“There’s a price on her head, and it has everything to do with the brand on her arm.
Tertian Space Coalition has blessed every planet in the quadrants with high technology, save one: Drosero. But in spite of their tenuous treaty with the ruling clans, TSC has plans for the backward planet. And they’re not alone.
After a catastrophic explosion, Kersei Dragoumis awakens in a derelict shuttle, alone, injured, and ignorant of the forbidden technology that has swept her into a nightmare. The brand she’s borne since childhood burns mysteriously, but the pain is nothing to that when she learns her family is dead and she is accused of their murders.
Across the quadrants, Marco Dusan responds to the call of a holy order… Marco discovers this particular bounty has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with prophecy. One that involves the hunter as much as the hunted.”
Author: Roni Kendig
Genre: Space Opera
Brand of Light in a Nutshell
Kersei lives on a world without technology and trains to be like her father, the greatest warrior in all the land. After a deadly explosion that kills her clan, Kersei is taken to space and held as a prisoner, tortured for her family’s deaths. In the midst of all this, the strange brand on her arm burns.
Marco is a hunter, gifted with the ability to track his bounty’s scent for miles. He lives for the thrill and the honor of the hunt. When a priesthood gives him a bounty on Kersei, he is determines to bring the girl in. Whether she’s guilty of her crimes or not. Immediately, he knows that things aren’t as they seem. The bounty is wrong. The entire space coalition is after this girl. And strangely, the brand on his arm burns when she’s near.
This book broke me. It’s been a while since I’ve felt the urge to throw a book across the room, but Brand of Light did it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED it. But, the ending seriously left me traumatized and more than a little angry.
Calling Brand of Light a space opera isn’t entirely accurate. It’s a thriller, with plenty of action and suspense to keep you turning pages until the end (which I hope makes you angry too). It’s also a fantasy novel, with prophecies, magic, and ancient deities.
This is one of those rare books where the writing style, characters, and plot are incredibly fleshed out and flawless.
What I Liked:
The World Building
I am beyond impressed by the level of world building in this book. Once you start reading, you’ll become immersed with a completely different universe with its own creatures, traditions, rules, and even languages.
Kind of like Star Wars, but without the endless species of aliens and the Force. That said, there are definitely some fantasy kinda-sort-of magical elements in the book as well.
The cast of characters in Brand of Light is immense. Sometimes it was difficult for me to keep track. That said, each character is unique and well-fleshed out. Every single person in the book has a part to play in this wonderful drama.
I hated it. I loved it. And then I hated it some more. But trust me, it was the good kind of hate. The plot drew me in from the first page, tossing and turning my emotions until I finished it. I have a feeling Marco and Kersei’s story is more of an epic, filled with twists that completely destroy me by the end of it.
Things I didn’t like…
I loved this book so much that it’s honestly difficult to pull out the negatives. But, speaking objectively, I can see these elements becoming frustrating for some readers.
There’s no doubt that you’ll be overwhelmingly confused for the first 20-40 pages of the book. Brand of Light doesn’t give you any time to adjust. The author just throws you into the water and it’s up to you to not drown. You’ll have to acclimate to the new language, the culture on a couple planets and spaceships, plus Marco’s abilities. I’ll admit, it’s a lot.
Once you figure everything out though, you’ll enjoy the full spectrum of this beautiful world.
Lots of Characters
Seriously though. If I had one complaint, it’s that there were lots of characters and I just couldn’t keep up with who is who. I feel like it’s kind of necessary in the world that Ronie Kendig created (it literally touches on 4 planets and 3-4 spaceships), but this still took me out of the book a little.
The Writing Style
This isn’t a complaint, more of a disclaimer. Ronie Kendig’s writing style is very unique. Lots of sentence fragments. Very short sentences. (Kind of like this blog post.?) This writing style is gripping and creates a fast-paced read, but some readers may not enjoy it. I, personally, loved it.
Would I Recommend It?
I either hate or love space operas. I loved this one. Brand of Light offers a diverse universe, compelling characters, really cool powers, a twisted ending, all with a splash of romance. I feel like you would like this book if you’re an Andy Weir or Brandon Sanderson fan.
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