Review of “Before True Light: The Awakening”, by Sarah Buchynski

Secluded in an unreachable and mostly-forgotten forest, a thriving society goes about its business.  Their people are, for the most part, gifted and special.  Education includes practicing and developing their special talents.  The rest of the world has forgotten that they even exist.

However, their very presence in the world is essential to its survival.  For they hold the key, and the secret, to the workings of black and white magic.

Izanami and Zane are two of the more promising students.  Easily mastering the arts of black heka and white heka, inasmuch as anyone can, they are looked up to by the younger students and admired by their peers.

These two lives are changed forever as the result of a practice fight between the two of them.  They are struck by more force than either thought they were capable of, and plunged into a world between life and death.

In this realm, Izanami meets her Beast Guardian, a chimera named Amyntas, and learns that she is much more than a mere teenage girl in the Red Mage line.  When she awakens at last and tells the elders what has happened, they know without a doubt that she is the prophesied Warrior of Light.

Not much later than this, the village is attacked by outsiders, and Izanami and Zane are plucked out of the melee by Amyntas and set down near the outskirts of a city.  Here they meet General Kyros, who introduces them to his King.  They plan together to rescue the youngsters who have been taken by the enemy forces.

Bad becomes worse, as the rescuers learn who they are up against, and that he holds a mysterious pendant that turns the Mage Warriors powerless.

Returning, wounded and disheartened, they soon learn that their enemy has loosed an army of his own making, and that it is heading out to destroy the world.  Izanami, in her role of Warrior of Light, takes the lead, albeit reluctantly, with General Kyros by her side and Zane as her protector.

War comes to the city–and the villagers, young and old, take up the fight.  Success will go to the most powerful–or will it?


Wow, what a terrific book.  I took my time reading it, because there is so much rich detail and fantastic storyline.  In my opinion, this is one book that would make an excellent graphic novel.  I could really see every character in my mind’s eye–their loves, their fears, their insecurities, and their bravery.  Their interactions with each other made them even more memorable.

It’s definitely a Part I–readers should keep in mind that, like Tolkien, some stories cannot be contained in one book.  This is one series I really need to keep reading–I hope Ms. Buchynski has another one up her sleeve!

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