Jennifer Armintrout’s Lightword / Darkworld series begins with Queene of Light and introduces Ayla, a half-mortal fae. Her role as an Assassin for the Queene of the Faery Quarter causes her to cross paths with one of the feared and reviled Death Angels but her hybrid background protects her from his attack because of her half mortal nature. Somehow she fails to complete her geis to execute this immortal that she has condemned to mortality and they unwillingly form a bond that will transcend the taboos of their disparate societies. Ayla herself is wooed by the brother of the Queene despite the aversion that most of their society has towards her half-breed status and she becomes unwillingly embroiled in the political structure of the Lightworld. A betrayal by a trusted friend ensnares Ayla in a fight for her life as well as for the very leadership of her people.
This was an intriguing and complicated story that needs a bit more exposition. The complex relationship between the Lightworld and Darkworld with the dividing Strip and the multiplicity of denizens that populate this reality is a bit overwhelming without a more detailed index or glossary. Humans themselves seem to have fragmented into bands of scavengers such as flesh peddlers or biomechs in a world that has vampires, dragons, angels, faeries and countless other races that are existing in the sewers and other underground areas. The characters are a bit two-dimensional and caricaturish but the series has a lot of potential.
In a time not long from now, the veil between fantasy and reality is ripped asunder—creatures of myth and fairy tale spill into the mortal world. Enchanted yet horrified, humans force the magical beings Underground, to colonize the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels beneath their glittering cities.
But even magic folk cannot dwell in harmony, and soon two Worlds emerge: the Lightworld, home to faeries, dragons and dwarves; and the Darkworld, where vampires, werewolves, angels and demons lurk.
Now, in the dank and shadowy place between Lightworld and Darkworld, a transformation is about to begin….
Ayla, a half faery, half human assassin, is stalked by Malachi, a Death Angel tasked with harvesting mortal souls. They clash. Immortality evaporates, forging a bond neither may survive. And in the face of unbridled ambitions and untested loyalties, an ominous prophecy is revealed that will shake the Worlds.