An exceptionally-skilled thief, Ari lives deep in the forest with no one but her bobcat Jagger for company. She is determined to keep to herself as civil war drags on around her, but when a mysterious stranger appears with an unexpected job offer, she has no choice but to leave her quiet life behind.
Unwillingly paired with chatty, optimistic magician Ely, Ari finds her patience, wits, and skill tested when the journey quickly proves to be far from what either of them bargained for. Ari must face one of the greatest tests of her thieving career - and come to terms with the many secrets she has been hiding.
With an exciting heroine and a diverse cast of characters, A Memory of Light is the first title in the fantasy series Until the Stars Are Dead, which follows Ari and Ely's adventures navigating the dangers of their complicated, quickly-changing world.
"The prose is accomplished and the storytelling confident, spurning genre clichés and developing at its own measured pace... The world in which they journey has dark undertones, as if familiar fantasy elements have rotted away and left a dead-hearted dystopia in their place. Barkley keeps the dialogue realistic and exposition to a minimum, letting the journey define its own stakes. The result is a measured but engaging first installment in a series that offers much promise. An understated and atmospheric tale from a strong new voice in the genre." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This book is so beautifully descriptive... The writing style is up there with some of my favourite authors." - Julie Luckley, @mortal_manuscripts
"This story doesn't start off slow. I was invested by page one!... I'm really looking forward to book two, and jumping back into this world!" - Serena Price, @chacha_reads
"I picked up A Memory of Light and could not put it down. I finished this in one sitting!... The writing style was fantastic and the story had an even pace throughout, which was nice because fantasy books have a tendency to drag in the beginning and have everything happen all at once at the end... I'm already ready for the sequel." - Amber Hillhouse, @seekingdystopia
"I am the Princess of Organa. Dear Old Kings, she might have just made the most reckless mistake of her life."
After weeks of travel and several narrow brushes with death and capture, Ari and Ely are finally nearing the end of their unwanted adventure. But Ari let her secret slip to save them and suddenly the stakes of their journey are so much higher. Thrown into the middle of the war Ari has tried to avoid for so long, they are forced to confront long-forgotten ghosts, painful betrayals, and dangerous truths. Will Ari and Ely's unsteady bond be enough to brave these oncoming battles, or will the past and its secrets tear everything apart?
A Vision in Smoke draws us back into the world of Until the Stars Are Dead with a host of new characters, exciting twists, and gripping action.
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"Ari is a remarkable protagonist—strong yet distant, and always tightly controlled. Her relationship with Ely is one of tolerance, unshakable camaraderie, burgeoning friendship, and perhaps something more. This uncertainty is representative of a story that eschews predictable genre conventions; for example, the magical artifact is a MacGuffin that the characters fight not to use, and the final battle plays out not in rousing overview but in breathless, confused flashes. Barkley's prose is occasionally poetic, but the narrative itself is unromantic and the dialogue realistic. Events gain impetus from character development rather than tricks of plotting or prose, and the final resolution proves more bitter than sweet—an outcome that many fantasy fans will welcome. A well-developed character study that does justice to the fantasy genre." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Follow along with Ari, Ely, and Jagger's journey...
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