Thank you so much Simon Pulse and the FFBC for providing me with a e-arc for review. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must state that I received this book for free and was in no way compensated for my review.
I found the overall premise to be quite fascinating. We see a society which is very similar to ours. There are still apple watches, and people listen to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry (I’m not going to lie when I say that it did require me to stretch my imagination to honestly belive that within the next ten years she’ll still be relevant), teens are worrying about getting into college etc. They also live under the fear of the next terrorist attack; five years before the novel takes place there had a been another terrorist attack in New York City which was refered to as the Blackout Bombing. The US has a president and a government that the citizens feel unsatisfied with as a result of the handling of the Blackout Bombing. The mishandling of the terror attack cause for Front Lines ( a self-governed, volunteer based organization that has become more popular and more heavily relied on than government first aid services) to be founded. Light Years is different than most other dystopians because we get to see the progression from normalcy to living in an environment in which the lives of millions are forever changed. The rise of militas, distrust in the media and the panic that comes along with an epidemic. Light Years plot was able to capture my interest because of my curiosity about the cause of the epidemic and its solution as well as my interest in seeing Font Lines in action.
Like I already mentioned, my disinterest for the characters caused me to not be completely invested in the book. I would have to say that the biggest issue that I had with the characters, was Luisa. She was not a complex character; Luisa made rash decisions based off of her emotions when she’s supposed to be portrayed as un-emotional and rational. There were instances where she came off as a know it all rather than a leader which didn’t make her a likeable, endearing character. I also wasn’t blown away by her innovative technology because it felt…..not inovative enough. Therefore, I found it to be very difficult to connect emotionally with her and it ended up being a reason why I chose to take a star off of my rating.
The little moments that Luisa and Ben had with their parents were my favorite. We readers were able to examine the dysfunctional and complex relationship children can have with their parents. It added realism and depth to the story.
An aspect about this book that really, truly disappointed me was the portrayal of Luisa’s Synesthesia.
Synesthesia “is an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. Synesthetes hear colors, feel sounds and taste shapes…. Synesthetic sensations are highly consistent” according to Scientific America. We see throughout the story the “blending of senses” that Luisa has when she recalls memories, feels stressed, happy, sad, observes interactions etc. However not only is this neurological condition never named but Luisa is ashamed of having it because it makes her feel “foolish”, “weak”, and “freakish”. It didn’t make sense to me why the author would decide to give the impression that Luisa was ashamed of her condition and yet have it be huge part of the story. Obviously, it’s not like I was expecting the protagonist to preaching about self-love and acceptance of disabilities in the first chapter; but the use of the work weak to describe an illness that other people suffer with was an unwise decision to make on the authors part.
I took off another star from my rating because the ending was perplexing. It felt rushed and this is because Light Year’s is a stand alone novel and so the beginings of an epidemic, travelling across the country, and finding a solution to said epidemic had to be rolled into 304 pages. The novel should have been longer for the ending to feel more fleshed out and so that more questions were answered.
Overall, I enjoyed the writing style of Emily Ziff Griffin and I would defnitely read any of her future releases. Would I recommend Light Years? I’m not sure, I think that it depends on what you enjoy reading since so many people have enjoyed this book.