Layers of Light by S. R. Cronin

Layers of Light by S. R. Cronin
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Science Fiction
Length: Full Length (330 pgs)
Review by Poppy

A Texan teenager develops an unusual ability when she becomes an exchange student in India. Once human trafficking touches her world, her mysterious talent shows hope for locating her friends. If she only knew what the talent was and how to use it. A stranger makes her an unexpected offer. He will train her to find her missing friends, but she will need trust in ideas she barely believes and more courage than has ever been expected of her. Also, she’ll never be normal again. She accepts his offer, intending to show those guilty of unspeakable crimes just how powerful a young woman can be.

Complex and well-researched, Layers of Light wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

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The book was an odd mix of “light” with American teens going to a school overseas. Typical Americans, they have the bubbly superficiality we expect (based on other “teen” fiction and TV shows) but that does eventually change. The author deftly shows how even small things lead up to sexual abuse (as an example, the female student who just wants to climb mountains being told to take off her shirt in order to be photographed in just her sexy bra as part of her sponsorship).

The book mainly takes place overseas, India, Thailand, etc. The author does an incredible job making it all come to life in both beautiful and horrifying ways. The detail here is astounding, and the setting truly becomes a character of its own in the book.

Honestly, while some of what happens here couldn’t have without the more paranormal aspects contained within (out of body experiences, and the ability to communicate telepathically, for example) this book’s subject was strong enough to stand on its own. Occasionally I felt the OBEs were more intrusive than helpful, but I also recognize this book–while standing alone quite well–is also part of a series and the paranormal is what links them together. I also wasn’t a fan of the many, multiple POVs here, especially at the start when many are only a few paragraphs. As the story progresses, they do last longer and that helped them feel less intrusive. Additionally there are so many characters to keep track of here! I felt a bit like taking notes instead of just enjoying the story. Again, eventually you get to know them and it’s easier to keep them straight, thankfully.

All of that said, this author does a pretty amazing job with her book. As I mentioned, it’s incredibly complex and sometimes you don’t know what a particular person or thing really is to the story but then she’ll tie up the ends and it’s a bit mind-blowing. This is not a light, fluffy book. It makes you think (it made me think, constantly, about how sheltered I must be because they thought of this stuff happening is horrifying and difficult to believe).

Lest you think it’s all dark and depressing, it isn’t. There are solid, loving friendships formed and some times that are fun and light-hearted. Really, this is just a solidly written book that tells a strong, important story and involves the reader deeply in the lives of the characters. I’m glad I read it.


  1. James Robert says

    Thanks so much for sharing a book description and giveaway also. Sounds great!

  2. Mya Murphy says

    I’m so in love with the cover!!

  3. Thanks for hosting me and thanks for the review. I appreciate the comments James and Mya!

  4. Rita Wray says

    Sounds like a good book.

  5. bernie wallace says

    How did you come up with the title for the book?

  6. bernie wallace says

    Were any other books an inspiration for your current book?

  7. bernie wallace says

    What is the best book that you have read in 2019 so far?

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