Have You Read Lightbringer?

I’m always on the lookout for a great fantasy series, as years often pass between new releases in the various series I’m already hooked on. So when I heard about Lightbringer recently, I decided to give it a try.

I heard about the series from a YouTuber I randomly discovered who talks about a wide swath of fantasy novels (I recommend his channel, and if you know of any similar channels, please let me know). He listed the Lightbringer series in his top 10 due to the interesting characters and unique magic system, so I gave it a try.

It’s one of those books where I knew within a few pages on my Kindle that I’d be buying it. The writing is super smooth, and while it’s character-driven, the plot moves forward at a brisk pace.

The magic system involves the color spectrum. In this world, certain people are able to convert specific colors of light (red, green, blue, etc) into mass. Each color manifests in different ways and even impacts the temperament of the person using it. Also, I like when magic systems have high-stakes consequences for the users, and this one definitely does.

While the book didn’t raise any big philosophical or ethical questions that we could discuss here, I wanted to recommend it in case you’re looking for a good fantasy novel. I’m now reading book 2, and I look forward to what happens next.

Have you read the Lightbringer series? What did you think?


6 Responses to “Have You Read Lightbringer?”

  1. Adrian Brown says:

    I am in the same boat, constantly on the prowl for interesting science fiction and urban fantasy. I would be interested to know what series’ you have reading. Here are some of my personal favorites:

    – Jack McDevitt- The Priscilla Hutchins Series
    This is also often referred to as ‘The Academy’ series. It is a future earth sci-fi series about various instances of first contact with or archaeological discovery of alien life. The beauty of the series is the slow unfolding of an over-arching plotline that reaches its pinnacle in the sixth book. The seventh is a prequel (one of my least favorite narrative devices) and the eighth book will be released later today, and I already pre-ordered it. The series is THAT good, Many of the books have themes that were co-opted by other popular media. The most egregious example being Stargate Universe (which I love) that is nearly a direct rip-off of the third book (Chindi) in the series.

    – Benedict Jacka- The Alex Verus Series
    This is an Urban Fantasy series in the Dresden Files vein, with a hopelessly outmatched protagonist constantly facing down the magical forces of, well…not evil. Mostly they’re just other magicians that are working for or allied with certain political agendas. It’s a pretty interesting look at a more adult version of a Harry Potter world, where the actual politics and logistics of dealing with a splintered magical society are viewed through the filter of an outcast member. The hook is that the protagonist is a Divination mage, which means he is able to magically investigate future possibilities and outcomes. So while he is a $#!tty combat mage (can’t throw fire or suck the life out of someone) he is incredibly difficult to harm or fight, since he can see all the immediate futures. Tons of fun.

    – Kevin A Hearne- The Iron Druid Chronicles
    This series is what I consider to be the spiritual successor to Niel Gaiman’s legacy. Every religion’s pantheon of gods and demons are represented in this series, as well as a lot of mysticism and regional superstitions. Gods, Vampires, Werewolves and elementals abound. The Iron Druid himself is an Irish mage that has unlocked the secret to eternal life, and so has now walked the earth for more than two thousand years. But he’s pissed off a few deities and made a couple die hard allies as well. One of the best elements is the relationship he has with his dog, with whom he shares a magical psychic bond. If you are a dog lover, you quickly fall in love with Oberon, his Irish wolfhound who wants nothing more than to eat sausages, hear bedtime stories and chase lovely groomed poodles. Such a great series.

    – Mark del Franco- The Connor Grey Series
    There are only six books, but the story arc is exceptionally well developed and wraps up an a very satisfying reveal and addressing of nearly every loose end. The books exist in a reality where the fairy realities from Irish lore intersected with our own reality with biblical consequences back in the early part of the 20th century. The books take place in Boston, where a magical community with its own slums and crime problems are a constant concern for ‘mundane’ police. Enter the protagonist, a noir detective: Connor Grey. Conner is a druid who was an arrogant, overpowered ass in his previous position with the magical equivalent of the FBI. Readers meet up with him after he has suffered a trauma while tracking down an elf terrorist that resulted in a massive explosion that killed the terrorist and stripped Connor of most of his powers. It just gets incredibly better from there. Seriously, I envy anyone who gets to read this series for the first time.

    – Harry Connoly- Twenty Palaces novels
    There are really only three novels in this series, (plus a prequel and a novella) but the character development is among the best I have ever read. It’s short enough that I don’t want to ruin it, but know that the series is told from the perspective of an assistant who chauffeurs an incredibly powerful magician to sites that require investigation. The assistant was previously a small-time thief who learned a single magical spell that put him on the radar of the Twenty Palaces. A remarkable journey ensues over the space of only three books that smacks heavily of H.P. Lovecraft mythology. The only problem is that the resolution of the series merely opens the door to a whole new series of books that never occurred.

    – Charles Stross- The Laundry Files
    Bob is a game programmer. His exceptional computer skills lead him into a direct encounter with the Laundry. A secret bureau within the British government that is tasked with preventing all manner of eldritch horrors from invading or destroying earth. The hook in this series is the heavy adherence to Lovecraftian mythology, coupled with the remarkable conceit that complex mathematics attract the attention of creatures in higher dimensions, which can affect our reality in ways that break the laws of physics. Essentially, ‘magicians’ are just terrifyingly advanced mathematicians, and the computational power of smartphones makes them essential tools in ‘magical’ rituals. It’s Stross’s best work, and though the later books move the narration to protagonists other than Bob (a decision I am not thrilled with) the deviation was clearly in preparation for the latest novel that will be released later this year. Totally worth the effort.

    -Alastair Reynolds- Revelation Space Series
    This is probably the hardest of hard science fiction, but instead of being dull and overburdened, it serves to explain all of the terrifyingly plausible concepts presented. Admittedly, by the end of the series, things lean more heavily into the esoteric, with characters and scenarios that seem to have been drawn from a China Meiville novel (dude is INSANE) but ultimately, the science is sound. The epic, millennia-spanning story weaves very organically through a range of protagonists, making each book capable of standing on its own, while providing the engaged series fan with a wealth of characters and scenarios that interact and inform later novels.

    I have at least five more high-end series I could recommend, but I need to wrap this up. Hope I helped in some way!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Wow, this is awesome, Adrian! Thanks so much for sharing this list. I will definitely check out some of these.

  2. Spin-off Comment
    Where sci fi hooks me is at its junction with the CRISPR gene-editing tool, because CRISPR is likely to make a lot of sci fi come true—not quite turning light into mass, but changing the DNA of any now or previously living thing. Hollywood has exploited the entertainment value of genetic engineering—Dune, GATTICA, and to some extent, Brave New World—and I figure now is the time for us regular folks to have our say. So I’m creating a board game and associated blog, as a fun way for all of us to help shape the storyline for our future CRISPR’d world. Any other readers, sci fi fans or not, of like mind regarding CRISPR?”

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      This is great, Dorothy! I think the success of Terraforming Mars has shown that gamers get excited about hard (and fun) science.

  3. Cris says:

    Jamey, just watched your red rising videa, checked out the blog a bit. I just finished the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemison. Have you read it? You really should it’s phenomenal!

    Anyways I’m halfway through Red Rising now because of you ahhahahha I’ll add this series to my long list somewhere…although I admit RR jumped a few others already on the list ahahaha.

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