Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan – Review

Cover- Turning Darkness to Light

Published: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.

When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

TURNING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT is a delightful fantasy of manners, the heir to the award-winning Natural History of Dragons series, a perfect stepping stone into an alternate Victorian-esque fantasy landscape.

As someone who rather enjoyed The Memoirs of Lady Trent series (what I’ve read anyway) I was quite excited to see that wouldn’t be the last of the books set in this lovely world of dragons. The main character of this series is Lady Trent’s granddaughter, Audrey Camherst who is a brilliant young lady who’s already made an impact on the scholarly world. She is offered the chance to translate a set of tablets supposedly discovered in the Akhian desert and it’s quite possible this will be the opportunity of her life. Things are somewhat more complicated than that (obviously, otherwise it’d be a dull story) and Audrey proves to be just as brash as her grandmother at times.

Much of the plot is centered around Audrey and her Draconian friend Kudshayn’s translation of the tablets, which appear to be an as of yet unheard creation story. The political climate is hot – there is a debate over the sovereignty of the Draconians, plus a good deal of racism towards what some perceive as a race that deals in human sacrifice. The tablets could easily provide leverage for either side of the debate depending on what they say. It’s really quite interesting in theory, though the intense parts of the book are scattered about and there aren’t many.

While the subject matter was interesting and not quite as adventurous as that of the Lady Trent series, I did like the characters quite a bit. Audrey is an intelligent, independent young lady who’s decided to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and make her own path. As I mentioned, she’s already quite the scholar at her young age and has already encountered some bad eggs in the scholarly world that continue to haunt her. Audrey is honestly at her best when she’s doing something a bit mad, like confronting angry mobs and running into burning buildings. Kudshayn is a more steady presence and is primarily a talking point in society because he’s a Draconean. He has wings for goodness sake! He’s sort of a representative of the Sanctuary of Wings and takes his job quite seriously. We get to see his doubts and struggles as he writes missives home much as we get to see Audrey’s inner thoughts in her diary excerpts.

Turning Darkness Into Light was a good book, however it didn’t have the same adventurous charm as The Memoirs of Lady Trent. This is far more scholarly in nature, with a good portion of the book being the translations of the tablets and there were so many little footnotes! They were at times helpful, though I began to ignore them because they were more distracting. I’ll more than likely read any other forthcoming books, though at this point it appears to be a standalone at this time.

Stacking the Shelves: 9/14/19

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!

Received for Review:


Orbit books really came through for me all at once and most of these books (unless otherwise specified) are courtesy of their awesome publicity team! Thank so much!

Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw

This has been one of my absolute favorite paranormal fantasy series and the grand finale has arrived! I’ve already read it, loved it, and now just have to review it!

Prudence by Gail Carriger

I really enjoy Gail Carriger’s books to put some lightness back into my reading list and this was no different. This is the first book in the Custard Protocol series following the daughter of Alexia Maccon and you can check out my review HERE.

Dark Forge by Miles Cameron

This is just a haul of epic, much awaited sequels! Dark Forge is the second book in the Masters and Mages trilogy and you just can’t go wrong with Miles Cameron.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

This was a surprise arrival earlier this week. I’ve actually had my eye on this book since it’s already out in ebook format but decided to wait since my TBR is already huge. I guess it was just meant to be.

Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

This is actually my current read and if you liked Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series, you should check this out too! Many thanks to Tor for the finished copy!


A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

ABERCROMBIEEEEEE! I’ve already read this beauty and can’t wait to share a review soon! I love that this is a hardcover and it will look so epic on my shelves.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

I’ve seen stellar reviews for this book and can’t wait to check out some awesome portal fantasy! Also, that cover is just SO lovely, how could anyone resist?

The True Bastards by Jonathan French

I’m pretty stoked to have gotten an eARC of this one. I’m pretty excited to see how Fetching stacks up as both the new leader of the Bastards and the main character. Thanks to Crown for the eARC!

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

I almost keeled over when I actually got approved for an eARC of this! I almost NEVER get the YA books that I’m INCREDIBLY EXCITED about. I absolutely love the cover art for this and can’t wait to dig in after I get through the huge stack of September releases I’m drowning in! Thanks to Katherine Tegen books for the eARC!

My Purchases:


A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause

I admit, I love a book with a touch of fashionable flair as part of the plot, but I’m honestly not sure this will be a winner. I received this in my August Bookish Box subscription and it’s not something I would have picked up on my own, though I may be surprised and really enjoy it!

I also picked up these really lovely little Wordsworth Edition classics. I got The Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, Black Beauty, and A Christmas Carol.

And lastly, my audiobook purchases over the last month. I picked up Murder Theory, which is the third book in The Naturalist series, Quill by A.C. Cobble which is a mystery type book that very much reminds me of the show Carnival Row (at first), and The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang, which is my current read.

Currently Reading: 9/9/19

Cover- Quill

Quill by A.C. Cobble

This is both a book and author I’ve never heard of (and it’s independently published). It’s been too long since I’ve really went in totally blind based entirely off the synopsis and I’m not regretting it in the least. This is a hugely entertaining book thus far and the audio narration by Simon Vance make it that much better!



Cover- Turning Darkness to Light

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan

I’m definitely into the adventurer type books at the moment and can’t wait to see if this series is as good as those featuring Lady Trent. With the promise of conspiracies and archaeological discoveries I just couldn’t resist!

Waiting on Wednesday: Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!

Cover- Turning Darkness to Light

OH MY GOODNESS. I had no idea whatsoever that there was another series set in the Lady Trent world coming out! The main character in this series is Lady Isabella’s granddaughter Audrey Camherst. Sharing her grandmother’s love for scholarly pursuit, she is researching evidence of a Draconean civilization and it drags her into a dangerous conspiracy. I’m expecting just as much delight and adventure from this series as I did from the previous! The release date for Turning Darkness into Light is listed as August 20, 2019 – a short six months away.