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Is the viral book “Lightlark,” all that?

Photo Credit: Daniella Albuquerque

“Lightlark” by Alex Aster, is a New York Times best seller that tells a story of six rulers who would do anything to free their realm from their curses.

Who is Alex Aster?

Aster is a 27-year old Colombian-American, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In the year 2021, Aster promoted her book on TikTok after receiving over 16 publishing rejections. A week later, she landed a book deal. From there, Aster used her platform to promote the book further by sharing snippets of certain scenes. To show her gratitude to her supporters, Aster let them choose the book cover.

Aster sealed a deal with the producers of “Twilight,” before “Lightlark” was released on Aug. 23. She will be able to put her input into the film, as Aster will be an executive producer.

With all the excitement surrounding her book, Good Morning America, ABC News, and the Kelly Clarkson Show, reached out and asked for her to join them. On the multiple shows, Aster had an advantage to promote her book further due to the many viewers watching.

What is “Lightlark” about?

“Lightlark”, is a young adult fantasy/romance novel. It takes place in a time where no one is happy nor safe.  Centuries ago, the six realms that formed the island of Lightlark became cursed. Every hundred years, the six rulers compete in a deadly tournament.  They have a deadline of one hundred days in order to break their realms’ curse. In doing so, they are indulging in a wicked game of lying, cheating, and betraying. If one does succeed, they will not only get unimaginable powers, but they will also get to choose which realm dies. Can the young ruler, Isla Crown, succeed and save her people? Or will love come in the way?

Who are the six rulers:

The story follows Isla Crown, the ruler of Wilding. Her people were once accepted in Lightlark, with their ability to control nature. Like the other rulers, their curse changed them forever. Instead of being viewed as people, they are seen as monsters. In addition to eating hearts to stay alive, they must kill the on they love.

Oro is the ruler of Sunling, and the King of Lightlark.  Since Lightlark is his source, his powers are endless. His people were condemned to never stepping a foot into the sunlight again.

Celeste is the ruler of Starling. The stars supply her realm with the ability to manipulate energy. Not only is she the youngest ruler, but the one with a life sentence. Her and her people, cannot live past the age twenty-five.

Azul is the ruler of Skyling. His people were once able to sore through the air and never stop. Now, they live their days strapped to the ground. Therefore, never being able to feel free.

Cleo is the ruler of Moonling. The realm of Moonling, is the luckiest out of the six. They only need to keep clear of the moon when it is full. Her people are water-masters: having the ability to control the sea.

Grim is the ruler of Nightshade. Nightshade is the most feared realm of them all, due to no one knowing their powers. Grim draws his power from darkness, being able to slip between shadows and create nightmares.

Who I would consider the book to:

This book is for people who are looking for a quick read. The chapters are relatively short, and the worldbuilding isn’t anything crazy. Therefore, I would say that”Lightlark” is for ages 13 and up.

Is it like the ¨Hunger Games?¨

In conclusion, I myself felt misguided when going into this book. Aster said that the book is like the “Hunger Games”, and that there was going to be a love triangle.  It was nothing like the “Hunger Games”. Considering the book is based on a tournament, it’s assumed that there is going to be more than one incident where characters went after one another. Was there? No. They barely fought and in half the book some characters didn’t appear again. Were they mentioned? Yes. Were they presently shown in the chapters? No. So now I am wondering if you really needed to add those characters? Can I say that throughout the book, I knew nothing about the characters. I felt like in order for me to feel more connected to them, I needed to know more than she gave.

Camille Silva commented on Goodreads on August 15, 2022, “I wanted the Centennial to have more stakes. To be more exciting. I saw this pitched as a Hunger Games-esque fantasy. I wanted blood and I wanted stakes, and action. I got meh, some of those things? Sort of maybe? Not really. It was a hundred days of nothing, with a few demonstrations of power. There is no competition at all. I don’t understand.”

Is the romance and plot twists any good?

A second thing that I felt was misleading was the romance. WHERE WAS IT? Yes, there were cute scenes between the two possible lovers. However, where was the chemistry? Where were the glances that were filled with desire? I wanted to get butterflies, but instead I was filled with calmness.

Even the plot twists weren’t anything exciting. You could honestly guess what was going to happen before it happened. An obvious spoiler: Celeste was bad. Aster made this seem very predictable throughout the book.

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About the Contributor
Daniella Albuquerque, Editor-in-chief
Daniella Albuquerque is a 16 year old in her Sophomore year at Colonia High school. She is involved in tennis, Spring Track, Interact Club, Book Club, and Student Council. She has never been athletic but has joined a few sports over the last couple of years, she recently found her love for tennis. Albuquerque is a bubbly person who loves to speak and get to know people whenever and wherever. If you asked her what her favorite hobby would have to be, she would answer with no hesitation: reading. When she isn´t studying or playing tennis, you can find her holed up in her room reading books. Her favorite genre has to be romance with a mix of fantasy. Albuquerque would like to study abroad and major in writing. Her dream is either to work for an important editing company or become a best selling author. With this being her second year with the Declaration of Independence, she hopes she does it well and is informative with what she writes.    

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Is the viral book “Lightlark,” all that?