City of Light (Outcast, Book #1)
by Keri Arthur
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Ebook Edition; 343 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Urban Fantasy / Dystopian
Source: Review copy from publisher
4.5 / 5 Stars
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...
City of Light is the first book in a new series by this author, and the first I have read in a very long time. While I haven't really read a lot of urban fantasy these past few years, I was very intrigued by the shifters and the bio-engineered soldiers that were created in this one. I also really enjoyed the world-building, even if it was a bit slow and confusing at first.
First of all, the world building was quite good and I enjoyed the slow development and layers as they unfolded; although it was a bit slow, I do think that was needed to avoid a lot of confusion for the reader and for me, it worked rather well. It gave me time to absorb the world and the characters that filled it as well as imagine what it looked like. What particularly intrigued me was the war that occurred over one hundred years ago, but only tantalizing bits were revealed throughout the novel. It actually gave me incentive to read further and try to decode the mystery of the enmity that existed between the shifters and the dechet, a breed of super-soldiers created for the war, and almost completely wiped out. This is definitely not paranormal romance, although there is sex in it, but not what you would expect; it really made me happy though, as the sex/lust scenario was one of the reasons I stopped reading urban fantasy. I just couldn't buy into the insta-love, insta-lust stuff any longer, and too much of it was starting to slide into the erotica zone for me.
It took me quite a while to really feel a connection to Tiger (love her name!!!) though, as I was spending too much time trying to figure out exactly what she was rather than who she was in the beginning. A dechet soldier, half vampire, half shifter, with the ability to hear and see ghosts, she was very intriguing, right from the beginning. In fact, it was her ability to communicate with ghosts that actually made her human side come out the best and I really enjoyed the scenes she shared with her ghost children. She was fierce and vulnerable, and I could definitely connect with the vulnerability I detected. It made her awesome powers less awesome, and made her seem more human. For a woman who was born to seduce, and used those powers almost instinctively, I was glad they were put on the back burner for most of the book. I did think her ability to kill using poisons was quite fascinating, if a little bit creepy.
While I definitely enjoyed the world-building, the second half of the book takes you on a wild ride, the action never stopping, never letting go. While there was definitely hints as to a future romance, it wasn't really there in this book; it actually made it far more interesting and created a lot of possibilities in my mind for the future. I really have no idea who Jones is or what his purpose is; the glimpses we get as to what he may have been and done are intriguing, and it did leave you hanging and wishing for more information, which we didn't get. The interplay between Tiger and Jones was very suspenseful and I can't wait to learn more about the two of them.
City of Light was definitely not what I was expecting, and I loved it!! It had all the right combinations in it that kept me reading; intrigue, mystery, suspense, action, and the paranormal, of course. The fact that I didn't have to deal with a potential love triangle, Tiger being strong enough to send the men in her life packing, was quite enjoyable. I wasn't overly crazy about the secondary characters in this novel, except for the ghosts, and I sincerely hope the author develops more interesting ones in the next installment, or takes down the superiority complex these ones have as, except for maybe Jones, I didn't actually find too many of them interesting. That being said however, I really enjoyed the world-building and the plot, and look forward to the next installment, Winter Halo, when it releases November 2016.