I only realized partway into Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s Fall of Light that this was actually a sequel to a previous book: A Fistful of Sky. I elected to keep reading anyway, but I can’t help but wonder if I’d read the other book first, whether this one would have made more sense.
This one’s premise was promising, I thought: Opal LaZelle is a makeup artist working on a movie set, and she’s got a thing for the man who’s playing the monster of the movie. Only something awakens to possess him when Opal goes a little overboard on mixing her magical talent in with her gift for makeup artistry–and she discovers that the location where they’re shooting is no coincidence. Makeup artist is certainly something I hadn’t seen done before in a fantasy novel, and I wanted to give this one points alone for an unusual profession for the heroine.
Unfortunately I found the read disappointing, I fear. It was admittedly a bit of a relief to have most of the cast react surprisingly well to discovering that Opal is magically gifted–but on the other hand, all of them, including Opal herself, seem surprisingly casual about the fact that something else has invaded the consciousness of Corvus Weather. Also, there are several interesting concepts the plot toys with–is the invader of Corvus truly evil? Are Opal’s past flirtations with darker magics going to unleash part of her that should never have been given form? But these concepts seem thrown forward for the reader’s consideration, and none of them get any real resolution at all.
Which isn’t surprising, given that the book overall doesn’t get any real resolution, either. Without going into spoiler territory, I’ll say right out that the ending is a cliffhanger, and I’ll have to hope that Ms. Hoffman plans a followup, if nothing else just to give these characters some closure. If one isn’t coming, I have to take this book as a standalone experience, and ultimately as such, it doesn’t satisfy. Two stars.