Blog Tour: Invisible In A Bright Light by Sally Gardner.
Down she falls, through the dome of the opera house, down she falls, past the crystal galleon, and as she passes it she hears the sound of something coming adrift. Down, down she falls …
(Invisible In A Bright Light by Sally Gardener. P6.)
1870. It is opening night at the Royal Opera House and every one of the candles is lit in the huge chandelier shaped like a galleon which was mysteriously lost at sea. Orphaned and impoverished Celeste wakes from a strange dream to find that everyone thinks she is somebody else: a player in the forthcoming opera.
Then the chandelier falls and the hauntings begin.
Celeste is shadowed by a girl who claims to know her past. Together they must play a game called the Reckoning and save the lives of the loved ones Celeste can’t remember before it is too late.
There is no storyteller quite like Sally Gardener. She reminds me of my younger self in a very good way, my childhood self at fourteen or fifteen just before I became afraid to run with ideas and see where they took me. When you open one of Gardener’s books, there is no knowing where it will take you, except that the show will be spectacular and that it will be an experience to remember.
Which is why I was delighted to see that Gardener had written a book about the theatre. Her style matches the visual, multi-sensory splendour of a good show.
The strange events of Invisible In A Bright Light tie together a man in a green coat, a theatre, and a fantastic chandelier. Gardener weaves different layers together until we understand more about Celeste’s life, and what it is she must do. Reading it is like being led through the darkness until the lights come on and everything starts to make sense. Gardener creates a world that is disorienting and beautiful in equal measures.
The relationship between Celeste and the girl whos shadows her, which begins after an accident involving the chandelier, reminds me of the best fairytales. It could be the thing to lift Celeste from her miserable life, or it could trap her in a nightmare forever. The balance of fear and hope kept me on tenterhooks as I invested all my hope for Celeste in this girl and her dangerous game.
It is fantastic to see Gardener writing for a middle-grade audience again. Her stories draw the reader in and keep them hooked until the very last pages. This would be a great book for readers who like something a bit spooky but tremendously beautiful.
Thanks to Head Of Zeus for my gifted copy of Invisible In A Bright Light. Opinions my own.