Sisterhood of Light: Legacy of Darkness by: Arthur Barillas

Synopsis

She may only be in high school, but she gives demons nightmares.

St. Helena, California, is in disarray after the death of demon hunters Teresa and Ana Smith. Demons, vampires, and other creatures of darkness reign in the night, sinking the old wine country into hopelessness and despair.

Sixteen-year-old demon hunters Izzy, Grace, and Nikki arrive alongside their Guardians, trying to bring order to the cursed town while juggling the pressures of trying to live a normal life. Then an ancient vampire arrives in town—one who will stop at nothing to bring forth a demon from hell into the terrestrial plane and make humanity captive to their forbidden desires.

Can the teenaged demon hunters prevail against this new evil? Or will they fail, and let a new hell lay waste across the Earth?

Evaluation

Even though this book is technically young adult fiction, reading it never gives me that teenage vibe. Yeah it’s written about three teenage girls, but the action of the book and the substance between the pages deserves more than to be limited to a “teenage” genre. Because honestly, it’s way more badass than that.

Verb-Driven Action

As an action writer myself, I know that the best fight scenes are ones that lack a ton of adjectives and are driven by verbs. The verbs keep pace, they keep things moving, and Barillas does a phenomenal job at doing just that. Even the longer fight scenes do not dull, which is rare! Barillas does has a talent for making his more lengthy fight scenes meaningful and purpose-driven (not just to make the characters look cool).

Barillas also made it crystal clear how different in power the average vampire was from the ancient ones in battle. The trio of demon hunters had no issue and rarely got injured fighting ordinary vampire hordes. But when it came down to one ancient vampire versus the three demon hunters, the girls got whipped so badly they brushed death. Well done comparing the power of these two races of antagonists.

Humanizing Characters

One of my favorite feats that I know this author struggles with when writing is hurting female characters, but he writes it SO WELL! Barillas has a wonderful talent for humanizing his characters. These three teenage demon hunters have super strength and accelerated healing, and yet…they still fall in battle against elite vampires. They experience paralyzing fear, and they have weaknesses. It makes the girls relatable and entertaining to read.

The Coolest Freaking Names

Ankrnot, the Karratt Order, UrthaMal, Sabine, Solas…They just sound awesome, okay? They also sound incredibly ancient, which more than suits the characters the names belong to.

Atypical Inner Battles

Almost every time we face down a villain with a superhero, they hero is fighting the same inner battle of insecurity or past loss. But Barillas changes things up a bit by giving his girls specific demons to face: fear. Nikki’s fear is claustrophobia and Grace fears a past enemy of monumental power, and boy I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read something new on page. Predictable characters are never fun characters, but these girls were more than entertaining.

Religious Undertones

Barillas has a talent for writing God into his novels. Sometimes obviously, but most of the time, God and the Devil are hidden in plain sight. For instance, the way the vampires work in this book through fear (Satan’s main weapon). Or the strength in numbers Izzy, Nikki and Grace are always talking about resembling the power of community in Christ. Or UrthaMal’s power being to cause the destruction of humanity by overwhelming them with their inner desires, or “driving them to be slaves to their hidden pleasures” as Barillas wrote on page 204. Satan works the same way: enslaving us to our sins. I love me a good Scripture-writer disguised as a fiction writer.

Only Real Problem…

I don’t dock books stars for editing. If the editing affects the entertainment value or clarity of the book, I’ll definitely drop it down from five stars to four or three. The editing in this book was pretty lazy. On page 140, for example, the number “3” is written into the page where it should have been spelled out. The character’s name “Anna” was written as “Ana” many times throughout the entire book, including the back jacket. There were some stylistic errors made on page 302 with the headings. It was distracting, as a writer, to see those things, but I didn’t take a star away from the review because most readers would skip over those cosmetic imperfections without a second thought. It didn’t hurt the story whatsoever; it was just inherently lazy of his editor.

I loved this book, and like I said, it’s written about three teenage girls, but it is anything from being JUST young adult fiction. The action is fast paced, the battles are bloody, and the villains are villainous for once! You’re going to fall in love with these girls from page one and crave more of them by page 324.

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