Gravelight Hardcover – 4 Feb 2008
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Beneath Wycherly Musgrave's lighthearted manner lies a deep, dark secret--he believes he may have murdered a young woman in a drunken blackout--but when he turns to mind-reader Sinah for the answers, they discover a vortex of evil power.
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Truth and Dylan also learn that the original fight between her great-uncle and his lover on the mortal plane several decades ago continues on the astral plane. However, this time the pair of spirits are using human descendants to fight their eternal battle. Athanasis possesses her own daughter, actress and confused psychic Sinah Dellon to be the tool in her war. Quentin has moved inside the body of rich drunk Wycherly Musgrave to use as his dupe. It is up to Truth to save the pair of pawns and close the gate before disaster strikes the townsfolk and her beloved.
Marion Zimmer Bradley is the mistress of several genres including the supernatural. That reputation is well deserved and her latest novel, GRAVELIGHT, will strengthen her hold on the top rung. The story line is fast-paced, filled with action, and quite entertaining. Truth be told, nobody does it better.
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Sinah has come back to where she was born to try to rediscover some of her past. The problem is, the townsfolk vehemently deny that she belongs there or that her relatives have ever lived there. Wycherly too is there, trying to escape nightmares and slowly drowning himself in alcohol. And Truth and a gang of people from the Bidney Institute that researches the paranormal are also in town. And there's something aside from the location that connects them altogether. A powerful magic, one that's out of control, and that's slowly claiming the lives around it.
Truth is usually a good character. But she was just different in this book. Colder in some ways and more prone to temper in others. Her fiance Dylan, I absolutely detested in this book. He was nothing like he was in the previous two books and it seemed that the author just randomly changed his personality to cause some strife in the book even if it wasn't the way he would have normally acted. Sinah I didn't really care for either. She was too weak a character and despite this, used entirely too much. And then there's Wycherly. Aside from wondering what the heck was going on with his name (as a first name it is just not working), he was a constant stream of drunkeness and bad decisions and his redeemable qualities just weren't authentic.
For a plot there wasn't a bad one. Untapped magic, evil powers, people trying to get on with their lives despite conflict; there's enough here to make it interesting. But because of the less than stellar characters it just didn't make it into that realm of being a great book. It's very readable though, and despite some of the magic and occult references being beyond me, I found myself becoming somewhat immersed in the story. Unlike the other two, there were references to sex in this one, which surprised me since it wasn't that style of writing in the rest of the series, but it wasn't very graphic or offensive so I don't see it being a problem for most readers.
I can't say that I'm going to go out of my way to find the fourth book in the series. I'm just not invested enough in any of the characters or the plotline as a whole. This is just an average fantasy series.
Review by M. Reynard 2013