Author’s dystopian sequel shines bright

'Light the Way' highlights both author and protagonist's growth

This review contains spoilers for the first book of the series, to read a review of the first book from the reviewer’s college newspaper, click here.

To purchase the first book in Kindle format, click here (Print copies available).

Light the Way cover

The cover of Light the Way.

The second novel by author Joe Kipling and sequel to Blinded by the Light, entitled Light the Way, released December 1.

Blinded by the Light ended with MaryAnn making her way back to the Union caves (headquarters of the rebellion) after being tortured by the Light to try and determine the whereabouts of her Unionist brother Daryl.

Light the Way, however, starts following Charlotte Swift, an Echo living outside the Neighborhood who is chosen to be reassigned to Delta and service the Light. Her family is threatened, so she turns herself over to be taken for 18 months of “reeducation” at the LightHouse.

Charlotte meets other teenagers who were taken in for reeducation, including a pink-haired girl named Flo.

In Chapter 4, the readers are taken back to MaryAnn, who has been recovering in the caves after getting sick while adjusting to the unsterilized life outside the Boundary. Peter, Daryl’s best friend, lets slip that Daryl had a crush on a pink-haired girl traveling with the circus who will be arriving for the May Day party.

The book switches between the two protagonists, and we learn that Charlotte is the niece of Mr. Murray, the Union spy who was previously planted with the Director of the Light. When the circus comes in, Daryl learns of Flo’s fate.

MaryAnn and Peter volunteer themselves to Mr. Murray to help rescue the girls from the mysterious and undiscovered LightHouse. Daryl joins them, despite it not being a Union-sanctioned operation. From there on, the two narratives begin to converge into one.

The book is a clear progression from Kipling’s first, and her growth as a writer shows throughout the entirety of the story.

The first book in The Union Trilogy had somewhat of a rushed pace, some of which could be attributed to the zealousness of the characters. However, Light the Way felt natural and there was a lot more “showing” than “telling” throughout the book, which the first seemed to lack at times.

Still, there were times when Kipling could have drawn out the narrative to fully illustrate MaryAnn’s journey.

As the author’s writing matured, so did MaryAnn. The character went from a spoiled girl who was confused in the wake of the death of her parents, to someone learning to live without her upper-class privilege and finding the courage for unparalleled heroics.

The Union Trilogy has a similar feeling and tone to Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, but you can also feel a touch of J.K. Rowling’s masterful Harry Potter series.

Between pink-haired female characters, a pirate radio station keeping a resistance communicating and a dystopian world where the main character’s core beliefs of the outside world are challenged, Kipling’s book seems natural on a bookshelf with Harry Potter, Divergent and The Hunger Games.

At 268 pages, Light the Way is an invigorating page turner that will leave the reader flying through the book in just a few hours and eagerly awaiting the final installment of the trilogy.

To purchase “Light the Way”, click here.

Rating: 4.5/5
Book Review 4 half

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