Book Reviews

Review: Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

I know that Marie Brennan is like a fantasy icon dominating the dragons and archaeology game. But I, sadly, had not read any of Brennan’s books until now! Turning Darkness Into Light is one of those stand alones where you can read without having read the entire series and it is fantastic!


As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Let me just start off this review but saying I love dragons. I think dragons and Daine and Tamora Pierce ignited my love for fantasy. Sure there was also Garth Nix and necromancy, but dragons made me fall head over heels in love with fantasy. That being said, Turning Darkness Into Light not only features dragon humanoid characters, but combines my love of mixed media books and archaeology.

There are journals, newspaper articles, and as one of the biggest pieces of Turning Darkness Into Light is Audrey’s translations, translated text. This book will give you an appreciation in the art form of translation. There are word choices, context, grammar, and typos. Archaeology and translation is one of those subjects that have fascinated me recently and so Turning Darkness Into Light was perfect timing!

Audrey’s love of learning and knowledge is infectious. Even more than that, Brennan allows us glimpses into the past through flashbacks. We are able to appreciate the relationships and betrayals that have landed our present day characters in this convoluted plot. Turning Darkness Into Light delivers a plot of politics. Groups straining to be heard, to have their place in the world recognized. We witness not only the potential importance of the text Audrey is translating, but what real world consequences it has.


Turning Darkness Into Light is a fascinating read that immerses you in a world of conspiracy, high stakes, and danger. It is important to read the footnotes as they clue you into the commentary of the story. This is a story of betrayal, loneliness, and our quest to be seen. It is a story that places emphasis on the importance of history, of telling our story, and our fight for recognition.

Find Turning Darkness Into Light on Goodreads, Amazon, Amazon (UK) The Book Depository.


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