Reviews

The Light of the Fireflies, by Simon Bruni, Paul Pen

itsferchabitch's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Loveable characters? No

4.0

rachelcabbit's review

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4.0

I picked up this book as March's Kindle First book. While I have yet to read Room, the premise of a child narrator being locked in a basement with his secretive family intrigued me.
While the plot had some degree of predictability, there were dome interesting twists but there are trigger-worthy events in the book that shock.
We get no names, no true identifying features of geography until later - the book feels like it could be set anywhere which is to its credit. I forgot I was reading a translated work!
The plot was gripping and while I do not much care for the ending, it was a good read.

kristenlovesbooks's review

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4.0

This was a Kindle First pick. It sounded like a cross between Room and Flowers in the Attic and I was interested to see what the author would do with it.

It was a curious journey. I simultaneous hated and was intrigued by the characters. Yes, it's reminiscent of Room at times, but it's definitely its own story.

shelbycadle's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful sad tense

4.0

jennthumphries's review against another edition

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4.0

Potential spoilers!

This would have been a 5-star - beautifully written, great descriptions, I loved how none of the characters were named, I felt like I was on a journey of discovery just like the main character. But, I hated the way the sister's character was handled. I get that she did some unspeakable things. But so did her parents and grandparents. And they failed to protect her from a predator. They chose their disabled son over her. That REALLY bothered me. All she ever wanted was a life free of her family and she was close to getting it. I found myself rooting for her in the end, despite all of her misdeeds. And now the main character has to be tied to that island forever, he can never move or travel far away. Incredibly selfish of the parents.

sarahoretsev's review

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3.0

The 3 star rating is nothing to do with the way this book was written. This book was excellently written. I could not put it down. The subject matter was handled delicately and once I started reading, I could not stop. This man knows how to write. From a stylistic perspective, this is a five star novel.
The reason I put it to three stars was simply because of the resolution. I don't want to spoil anything; but this family is dysfunctional as heck, probably the most dysfunctional family I have ever read about. And I empathised with the sister. And yet everything that happened was apparently her fault; and that is how the story ended? This girl has been traumatised and blamed, and then her brother escapes but... also doesn't. I was just quite uncomfortable and freaked out with how the novel ended.
Then again, maybe that's the point.
This is not the kind of book I typically read, but I am very glad I read it; and even though the content made me uncomfortable, as I said, stylistically this book was 5 star.

birdsfeet's review

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3.0

{ 3.5 stars }

moniqueg93's review

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5.0

Amazing!!

This book was incredibly well written and riveting. The plot took so many twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat, dying to find out the truth along with the main character. Being told from the perspective of childhood innocence with third-person flashbacks made everything all the more shocking and entertaining. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a maze like plot.

katrinadimick's review

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challenging dark emotional tense medium-paced

4.5

carriekellenberger's review

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4.0

The Light of the Fireflies is a really dark novel set in the dank, darkness of a basement. Grandmother, father, mother, daughter, son, youngest son and a young baby having been hiding in the basement for 11 years.

The first thing that struck me about the first two chapters is that no one has a name. We know they are a family and they have all been disfigured by fire except for the youngest son. Everyone but the youngest son is delusional and it doesn't take long for the reader to figure out that some serious child abuse is happening in this basement.

How this abuse starts and evolves for so long is something for the reader to discover.

The tale is told from the perspective of the youngest son, a boy who yearns for light and has only known darkness his entire life. His entire world is the basement, his cruel father, his crazy older brother, and his sister, who wears a white mask because her face has been so disfigured by the fire that the rest of his family was in before he was born.

The boy has a cactus for a friend, he loves his books about insects, and he is fascinated by the ray of sunlight that filters into the basement from the top part of the room they live in. The whole family has been acting especially crazy since his sister gave birth to a baby boy in the basement.

This leads the boy to question what his family is doing in the basement, why his father is so cruel, who the Cricket Man is, and why they can't go outside to see the world of blisters.

The boy finds solace in some fireflies that arrive in the basement. He's able to capture them and their light brings him great comfort. His grandmother tells him that, "There's no creature more amazing than one that can make it's own light."

The fireflies make the boy feel a little braver and he starts to question whether or not he can escape from the basement and get to know the outside world a little more.

The only problem is, escaping means that he can never get back to his family, and how will he get past all the locked doors?

This book is translated from its original language and the translator does an amazing job. This book reminds me strongly of Emma Donaghue's Room.

Best Takeaway Quotes

“Maybe the day has come when his desire to know is stronger than his fear of the unknown.”
― Paul Pen, The Light of the Fireflies

“A door loses its meaning if you don’t ever go through it.”
― Paul Pen, The Light of the Fireflies

“And those unwilling to look beyond their own little world will be left in the dark.”
― Paul Pen, The Light of the Fireflies