H's Reviews > First Light

First Light by Rebecca Stead
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Jul 28, 09

Read in July, 2009

The problem with much sci-fi and fantasy for children is that maybe in the interest of making it brief or uncomplicated, the authors often neglect creating a rich world as background. Unfortunately, most fantasy and sci-fi readers read for precisely that reason - to escape into a detailed alternate world, and the more detail and background, the better. Just look at fans of books like Harry Potter who obsess over and memorize tiny minutiae! First Light is an OK fantasy, but Stead never really gives us the back story behind what really happened to Thea's people - detail that could have been given through the recitation of a lesson in Gracehope, or a half-remembered story that Peter's mother may have told him as a fairy tale. Without a good solid background in why the settlers fled, the story fails to rise to the level of better books for children who like this genre. That said, it is a solid if somewhat unmemorable read for children who've exhausted the "City of Ember," "Gregor" and similar series who aren't ready to take the step up to more advanced materials. 4th-6th grade.
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