Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Legacy of the Brightwash’ by Krystle Matar organised by Storytellers on Tour, and I was absolutely delighted to get the chance to read and review this one and oh boy did it blow every expectation out of the window.
I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE). There is also an opportunity (open internationally) to win a beautiful hardcover of this astounding book for yourself, so please check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post.
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review, all views are my own.’*
Follow the law and you’ll stay safe. But what if the law is wrong?
Tashué’s faith in the law is beginning to crack.
Three years ago, he stood by when the Authority condemned Jason to the brutality of the Rift for non-compliance. When Tashué’s son refused to register as tainted, the laws had to be upheld. He’d never doubted his job as a Regulation Officer before, but three years of watching your son wither away can break down even the strongest convictions.
Then a dead girl washed up on the bank of the Brightwash, tattooed and mutilated. Where had she come from? Who would tattoo a child? Was it the same person who killed her?
Why was he the only one who cared?
Will Tashué be able to stand against everything he thought he believed in to get the answers he’s looking for?
I’m not going to lie; I went into this book both with high expectations and with a strong feeling that I was going to enjoy it. Many of the reviewers I follow had been reading Legacy of the Brightwash and raving about it, and while I avoided the reviews, just the premise had me hooked. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much I was drawn into this world from the very beginning, how much I loved the characters and the sheer emotional impact of this story – my expectations not even coming close to what was woven into this stunning debut.
Also, Tashué is everything and deserves the world.
The Legacy of Brightwash has some of the most vivid, memorable characters that I’ve had the pleasure of encountering and the sheer depth to each and every one of the characters that we encounter is breath-taking and is a credit to Mater’s ability to take each of those intricate, multi-faceted threads and not just bring them to life, but weave them together. While there are so many fantastic individuals – Tashué was my favourite, but there were many others that more than held their own spark of the spotlight, and from all walks of life within this world of the Dominion, it was the relationships and interactions that really consumed me. It was a wonderful, complicated human mess brought under the magnifying glass because we get to know so much about them, about their pasts, their motivations and struggles, about the scars and cracks left by life. Some of the most important relationships, romantic and otherwise, are between those shaped and torn apart by this world, coming from different viewpoints and experiences.
This is character-driven fantasy as it should be, and there wasn’t a single bad character within this book – there were characters that you might not like, that you won’t trust (and probably shouldn’t), but there isn’t a single one that you can’t connect to, because they are real.
I have to say more about Tashué (and yes, I am a little biased), but in many ways, he was the epitome of all those conflicting sides rolled into one individual. Much of this book is driven by character – by human – motivations, weakness and flaws, from the individual up to the weight and might of the Authority, and in many ways, Tashué is our guide and anchor as well as the explosive force pulling us through the world and his unravelling of what he thought he knew. He is the thread that pulls together the different layers of society – willingly and unwillingly – and yet even as he stands in that nexus, he is uniquely, decisively himself (and the ending, my god the ending).
The worldbuilding is excellent and as multi-layered as the characters that inhabit it. This is a bleak world and Mater doesn’t shy away from that, and the Legacy of the Brightwash throws in at the deep end, leaving us in no doubt about that, with the inciting moment being the discovery of a mutilated, murdered child more than drives that point home. However, time is taken to draw us into this Gaslamp/steampunk world, to show us the wonder of this world undergoing industrialization, to give us moments of light and home – before plunging us deep into the underbelly.
This a world of unbalanced scales.
There is repression and racism, political intrigue and deceit around so many corners that you find yourself holding your breath. What I found particularly fascinating was the role of Tainted in this world – the potential for this magic system, especially in this world is off the charts – but where you might expect those with that kind of power to be in power that is not the case, the scales are set most harshly against those with the ‘Talent’, forcing some of the most painful choices in the book. The choice to resist – to refuse to register, to risk breaking the laws and imprisonment in the Rift for the sake of love, the choice to hide, or the choice to collaborate with the system even when it presses down on what you love. Human choices forced to the extreme against the dark (and darkening as the story unfolds) world, yet at the same time, it is the people that make those choices that shine brightest in the darkness.
As dark and brutal as this world is, it isn’t without light and that is why it works so well.
To say I devoured the Legacy of the Brightwash would be an understatement, I literally couldn’t put it down for more than a few minutes at a time before I found myself having to pick it up again, because I needed to know what happened next. I needed the mystery to be solved. I needed to spend more and more time with the characters. Sleep was sacrificed on the altar of this magnificent book, and it was so worth it (even if I did have to nap the day afterwards), because this book drew me through so many emotions and left me hollowed out and full at the same time, and I’m going to cry about that ending again because I need more. I honestly, can’t recommend this book highly enough – a stunningly beautiful, and rawly painful book that will leave you with many thoughts and feelings, and will linger long after you’ve turned that last page.
CW: Miscarriage, Addiction, Substance abuse, Prisoner abuse, Body horror, Gore, Violence, Police brutality, Racism, Torture
About the Author:
Krystle Matar has been writing for a long time, but things got serious when Tashué Blackwood walked into her life, an amber-eyed whirlwind.
When she isn’t arguing with him or any of his friends, she parents and farms. She has a lot of children and even more animals and one very excellent husband.
She is currently working on lots of stories set in the Dominion. She expects to exist in this universe for a while.
Prize: Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar – One (1) hardcover –
Starts: March 7th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: March 14th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter here:a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.