(Note: Fall of Light is a “sideways sequel” to A Fistful of Sky. It refers back to some of the things that happened in A Fistful of Sky, but you could read Fall of Light on its own without any problem.)
Opal LaZelle (sister to Gypsum LaZelle of A Fistful of Sky) is a Hollywood makeup artist who specializes in making monsters for horror movies. What no one else realizes is that she can also do magic, and uses her talent to help in her work. On one movie however, the Dark God mask she makes for the leading actor, who she has fallen in love with, actually comes with a surprise: the Dark God himself possesses the actor. Now it’s up to Opal to figure out how to save the movie, and the man she loves, from this unwelcome guest.
Nina Kiriki Hoffman is a talented writer. She manages to create intriguing characters who the reader can empathize with. She deftly handles serious issues, especially the effect of dysfunctional parenting on children. Hoffman also has a gift for descriptive writing. I could easily see all the scenes in my mind as I was reading.
Unfortunately, the problem with writing a book that takes place in a cheesy horror movie is that your book reads like a cheesy horror movie. Opal knows the actor is possessed by an unknown power that has shown he is capable of hurting and manipulating people, yet she decides to sleep with him anyway. I felt like yelling, “Don’t go into the basement alone!” All the stupid things that people do in bad horror movies showed up here.
Another source of irritation was the excessive amount of extraneous background detail; it felt like Hoffman was trying to prove that she had done her research rather than creating a believable world. In addition, the pace was awkward. After the big showdown at the end of the book, I felt like echoing one of the main characters: “That’s it?” The menacing presence Opal had imbued into her Dark God throughout the entire book wasn’t found in the climax and, along with a major plot line not being resolved, makes me wonder if there is supposed to be a sequel to Fall of Light.
Readers who enjoy sexy dark god characters and quasi-vampire relationships may enjoy Fall of Light more than I did, but I would not recommend this book to a general audience. I felt like I was watching a bad Sci-Fi Channel original movie.