Thoughts: Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

My reading is restricted these days almost exclusively to my Kindle. So I’m not being too picky when it comes to things that look interesting – and are on sale. Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan is the start of a series that follows up the Natural History of Dragons series she completed a few years back.
I have to say, it was not a purchase I regretted.


Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan

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 archaeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

Source: Purchased
TL;DR: Recommended! If you care about spoilers and haven’t read/finished the Lady Trent series don’t pick this up, but if you don’t mind spoilers and want to jump ahead, go for it.


  • So first off, I haven’t completely finished the Lady Trent Memoirs. In fact I read the first two when they were released in hardback but didn’t get past that. This one I dove into because it was on sale on Kindle for 2 or 3 dollars and frankly the cover and title drew me in. I don’t mind spoilers so this wasn’t a big deal for me – but if you don’t want to be spoiled for the Lady Trent Memoirs, then don’t read this first.
    If you don’t care about spoilers, then proceed my fine friends.
  • I loved the style, epistolary/diary entry/articles. That style of storytelling does it for me every time (I really should revisit and finish the Lady Trent series, thinking about it).
  • This series really takes the idea of dragons and pretty easily melds it into the world. It feels very accurate to the time she’s portraying but then the addition of the dragons works so well that when I’m reminded we’re in a fantasy world I get a little tickle of pleasure.
  • Even while dealing with Dragons and Draconian beings she put impact in her story. Looking at ideas of immigration, individuality, possible depression, and voice. Who tells your history when your people have been the minority or even just a legend for years?

“Maybe you’re right about the past. But the stories we choose to tell—those matter…”

  • I loved the character of Kudshayn. His portions, letters written back home, were beautiful and his voice and approach was so different from Audrey. Those moments were the little bursts of light in the story for me.
“I pray to the Light of the World to give us wisdom. I pray to the Ever-Moving to guide our choices. I pray to the Ever-Standing to keep us safe. And I pray to the Crown of the Abyss to take this moment and lay it to rest, when the world moves on to whatever comes next.”
  • I also quite liked the story, it felt a little predictable, but the notes were strong enough and the plot felt strong even with the familiarity of it.
  • All that being said this was another late night feeding book. I think perhaps that did a disservice to the book, which is not to say I disliked it but I think I missed out on some impact due to the time and my mental state of reading it. I can reflect back already and think ‘Damn, that was good’ but it doesn’t have the impact it should have. I think maybe it’s something I should have read faster. 

So I recommend reading this one for sure. As I noted, if you don’t mind spoilers just jump in with this, but if you do then this seems like a natural and perhaps necessary follow-up to the first series.

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