Length: 260 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The epidemics in New York and London are over, as is the months long quarantine that Ailis, Scott, and the other survivors were put into. Everyone has moved on, in the hope that they can return to a normal life. But Ailis knows that she doesn’t have that option. Discovering who she really is and realizing who the person behind the epidemic was leaves her with no hope for a normal future. She knows that she shouldn’t interfere in the natural order that’s been established for years. But she also knows that it’s only a matter of time before Desmond comes for her; and that she will never be safe as long as he alive… and neither will anybody she loves. Her obsession pushed her to do that which she knows she mustn’t – she begins her hunt for Desmond before he can find her. In the war of Desmond against her, she wants to win. But her decision throws her life into chaos and her sanity into question. She begins to lose herself to those she once hunted, and she’s forced to wonder whether her place is by the side of the humans and all the good and bad they could be, or with the creatures that she had once detested.
I waited months for this book – ever since I finished the first two, which i read in succession too. I loved the first two and was hoping that the third installment in the series would be just as good. Sometimes, the wait is what creates too much hype for the book to finally fulfill. But, thankfully, City of Lights did not disappoint!
When I began City of Lights, I realized that I was simply turning the pages. I could not stop reading and when I had no choice but to stop (given that I have a job too!), I kept waiting for the time to get back to it. But twenty percent in and I refused to put the book down. That meant another night where I stayed up for hours reading, throwing glances over my shoulder to the dark hallway, jumping at every small sound, and straining to hear any unusual, raspy breathing.
City of Lights is as engrossing as the first two books. The difference, though, is that it isn’t as graphic and actually, doesn’t need to be. City of Lights has its own share of creeps and chills, with a little graphic edge tossed in. But what keeps the story moving at a great pace is Ailis Laurent. The heroine that Katherine Sorin created is complicated in a simplistic way. In City of Whispers we saw her grow from a woman in hiding to one who fought for her survival and the survival of others. In The Old City we saw a side of hers that was not entirely pleasant but that was perfectly human as she felt anger, regret, and guilt, and yet did what needed to be done to find her sister – the woman who she had vowed to keep safe.
In City of Lights we see a new side of her that is not completely unexpected. Ailis is haunted by dreams that try to lead her to that which she needs to do. But in reality, she is as lost as she could be. Alone, with nothing but the drive to keep her family alive by finding Desmond, she finds herself associating less with those that she once called friends. She’s seen what vampires are capable of, but then, she’s also seen what human beings are capable of as mortal evil reigned in the cities that were hit by the epidemic. Katherine Sorin weaves an exceptional character, one who makes you cry, shudder, fume, and sympathize with her. Lost between who she was and who she’s become, Ailis leads the reader on a journey that goes into the very depths of the evil of humanity, the indifference brought on by ancient understandings, the understandings that led to catastrophes, and the catastrophes that led to chaos.
I found myself screaming inwardly, telling Ailis to be a certain way or not be another as she dealt with all that she’d received. And through it all, I found myself turning the pages, waiting to see what happens next, whether in Ailis’ reality or her dreams. Each turn of the page brought with it another exciting moment – horror, emotion, love and loss, are all existent and hold you in their grip at all times. And it all culminates in a climax that was eerie, leaving you perched at the edge of your seat as you wait to see what happens.
However, there was one thing in the book with which I had a problem. I found a few things too given to be likeable. There are some strange things happening in City of Lights, just as you’d expect. But I was hoping for more of an explanation to those things which never came. While I could appreciate the value they added to the story, I didn’t much appreciate the fact that they were chalked up to ‘that’s the way it is’. I thought that adding a little explanation and a ‘why’ would have gone a long way in making it flawless. I only hope that Katherine Sorin plans another book in the series, because I really want to know what happens next with each of her characters.
In spite of its one shortcoming though, City of Lights is as good as its predecessors and anyone who has been a fan of the series will not be disappointed. In fact, you will probably be up nights as you rush to finish it and find out what happens. I would recommend City of Lights for anyone who has read and liked the first two City of Whispers’ books and anyone who has a thing for vampire fiction – not the sweet, cushy vampires of course – but vampires as monstrous and devious as they’re meant to be.