The First Bright Thing features a Spark in a dark world

At first glance, the cover of The First Bright Thing screams circus and the art deco pattern that was popular during 1926. It is during this time where WINDY VAN HOOTEN’S CIRCUS OF THE FANTASTICALS roam around states and cities, bringing a moment’s joy to people. It travels during 1926, after the first war and the Spanish Flu pandemic, and a strange phenomenon that gave some people special powers.

Also, notice how my copy of the cover has people?  Aside from that, this is an artful way to hint of the characters in the book. You can see an hourglass, some stars and lines that look like threads, those features are common throughout the book.

Amazon cover

Sparks are magical abilities

The Ringmaster, Rin for short, calls the ability she gained Sparks. The book tells of a strange event, and that was when a select few gain some unique powers. It also kick starts a cat-and-mouse-chase all over The States, because Rin isn’t just spreading joy and magic, she’s running away. The Circus King is a scary entity, the ringmaster of The Circus King’s Midnight Illuionatories. He is a constant shadow of Rin’s mind, the reason she’s always afraid and running.

Rin’s wife Odette is a healer. Mauve is a seer. The trio also carries out a secret mission to help people with abilities in need. Mauve will see potential candidates, while Rin will move their train to the destination to bring marvel and inspiration. Their ambition is lofty, but so far they are successful. After the event, there is the Prince Act, letting people like Rin to go around as long as they promise to serve the country when time comes.

The Timelines

The main or present timeline is 1926, but the story also has secondary timeline where a love story emerges between Ruth and Edward starting in 1916. You don’t really need to guess; it is obvious by some points- why else would you put random people in a different timeline if they are unrelated to the story, right? There are other timelines that are related to their abilities and ambitions, but that is part of the main one.

One feature or writing style that attracted me was the use of stars to signal some travelling. Rin, Mauve and Odette frequently time travel together, and they are a team. The trio frequently decide what to do together, a good thing about odd numbers.

Turning Point on The First Bright Thing

Saving the girl Jo Reed and her brother Charles was the turning point of the story, because history has to catch up somehow. Sparks can be a lot of things, and there are plenty in the book. The story ends by coming in a full loop, skillfully done to close a chapter in Rin’s life. The First Bright Thing focus on hope and rising against the odds, and how your thoughts decide your actions. Wonderfully woven, it is worth reading for the world-building and time hopping. Theme for the book includes domestic violence and war, and rising above the waves that may drown you.

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