reviewed Angel Arias and discussed Burn Bright (which I read before starting my review blog). If you are unfamiliar with this series, I strongly recommend you have a look at that review first and read the earlier books before reading the rest of this post. This review contains spoilers for the earlier books in the series. A copy of Shine Light was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes.
The Night Creatures trilogy is very much a story in three acts. Burn Bright introduced the world and highlighted some obvious problems, Angel Arias was mainly about a fact finding mission to uncover what was really going on in the world and Shine Light ties the facts in with the world building and has the main character fix some of the problems. Although I read each book as it came out, I strongly feel that this series would be most optimally enjoyed when read together in a single block. The sequels rely heavily on what's gone before and so I definitely wouldn't recommend starting reading anywhere other than book 1, which is also where important world building happens.
Armed with some of the secrets of her world, Naif returns to the teenage dystopia/utopia of Ixion to help those left behind and doomed to die. Along the way she finds a way to save them from their semi-inevitable deaths and how to fix some of the strange things that were wrong with the world (beyond the societal problems, I mean).
What I liked about Shine Light was the return to softly science fictional world building hinted at in Burn Bright. Angel Arias was more about the society than the world and made me thing that the SF-y hints would be ignored. Happily, Shine Light delivers on the premise hinted at in book 1 and the reveals and resolution were satisfactory. Also, unlike many superficially similar YA books, Naif doesn't set out to overturn their society, but rather to eliminate a more external issue. The end result might equate to saving the world, but it struck me as a more plausible kind of world-saving for a group of teenagers to be doing.
Overall, I recommend this series to fans of speculative YA who might be looking for something a bit different. There are otherworldly creatures around, but they aren't traditional vampires or werewolves and so forth. The setting-vibe is uncommon and added to the enjoyment of the read. I do, however, strongly suggest reading all three books in a row. In the end, I think I would have preferred it to be released as one longer book, rather than three short ones.
4 / 5 stars