In the Light of the Eclipse by Bryan Caron
Bryan Caron’s novel In the Light of the Eclipse is set in a dystopian universe, ruled by Heather, “the goddess of condemnation.” Caron unravels this world through the story of Kayla and Zoe’s friendship. Zoe lives on Pastor Ranch, a farm, considered sacred land in this universe, while Kayla is from Industry Corners or, as she calls it, “Industry Squalors,” supposedly the best place to live, but widely considered a slum. The two girls bond despite their differences, which are not limited to just their living situations. Zoe is a careful and prudent girl who accepts the rules and restrictions of their culture even when they do not seem to make sense. Kayla, on the other hand, rebels in ways both large and small. Zoe understands Kayla’s mutinous feelings, because Kayla, like many of the other inhabitants of this world, will only live until the next eclipse. During these eclipses, which recur every seventeen years, all of the souls born since the previous eclipse are removed. The only exceptions are the children of the eclipse, like Zoe, who live until thirty-four. As Kayla nears the end of her seventeenth year, she becomes even more defiant and determined to outwit Heather and survive the eclipse. Zoe’s love for Kayla embroils her in Kayla’s rebellion and leads her on an unexpected journey, during which she learns to question everything she has ever known.
In the Light of the Eclipse follows in the footsteps of groundbreaking works like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Both of these series take place in universes similar to that which Caron has created. Caron, however, could do a better job of laying the groundwork for the novel’s setting, which is often confusing and inaccessible. The novel begins with a brief anecdote detailing how Kayla and Zoe became friends, but it might have been better to begin with an explanation of this interesting universe. In addition, the diction and word choice are occasionally unclear and difficult to understand. Nevertheless, the story is fast-paced and interesting and Kayla and Zoe are compelling and sympathetic characters who will keep readers interested until the very end.
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