Author: Estelle Laure
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Netgalley
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
When I requested this book I had no idea it was actually the sequel/companion to the author's previous book, This Raging Light, which came out two years ago. I skimmed through the reviews of that one after I figured it out and found that it didn't sound like my kind of book. Good thing this one doesn't require you to know about the previous one, and I'd argue that it's a stronger book if you read it as a standalone without a previous book.
For one, the characters come off as strong immediately. As a reader I was swept up into an already fully formed world with a character full of complex relationships with other characters. I was surprised, but in a good way, and even though I didn't get to see all the history that these characters had between each other I still felt like it was all important and that the character's themselves had had this history in the first place.
As for the plot itself, I requested it on a whim. It sounded good, even though it wasn't my traditional genre, since I like reading about near-death experiences in fiction. I had no idea what sort of emotional ride I was in for, though. The story itself is good, but the underlying emotion is amazing. I was brought to tears multiple times and felt as if I was actually there experiencing things within the pages. I've never known anyone in a coma in real life but now I feel as if I actually do. I also want to point out that the author handled the details very well. It wasn't an over the top dramatizing of the coma as a plot device, like a soap opera might do, nor did it ignore all the unfortunate side effects. It handled them gracefully and painted a bittersweet journey of a person recovering from such an event in a respectful manner.
All of this was made the better by the beautiful and heady writing of the author. Estelle Laure has a talent for words that I am jealous of on a personal level. From the first page I knew I was in for a treat and I was never let down. As the last page closed I was mourning the end of her words as much as I was crying for the events in the story. It's a beautiful prose that I'd love to have printed on my wall.
A last note, I like this story quite a bit because I felt myself connecting with the main character, Eden, a good chunk of the time. Part of it does have to do with the mental health aspect, but part of it transcends that I think. It was something about the way she thought and the way I think that made it quite the connection. This rarely happens for me, and I don't often see so much of myself in a character, but it's a pleasant surprise.
TL;DR? A beautiful book, both for the plot and the prose, that I personally connected with on a number of levels.