SPFBO Finalist Review: Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar

56894599._sy475_Moving right along with my finalists… this review ended up being long enough to merit its own blog post, lol. 😀

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?

This is the story of Tashué Blackwood, who is a Regulation Officer in the city of Yaelsmuir. This means that he and his fellow officers keep tabs on the ‘tainted’ people of the city, who are those who have magical talents. Every person with magic must register with the Authority or be put in the Rift, a maximum security facility where Tashué’s own son Jason is, for refusing to register.

When a dead girl with a strange tattoo washes up on the shore of the Brightwash, Tashué takes it upon himself to investigate where she came from and why nobody seems to care. That’s just the beginning of the shenanigans going down in Yaelsmuir.

I really enjoyed Legacy of the Brightwash. It was hard to put down once I picked it up, very easy to read for long periods of time, and the world and characters were just fantastically crafted. The world where Tashué and the others live, is a sort of gaslamp/western-adjacent world of trains and guns, waistcoats and petticoats. It was very easy for me to imagine this city, both dirty and corrupt, and opulent and magical.

There were so many characters in this book to love, and the POV does switch between them fairly often, though we do see the story mostly from Tashué’s POV. The characters may seem like archetypes at first, but each of them grow into someone unique as the story goes on, and I absolutely latched onto more than one of them. You’ve got everything here from the chain-smoking veteran lawman, the woman with a mysterious past, the loyal partner who knows you too well to take your shit, the mysterious and charming spy, etc, etc, etc. There wasn’t a POV character in this book that I didn’t find interesting in some way. My favorite character was definitely Ishmael Saeati. I can’t wait to read more about him.

A lot of the plot focuses on a romance between Tashué and Stella Whiterock, a tainted woman who lives next to him. I was definitely here for the romance aspect, though there is plenty going on outside of it. The mystery of what is happening in Yaelsmuir, and where the dead girl from the Brightwash came from unravels slowly over the course of the book. There was romance, mystery, and intrigue mixed with corruption, conspiracy, and violence.

All told, I loved it. It was slowly paced, but never so slow that I found it boring. There was always something going on that was interesting, even if it wasn’t pulse-pounding and rocketing towards the finish. I loved it from start to finish. 9/10 stars!~


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