by Megan Linski
Series: Rhodi Saga #1
Published on September 4, 2016 by Gryfyn Publishing
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Flight. Hyperspeed. Clairvoyance.
These are some of the powers gifted to the Rhodi, an ancient sect of assassins who defend Crescentia, a dystopian world with a dying hope.
Dyliana Fairsson is one of them. After losing her parents to a suspicious accident, she and her twin brother, Devin, join the Rhodi to avoid starvation. Under the direction of her master, Dylan struggles to learn the strength of her magic …as well as hide the growing scars on her wrists. Can Dylan become the warrior, the hero, she’s destined to be? Or is she fated to fall from the light into the darkness?
From the beginning, Rhodi’s Light was a jumble of stories and genres and all sorts of problems. We’re in a dystopian world that reads almost like a fantasy with modern technology thrown in to make things interesting. Dylan and Devin are newly orphaned and given the choice of staying on the streets or becoming warriors — Rhodi. Meanwhile, there’s a background conflict between the Rhodi and another group. There are the multitude of characters and their depressing backstories that never really get explained. And it’s a mess.
Before I go any farther I’d like to mention that this book does contain self-harm content as well as brings up mental illness. I cannot accurately say if it’s portrayed well but the addition of this content does not affect my views of the characters afflicted.
I’ll start with our protagonists, Dylan and Devin. Twins, training to be lethal and up against more than your typical teenagers. I really disliked Dylan. She constantly complained and contradicted whatever was said. Bratty is a good way to put it. I never felt like she really cared about anything except maybe her brother and it made it hard to get behind her as a character. Devin had more of a head on his shoulders and was the teacher’s pet when it came to training. He was slightly more bearable. With both of them, I held no interest in their fates.
Their two masters, Tavana and Talidin, also siblings, acted years younger than their true ages — almost as if they were teenagers themselves sometimes. Also, I didn’t get the whole name thing in this book. Some of them, like these two, were more fantasy-esque while others like the younger twins were modern. But I’ll get to that.
The action scenes were lackluster. Usually it’s alright if the characters aren’t as well-written, especially in the first of a series, as long as the plot makes up for it. But for a book about Rhodi, trained fighters, the scenes never showed it. They told it. For the vast majority of this book, I listened as the author told the story. And it’d be a decent story if I’d had a chance to see it instead.
But here’s the thing about this book: all of the pieces are okay on their own. The story. The characters. The world. Combined, however, they ended up tangled in a web of half-finished ideas that have potential they never reached. The author combined several fantastical elements into a world with modern technology but they don’t make sense. I felt like I was reading a fanfic of a slightly worse-off version of our world where there were all of these warriors using medieval weaponry. It’s a combination that can be done but carefully and I don’t think this book quite got that. There are a lot of themes going on as well, as if the author meant to address everything they thought a novel should have. I appreciated the attempt but because there wasn’t that full development of ideas I didn’t invest in the book as a reader.
There’s a lot of good in this book but it was overshadowed by the mismatched components. Sadly, I was all too excited to finish despite the short length.