“That day I knew for sure. I’d lost control of my tears then. They fell in huge, mocking drops. I stared at Joshua through those bitter tears, my heart missing beats as I tried to remember to breathe. I finally knew what the glow meant. I was a freak and Joshua was going to die.”
Dead Radiance by T.G. Ayer is an engaging young adult novel following the life of teenager Bryn Halbrook, an orphan who has been passed around from foster home to foster home. The novel focuses heavily on mythological elements and aspects, specifically those of Norse mythology, and how it relates to Bryn’s life. The book is fast-paced, well-written and keeps just enough hidden that the reader wants to keep turning the pages, finding out what happens next. It also focuses heavily on a romantic plot-line, which for some is a must, but for others is a little off-putting.
Bryn Halbrook is the central protagonist of the novel, a not-quite-normal girl who sees a strange golden glow around certain people, and isn’t sure why. She does however discover that it is a death aura, a sign that when the glow gets so bright the person is almost a miniature sun, they will inevitably die. Her ability makes her life difficult, along with her status as an orphan and her constant moving around in the foster care system, and the arrival of ‘Mr. Perfect’, Aidan, isn’t helping at all. The novel is filled with intrigue and mystery, so many unanswered questions that you can’t help but continue to flick through the pages, hoping that an answer will finally come, when more and more questions keep coming forth.
T.G. Ayer has written this novel superbly, with it’s sequel Dead Embers, the first two books in the Valkyrie series. Along with a multitude of other novels, Ayer focuses on a strong female protagonist in a fantasy filled mystery book, something that the literature world sorely needs. Bryn Halbrook is strong and confident, but she can also be vulnerable and scared, a female character written extremely well. Without giving too much away, this novel explores love, loss, mystery, manipulation, jealousy and the journey of finding one’s place in the world. T.G. Ayer is an extremely brilliant author, and it doesn’t help that she’s my friend’s mother. I won a giveaway, and was given four T.G. Ayer novels to read, and this was the first I chose, in the hopes that I could put up a glowing review on here, and alas, I have done just that, and the novel deserves nothing less.
I recommend this novel to anybody who enjoys fantasy, young adult or romantic fiction works. If you aren’t a fan of romance you can do exactly what I did – yell and get angry every time a romantic scene enters the picture and sigh at how love can sometimes result in stupid decisions. Despite that though, the novel is worth reading and extremely entertaining.