Book Reviews

The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

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List Price: £1.98


Kindle Edition: 338 Pages.

Published: 01 April 2016 by AmazonCrossing



For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.

He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away.

A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out…


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Most Unusual

The boy lives in a basement with his parents, siblings and Grandmother. He was born there and knows no other way of life. He lives in fear of the Cricket Man and loves the tiny sliver of sunlight that comes through a crack. Following the birth of his nephew all is not quite the same as before.

At first I thought this book was similar to "Room" by Emma Donoghue and the family were trapped by some sort of madman. I also wondered if it was some sort of post-apocalyptic or contamination story. I was fascinated to see why these people were living in this basement - I won't give it away! I really enjoyed the first half of this book setting the scene of life in the basement. As the book progressed and the reader learned what had happened, I struggled a little with the story. Some of the reasoning and people's actions didn't quite make sense to me and changed this from a gripping 5 star book to an enjoyable 4 star book.

Most of the characters in this book are actually quite unpleasant. A majority of this story is seen from the point of view of the 11 year old boy. No one has any names in this book but are referred to by their relationship to the boy - brother, sister, mother etc. The boy is a total innocent in all that has gone before as he was born in the basement. The others, however, are not. Each of them is responsible for unpleasant actions. The father and sister are particularly unpleasant and nasty. Both are quite bullying and manipulative in their behaviour and their treatment of the boy. The poor lad is told lie after lie by people - who or what should he believe?

This is certainly an unusual and interesting read which I enjoyed.

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