In 1995, at the age of eight, Una Waters survived a terrifying encounter at 30,000 feet aboard Flight 564 from Dallas to Las Vegas. It changed her forever. After 21 years, and a decade away from the Hopi Reservation where she grew up as a child, a surprise plea for help brings Una back, to solve a mystery that threatens their traditional way of life. The U.S. Army’s sudden interest regarding a cave discovery in the Sacred Peaks has triggered alarm, leading to violence. With the help of friends, new and old, Una must confront her painful past, seek proof to qualify the ancient site for protection under law, and stand up to a stiff-necked general, whose agenda is more concerned with retrieving a mysterious power source.
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: The Survival Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Independently Published
I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way impacted the opinions shared here.
A Gleam of Light is a fresh take on Science Fiction that combines history, mystery, and the classic “we are not alone” alien intrigue. Centering on a woman’s return to the Reservation of her childhood, the first book of The Survival Trilogy is more than a conflict between the Hopi people and the U.S. Army whose suspicious interest in their land threatens everything; it is also a personal journey that involves confronting the mysteries of the past. The Wolfs infuse their narrative with Hopi mythology and actual reportings of UFO sightings, and the grounding elements of authenticity in an otherwise fantastical story bring a thrilling shock of reality to the reading experience.
Although my knowledge of Hopi history is weak, it was clear that the authors had done extensive research on the topic. I loved that they chose Native American settings and mythology as the focus of their novel – especially considering the fact that I’ve never truly been exposed to it in the past, much less in the SciFi genre. However, there were passages when the integration of research into the story itself was weak. It’s difficult to weave background information into a plot without it compromising the storytelling effect, and unfortunately there were more than a few instances where the scales tipped a little bit too much towards “textbook”. This had a huge impact on the pacing of the novel, which was rather stilted at the beginning where the information dumps were most frequent.
The other issue I had with A Gleam of Light was the lack of tension. There was simply no thought given to the pulse of the story – sure, there was a plot and a general direction for the characters to follow, but it felt dead. Any conflict that could have won back my interest either sprung up out of nowhere or disappeared with zero implications for the larger storyline. Stories need a heartbeat, they need to make the reader feel something, and the way to do that is by building suspense and subverting expectations. Sadly, this was the main area where the writing really fell flat.
Criticisms aside, though, I truly appreciated the authors’ obvious investment in their work, both in terms of the endless hours they must have spent writing and researching and rewriting, and with regards to the emotional energy they poured into it. It was so refreshing to have diverse characters at the forefront of a SciFi novel, especially considering the fact that it aimed to educate readers about Hopi lifestyle and history. Overall, A Gleam of Light is worth a try for its refreshing perspective.