The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker

Strangely Beautiful #2

I can say with full honesty that Hieber's second tale of the most unusual Persephone Parker is every bit as intriguing, genuine and delightful as its predecessor.  The opening prologue is set during the first book, following a minor character as she watches the events of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Persephone Parker unfold (with choice epitaphs).  Chapter one then picks up very soon after the events of book 1 and wastes no time in setting things in motion.

What I enjoyed most about The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is that while the story is linear, we follow several different threads as they weave in and out of the main (that being Persephone Parker).  The myth that is the foundation for the 'ancient vendetta' between Light and Darkness is put to use more heavily in this novel, with Percy alternately dreading the past she can't remember and wishing she understood her role better.  Though Percy shows more backbone and spirit in this book, she is still as uncertain and unsure as ever.  Several factor make her doubt Alexi, or perhaps not doubt so much as worry over, and his feelings for her.  Plus her fate seems tailor made to end in an unfortunate demise at nearly every turn.

The rest of the Guard (Michael, Elijah, Jane, Josephine and Rebecca) receive more depth and time to stretch their own stories more.  As Alexi and Percy grow closer, and rely on each other more, the others see this unique chance at their own freedom in different ways.  Elijah dreads what will become of a promise he made to Josephine years before, Josephine is a twitter at the possibilities, Michael desperately tries to both convey his affection for Rebecca while also trying to keep it hidden out of fear, Jane retreats further and further into her 'miracles' and Rebecca...half torn by the fact she can never have Alexi now, she is also tremendously frightened that her feelings of bitterness and jealousy will be the undoing of the Guard's hard work.  I felt the worst for Rebecca, though I felt keenly for Jane.  We learn a lot more about her, a bit about her past.

My one irritation was with Percy and her endless worrying.  She is, by far, one of the most fragile girls I've ever read about.  Sometimes she seems quite capable and self-assured and ready to take on anything that presents itself.  However the slightest change in attitude towards her--whether it's Alexi or someone else--and she begins to doubt everything.  Alexi's love, the Guard's treatment, her role in Prophecy.  That sort of fragility puzzles me, seeming entirely extreme given all the evidence to the contrary.

The ending of the novel is guaranteed to make you choke up, or in the very least get misty-eyed.  It's fraught with tension and upsetting events.  The epilogue is more hopeful, and Hieber's website lists a short tale will be available in the winter as part of a collection, so I look forward to seeing how the circumstances work themselves out.

Book Blurb for The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker

With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun.  Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come.

Night Owl Reviews May, 2010 4.75