Acquired Book By: I am hostess with Writerly Yours PR, wherein I had the joy of hosting Ms Bogart for her blog tour showcasing this series in . I had hoped to have read this series for one of the #RRSciFiMonth after I shared our conversation within the interview featured on her blog tour, however, due to a variety of reasons, I had to keep postponing my reading of the books. When I realised I was going to be co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder this year, I thought perhaps it would be a better ‘fit’ to read and share my thoughts during an event focused on Fantasy! I was surprised by the kindness of the author to send me these novels after I hosted her blog tour, as I had explained I wouldn’t be able to read them for the tour itself due to my chronic migraines (ie. I never read ebooks) and am a traditional reader of print and audio.
I received a complimentary copy of “Liminal Lights” direct from the author J.M. Bogart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I felt this series might be a seriously wicked one to be reading:
First off, stories about the fey have slowly become one of my favourites to seek out for Fantasy releases – whether they are caught up inside an Urban Fantasy series, such as this one might be considered classified as it takes place between our Contemporary world and the fey or if we are wholly elsewhere inside a writer’s own imagined world, the fey have started to entice me into their folds! You might remember how well versed I’ve become inside world Ms Chris creates with her Tipsy Fairy Tales or through one of the anthologies I’ve been reading by either Seventh Star Press (with their Seelie Court) or World Weaver Press (of whom curate a series of anthologies I properly addicted to reading!).
When I learnt this was a Middle Grade Fantasy trilogy, I was most intrigued! Part of me worried if some of the scenes and descriptions within the narrative would broach into areas I might not feel should be attributed to a Middle Grade release, however, when I had the joy of interviewing Ms Bogart for her lovely blog tour a few years ago – she put my concerns to rest!
What if magic is real?
Nadia discovers an ancient truth hidden by Liminals, coveted by Shadow Monsters, and protected by humans.
Somewhere, between faerie legends and story books, lies the truth to magic. It grows in children, matures, and is eventually captured by Liminal beings. These small, faeire-like creatures harvest and manipulate it, crafting it into the talents and skills inherent in humans. The rest, they keep for themselves in an effort to sustain their own life forces.
The human race is evolving forcing Bean, Pritt, and Tissa to find new ways of harvesting human magic to save their own kind. Nadia's power, found in her talent as an artist, is the last hope for these Liminal beings who find themselves caught between light and shadow. Liminals aren't the only ones after her magic, so are the creatures who lurk under the bed, hide in the darkness, and go bump in the night.
This is the first book of a trilogy.
Places to find the book:
Published by Morning Rain Publishing
on 23rd April, 2016
Format: Paperback Edition
The Shadow shift trilogy:
Liminal lights | book one
shadow shifts | Book two | Synopsis
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Converse via: #LiminalLights and #ShadowShifts or #MGLit #Fantasy and #MiddleGrade #Fantasy
my review of liminal lights:
What is being described in the opening paragraph of Liminal Lights, is something all of us who create art can relate as being true for all of us: there is well of joyfulness in the cheerful pursuit of creating what was once merely a figment of our imagination. The purity of capturing the moment of creativity as it evokes out of a strong desire to take what is imagined to the forefront of our artistic choice (here, it is of an artist, it could have easily been a writer or a poet) is a captivating way to begin a novel.
As content the young girl is to be drawing, the murmurings of her observer at the window are growing more urgent to become noticed. The young fey who furrows her brow in worry over when the girl will step into her full awareness of the magic growing within her being is what draws us to the situation at hand. This fey is giving us a window into understanding the staunch realities between the fey and the humans of this world – of where the fey, the Liminals are co-reliant on humans but without a way (as of yet) to communicate this need. They are in danger by what is disclosed even if the fate of what draws them close to the immediacy of the danger is not yet known.
Laughs. You have to love Bean’s assessment of Pritt – of how he seemingly has an off-balance within his fey body which can only be counter-balanced by the presence of his ‘wings’ – why that particular declaration tickled my fancy I’m unsure, except for how truthful it sounded as I read it! I love finding humour in fiction and this just felt befitting of the scene.
There is great unrest in Bean’s world – the Liminals are stressed about becoming extinct as their co-dependence of humans has reached a new height of worriment – as the progressive state of humans undergoing their innate transformation has all but stalled it places the Liminals in severe danger of being muted out of existence. You feel for them, truly, as who wants to accept the gravity of such a loss of a species such as theirs when the answer to aide their cause is known? Yet, similar to Bean, I questioned their motives and their decidedly fortright insistence that taking action now, even if done in haste is better than in the patience of a more thoughtful resolution.
Bean is used to being on her own with her charges which is why when Tissa is purposely assigned to become her partner as she watches over Nadia, Bean is none too thrilled! Imagine, then, when it is discovered Nadia isn’t the only human who has untapped powers emanating through them without their knowledge – Bean has to reconcile she is now part of a team of three rather than the sole person in charge of her own affairs. It is hard to be a Liminal in many ways, as Bean has noticed the information about what they are doing is limited but also, the knowledge of how Liminals affect the human world is equally limited. In retrospect, you start to see Bean questioning herself, her species and the interactive ways in which they are becoming a part of the human world.
As the faeries are struggling to sort out how they’ve lost control of concealment and stealth observation, Nadia and Jake are organising themselves to seek out information about the faeries. Jake is more of a leaper than Nadia on the scale of the impossible being plausible as she’s still uncertain if what he’s claiming to be true of the fey is realistically possible or inventive imagination running amuck. On the flipside, we have Ms Bogart imparting critical observations from both species – how the humans are internalising their own realities and experiences whilst you are privy to a cross-comparison of what is happening from the side of the fey. The unique bit here to note is how extraordinarily insightful Bogart is in describing human nature inasmuch as adolescence.
Counter-current to the Liminals continuing with their earnest search for humans who are on the verge of their emergence into the destiny of talent they are meant to embrace is the rise in dangers lurking from the opposition: the Shadow Monsters are organising at an alarming rate! Bean has a fractured memory in what truly is ominous about both their intentions towards humans and their executions of what they do to affect the human soul. As Bogart explores this aspect of the series, the tone grows dimmer from the light, as the Liminal side of the ledger is about a co-balance of talent and the needs therein, rather than the sinister Shadows who fail to use their powers for good.
The beauty of how this story is told is how open Bogart is in letting the reader decide for themselves about the purpose behind the telling – of why certain aspects of the Liminals and Shadows are aligning such as they are and why knowing right from wrong is not always easy to decipher. It also points out, when you uncover a hidden truth about your own past, how you choice to reconcile the truth and what you do after you’ve learnt it is a fine line to walk. Do you turn your back on what you now realise is true or do you use it to fuell your actions in the future? How do you best chose to deal with the realities of the alternations which are affecting your own species at the rate of loss you can no longer justify as being passively normal?
Bogart is developing a larger scope of the story by enticing the reader to dig into the back-story of Bean – as she is the gateway character for the Liminal series. It is through Bean’s eyes and experiences we best start to see the battle the Liminals are in to fight for their existence and their survival yet similar to the Clan (from The Clan Chronicles) even their own history has been short-sighted and edited from their own knowledge as a method of self-protection and self-preservation. Bean is individualistically unique, in a similar vein of growth as Sira was for the Clan – they each have gone through a process of evolution which will set the future tides of their kind, wherein they each had to chose how they would embrace their destinies.
on the fantastical writings of j.m. bogart:
I applaud Ms Bogart for finding a way to draw us instinctively into the heart of her world within the very first paragraphs of her novel, Liminal Lights as this can either make or break your interest to know more about a world you feel enticed to read. For me, what garnished an immediate interest is the art of finding creativity is a fuell and a resource of bountiful returns; a theory I dearly wanted to see explored.
I love too how Ms Bogart is very keenly aware of the smallness of her fey, of how due to their height, how they interact ‘in-scene’ is unique to their stature but also to what is available around them. They can alight in places you might overlook yourself round your own environs but to the fey, to a Liminal in particular, it might be the best place to ‘perch’ and take a moment of thoughtfulness about what their next actions need to be. In this way, we feel pulled in closer to her Liminals – their reality of co-habitating near humans is realistically impressioned and happily observed.
There are strong overtures of our own society mishaps and misconstructions about what should be priority in our lives vs what becomes the occupations of our living hours. If you look at the story from a certain angle, you can definitely understand why Bogart wanted to impart her message to younger readers: be cautious how quickly you wish to grow up and exit your childhood – there is a special beauty in taking your time to appreciate the time we’re giving to grow, to develop into who we are meant to be and to better understand the world at large. All of which can become clouded and jaded if the trials of the world become too hard to shift if we have let go all of what is good in our lives before we realise the blessings we’ve been given.
Bogart’s Liminals and Shadow Monsters aren’t quite fey nor are they unlike the fey either – they seem to be their own entity but are still a close composite to the fey by the definitions how what we understood of them, which is why I called them ‘fey’ myself. They share attributes in common such as their size, shape and the ways in which they use their wings – even the ways in which they communicate and develop their habitats can be applied to the lore surrounding faeries. They are of a similar vein of species – inclusive to where legend and lore drift apart and where unknown truths fill in the gaps of what is never conclusively known.
One thing the Liminal and Shadows share with the fey (especially in regards to the Seelie and UnSeelie Courts) is how they are neither nefariously intentional nor are they completely honourable either – in essence, the distinction between good vs evil is not as easily defined as one would hope could be in regards to identification of their moral code. In this universe, similar to others of more traditional variants of the fey – you truly can’t divide the lines in the sand as readily as you’d prefer as both sides: the Liminal and the Shadows are equally at fault for choosing to take what they need by force and without consent.
Specifically why certain elements of this story would appeal to Fantasy readers:
Fey folk who live near humans but are not attached to their reality – they can observe us but they can’t or are not supposed to interact with us directly. You can tell the respective health of a Liminal by how they glow, the condition of their wings and how they appear when they are close in view. It is interesting how each of them illuminate differently – almost as if the colour used is a critical capture of their temperament not just the condition of their health.
The Shadow Monsters:
Exhibit predatory behaviour – as they do not have the same conscience thought of courtesy the Liminals have themselves. They would rather take without gratitude – where they would take their fill and discard what wasn’t worth keeping than to stay cognisant of the symbiotic relationship they share with those who they need to seek for restoration of power. In this way, the Shadow Monsters and the Liminals differ greatly across their morality compass and ethical divides.
There is an innate magical force within humans, wherein their internal magic comes out differently per each gift they are given to share – Nadia’s gift is her illustrative art, wherein as she sketches, she is casting her magic out through the art itself and thereby, binding her and the fey to each other in a rather unique portal of curious insight. It is as if their world and her world no longer have a sealed veil between them – where the artwork itself acts as an illumination if you will of who the Liminals are even if the artist isn’t quite sure what they are doing at the time the artwork flows onto the paper. It’s a unique process of observing talent emerging from an artist who has not fully understood the art they can create as easily as they can breathe.
This book review is courtesy of:
the author J.M. Bogart
I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.
This post is part of Jorie’s participation within the blogosphere event:
Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.
I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read:
— Jorie, the Joyful Tweeter 🧙🐉 (@joriestory) May 30, 2018
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: