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Monday, September 13, 2021

Book review: Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar


AUTHOR INFO: Krystle Matar has been writing for a long time, but things got serious when Tashué Blackwood walked into her life, an amber-eyed whirlwind. When she isn’t arguing with him or any of his friends, she parents, and farms. She has a lot of children and even more animals and one very excellent husband. She is currently working on lots of stories set in the Dominion. She expects to exist in this universe for a while.

Publication Date: February 18, 2021 Publisher: Imburleigh Book Company Page Count: 662 Covet art: Brad Bergman

OVERVIEW: Legacy of The Brightwash is an impressive debut. It blends elements of dark fantasy and romance with the murder mystery. Tashué Blackwood has been working as Regulation Officer for years, no questions asked. Even when the Authority condemned his son Jason for refusing to register as tainted, he did nothing. However, when a dead girl washes up on the banks of the Brightwash, tattooed and mutilated, something breaks in him. He starts looking for answers.

Need I add he does not like the answers?

Matar has created a dark world and an even darker story. Pain, grief, and despair affect Tashué’s actions and development. But so does love. For his son, his friends, and the woman he would do anything to protect. Even in his darkest moments, Tashué can rely on others. Which is interesting, because most (if not all) of the characters in Legacy are deeply hurt and angry people with tragic pasts. I appreciated they could find some peace just by being together and caring for each other.

There is no single antagonist in the book. The system is rotten and the desire to change it puts Tashue on a collision course with the National Tainted Registration Authority, powerful (and power-hungry) politicians, and the prejudices of the world he lives in. This makes his change much more difficult. Instead of simply kicking the bad guy, he has to rethink everything he used to believe in.

At its core, Legacy of The Brightwash is a devastating tale about love, sacrifice, and how indifference and prejudice can shape a community and set the lives of others on dark paths. Systematic oppression turned gifted with Talent into second-class citizens. Most people label them as tainted and don’t trust them. Forced to register with the Authority, they have limited freedoms and even fewer possibilities. They’re used as assets to develop Dominion and that’s it.

Matar’s writing style is elegant and rich. Even when she describes the gruesome details, she does so with sensitivity - the book is never exploitative. That said, bear in mind she pulls no punches when she describes the cruelty of people and atrocities committed in the name of progress. In one chapter she describes the aftermath of the explosion that killed innocents - she shows victims but the true impact of these scenes lays in the emotional description of the pain of survivors whose world has just collapsed. Stunning descriptions, merciless and memorable.

Is it perfect, then? No. It's well-paced but not always; parts of the story drag. I think there's still a place left for ruthless trimming that would it tighter and more poignant. But it's just a minor quibble - I felt immersed in the story throughout.

I heartily recommend the novel. It’s intense, violent, and leaves a long-lasting impression. It makes the reader ask what comes next and when can they have it.

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