Edmund thought his problems were over when he finally died after surviving by ghastly means an apocalyptic epidemic of influenza. He couldn't have been more wrong. ASA, a super computer with artificial consciousness, has decided to bring him back to help her expand to all known universes. After killing himself thirty times and being revived as many times (much to his annoyance), he decides to accept ASA's offer. His mission will take him on an adventure fraught with danger and rich in new discoveries. Soon, the lines between right and wrong will blur, leaving him no choice but to trust his own instincts.
Darkness and the Radiance of Neamh immediately pulled me in and didn't let go until the last page. Griffin has a great ability to divulge just enough information to make the reader want to know more. I often found myself thinking "One more chapter" when I was already way past my bedtime. What's great about this book is that although I hadn't read the first one of this series, Darkness, I still didn't have any problem following the story.
What is most impressive about this novel is the setting. Griffin juggles multiple universes with the ease of a professional juggler. The reader moves from one to the other without ever feeling confused or lost. The author also manages the same feat with a non-linear narrative that takes the reader back and forth in time with clarity. This could have contributed to muddying the story but Griffin pulls it off with brio. Another great element of this book is characterization. Edmund, Aine and Troy (more to come about him) are very lovable but Griffin also managed to create a villain – the Emissary – the reader can empathize with. We're not dealing with a stereotypical bad guy here. I quite liked the Emissary and look forward to see how things will play out between Edmund and him in the sequel. (Hopefully Gridding is writing one because I need to know what's going to happen!)
Lastly, I need to talk about two things that immediately made me love this book. The first one is Troy the android. What I liked about him was the fact that his excuse for doing anything weird was that he was Canadian. What was even better is that it worked. I'm going to have to try that in the future. The second one was the library in Eire. What is there not to like about a library so big you might never be able to explore it completely in one lifetime. The fact that the librarians are also the most revered and powerful people in their realm also won my heart.
Darkness and the Radiance of Neamh is a great read. I strongly recommend it.