Release Date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Fishpond World
Blake is gone.
He sacrificed himself to save Winter, leaving her alone, unprotected... hunted.
An ancient enemy is rising, but Winter is no longer the innocent girl who was fated to die at Pilgrim's Lament. She will not wait to be saved. She will do what she must to survive, even accept an unsavoury alliance with those who destroyed her love.
In the gathering darkness, the enemy of an enemy is not always a friend, and Winter must find the strength to stand alone and fight for the one she loves. For she is the key to unlocking the secrets beyond the veil of shadows.
And she is Blake's only hope.
Three months have passed since the tragic events at Pilgrim's Lament. Three months Winter's has had to deal with her grief over losing Blake, while living with the knowledge of all she learnt about the Dead Lands and her own unique abilities. She's about to attend her high school graduation - putting yet another piece of her life behind her - but what she doesn't realise is that life after school may offer something far more unsettling. Attacked by two Demori, Winter finds an unlikely saviour in Sam, one of the Bane who aided in Blake's demise. He may have just saved her life, but can she really trust him? More troubling is that Winter now has a deadly enemy in a Demori who will stop at nothing to exact his vengeance.
Winter shines for her strength and initiative in this novel. She's determined, a girl on a mission, fueled by love and the promise of saving what she thought was lost to her. She's very independent and I liked seeing her faced with difficult decisions. While sometimes you're warning her against doing something, you can sympathise with her reasons why and she's smart enough to understand the risks. Sam was a very welcome addition to the cast, I loved that Hearle probed deeper into his character. He may not have always done the right things, but he's now away from his father's influence and a much better person for it. He's trying to atone for his past mistakes and while you have suspicions that he may still be hiding something from Winter, you can't help but feel for him. I also love that we saw plenty of Jasmine. Too many times the best friend is there but often gets pushed to the side when the heroine is off on a dangerous supernatural mission. Here, Jasmine knows of the otherworldly dangers Winter is entangled in and regardless of the risks, she sticks by her friend's side, loyal until the end... despite that she's just as terrified as Winter!
As with Winter's Shadow, Hearle once again gives us a glimpse into the past - two thousand years ago, to be exact. I especially loved this element of the story. Lamara was a fascinating character who made a decision powered by love, just as Winter is doing now, but it lead Lamara to the heart of the Dead Lands. Straight into the terrifying hands on the Malfaerie. I so enjoyed reading the time spent there, because the Malfaerie are horrific, power-hungry things and I was caught up in Lamara's tragic, yet darkly thrilling story.
We're still immersed in the haunting atmosphere of Hagan's Bluff, but we also see more foreign scenery with the Dead Lands and a glimpse of Paris. And it's in Paris that we meet the Bonnaires, a long line of family (perhaps not all by blood, but definitely by loyalty) who hunt down the Demori. They want Winter for a very specific reason... but are their motives to be trusted? And is Blake's potential rescue worth the risk of what they want to unleash?
Sacrifices demand to be made and Winter must learn to trust her instincts. But when they're warning her against the one plan that may save Blake from his eternal doom, how can she turn away? The stakes are raised even higher in the sequel. Hearle brilliantly weaves two captivating tales from the past and present, which intertwine despite the time that separates them. Winter's Light will hook you back into its dark and eerie world from the very first page and once you turn the last, you will be hungry for the next book after the cliffhanger you're left on! Packed with even more action and intensity than the first, Winter's Light keeps you on constant alert, with twists you won't see coming until the very last minute and danger that urges you to read faster.
A must read for anyone who enjoyed the first book and definitely a series you should try if you're looking for something new in a slew of paranormal cliches!
4.5/5 Golden Apples!