The Bright and The Pale: ★★★☆☆
The Bright and The Pale Duology book one
The Bright and The Pale Synopsis:
“Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.
That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.
And it has waited years for release.” [Goodreads]
The Bright and The Pale Non-Spoiler Review
The Bright and The Pale is a fantasy book set in a really interesting world. It’s atmospheric, full of ice and mystery and we slowly see it unfold as the cast of characters travel to Knnot.
Knnot is an eerie, claustrophobic mountain, full of haunting voices and monstrous creatures. My favourite part of the book was set inside Knnot. Rubinkowski knows how to create tension, and I could almost hear every bump and bang while I read.
Valeria makes an good protagonist. She’s enamoured by Luiza, a mother figure at Thieves Guild, and she uses her to draw strength from. Valeria is timid to begin with, but as the book progresses, we see her bravery bloom, and her heart harden. We also follow Alik, who is softer, and often sees the good in everyone. It was lovely to see how Valeria and Alik balance one another, and how they are always there to catch each other when they fall.
As for the rest of the characters, I didn’t feel very attached to them. There’s a heavy focus on Valeria, Knnot and all the mysteries and half-truths in-between, so much so that I didn’t feel like we had enough from the rest of the group to feel invested in them, especially Serafima.
The plot is action-packed. I love how from Chapter two, we’re already on a heist. Rubinkowski interweaves action with world building, so that there are no lapses in tension. Despite loving this, I did feel as though we started a little late in the story. I would have liked a prologue from Valeria and Alik’s childhood just so we could get more of an insight into their characters, and feel a greater impact when they are reunited in the beginning.
Overall, The Bright and The Pale was a quick, fun fantasy read. It was a predictable in places but I still enjoyed the setting and will be looking forward to the sequel.
Have you read The Bright and The Pale ? Let me know what you thought!
Until next time,
Nicole / HalfWildBooks