die horrible deaths when toxins were pumped into the structure. When she learns that a child is in danger, she drops everything to save her and ends up leaping from the frying pan into the fire.
It’s been over a hundred years since the end of the war, and Tiger has spent most of that time hiding in the bunker. The shifters dumped cement into the bunker to permanently seal it off, but luckily for Tiger, it only filled the top levels, leaving the rest of the structure intact. There are secret entrances that she makes use of to steal in and out of her home, which is populated with the ghosts of her young wards, as well as the deceased warriors that inhabited the lower levels. This was one of the largest plot holes for me, because it make zero sense that the victors of the war would completely overlook the fact that the military bunker had more ways in than the ones they sealed. Especially when it was so close to their city. They were so confident that they killed everyone in the bunker that it was inconceivable to them that someone actually survived. With all of the times Tiger entered and exited her home, it was inconceivable to me that nobody noticed.
After the shifters dropped bombs to end the war, their weapons tore rifts between this world and the next, letting in monsters more terrifying than those they fought during the war. Now blood-thirsty monsters dominate the night, causing the city dwellers to live under perpetual artificial light. Not only do the humans and shifters have to worry about vampires, but the Others from beyond the rifts also hunt during the night. It’s during a monster infested night that Tiger’s ghosts send her out into the darkness. There is a child out there, unprotected, soon to be a snack for the vampires. Without a second thought, Tiger races out to save her, and also finds an injured ranger, a shifter that specialized in the murder of déchets. Tiger manages to save both of them, and turns her quiet life on its ear.
There’s a lot of action and near death episodes in City of Light, and that kept me engaged in the story. Tiger can’t trust anyone – not her new acquaintances, not an old friend she’s been reunited with. There’s something off about everyone, some darkness she can’t quite place her finger on. When she learns that someone is kidnapping young children for unknown, but most assuredly nefarious purposes, she begins to suspect government ties to the crimes. With time running our, she knows she only has herself and her ghosts to rely on.
I thought some of the world building was a little weak. I didn’t think this post-war world was sufficiently fleshed out, especially when it came to the government structure and the ruling hierarchy. Some of the supporting characters also felt flat and one-dimensional. The lead up to a few of the action sequences seemed drawn out, leaving me to hope that the battles would soon begin. These are typical gripes I have at the start of a new series, and I’m hoping some of my concerns will be expanded on later in the series. I did enjoy the book, and I’m looking forward to the next title in the Outcast series.
Review copy provided by Publisher
The first in an all-new futuristic fantasy series from Keri Arthur—the New York Times bestselling author of the Souls of Fire novels.
When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between this world and the next, they allowed entry to the Others—demons, wraiths, and death spirits who turned the shadows into their hunting grounds. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay….
As a déchet—a breed of humanoid super-soldiers almost eradicated by the war—Tiger has spent her life in hiding. But when she risks her life to save a little girl on the outskirts of Central City, she discovers that the child is one of many abducted in broad daylight by a wraith-like being—an impossibility with dangerous implications for everyone on earth.
Because if the light is no longer enough to protect them, nowhere is safe…
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