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Ghostlight by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Cover Artist: Mélanie Delon
Review by Beth Slater
Tor Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765321886
Date: 09 December 2008 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

First in Bradley's Light series, we are introduced to Truth Jourdemayne, daughter of the famous Thorne Blackburn. Thorne disappeared years ago after one of his famous occultist rituals went terribly wrong, and Truth's mother died. Truth, who does not remember the evening, went to live with her mother's twin, Caroline. Being raised in his shadow breeds a profound loathing of the man she barely remembers. Because of that, Truth devotes her life to proving that everything her father stood for is false –- she becomes a parapsychologist whose duty it is to prove the paranormal false. Thirty years after his disappearance, her meek and complacent aunt reveals a secret on her deathbed –- there were others…

Caroline leaves some of Thorne's belongings to Truth to look through, and Truth takes them before Caroline can explain their history and returns home. Once there, Truth decides to finally write the book that everyone has asked for –- the one of Thorne Blackblurn's life and history. She begins her research at her father's estate, Shadow's Gate, in upstate New York. Once there, she finds much more than she ever expected.

Thorn had claimed to have magical powers, and when Truth arrived at Shadow's Gate she found a group living there, led by Justin Pilgrim, who hoped to continue Thorn's work. There was a library where Justin kept his collected works that contained everything of Thorn's or that mentioned Thorn or his work. Against her better judgment, Truth decided to begin her research using Justin's library. The more she researches and learns, the more she questions her own past and beliefs, especially when she finds that many of Justin's followers were followers of her fathers. Were they the others? Or did Caroline mean something else entirely?

I seem to be hitting on a lot of the urban fantasy books out there and my taste seems to be hit or miss. This one has some romance and horror mixed in with it, but I usually like Marian Zimmer Bradley's work –- what I had read in the past, I had enjoyed. I cannot say that about Ghostlight.

I really had a very difficult time getting into the story, and I had issues with Truth and her character. She was a very inconsistent protagonist who couldn't make decisions –- which some say followed her growth and development –- but that wasn't how I perceived the character. I was too aggravated with her changes in levels of education from one moment to the next and her emotional immaturity to connect with the character. I'm afraid I can't recommend the book like I can the rest of her work, and I won't be reading the rest of the Light series.

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