Radiance: A Novel

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Severin Unck may, or may not, be dead. Regardless, her absence fills the pages of Radiance and the hearts of those who loved her. Raised by her father, filmmaker Percy Unck, Severin grew up under the watchful eye of the camera. Her father staged many of her childhood moments, so Severin grew up wishing to tell the truth. She filmed documentaries. In her final documentary, Severin hopes to uncover the mystery of a vanished city on the planet Venus. Unfortunately, she disappeared, herself, leaving behind a motley crew to tell her story.

Radiance takes place in an alternate universe, in which the planets have been colonized for generations. The moon houses the moguls of the movie industry, and entertainment is coveted throughout the solar system. Severin’s story cannot be separated from the story of her world. Valente tells it out of chronological order, with movie clips, diary entries, recorded conversations, magazine articles, outtakes, and more, while visiting colonies on most of the planets. At first, this method of narration is disorienting; the reader must acclimate to a new world while getting to know the principal players. Once the vertigo dissipates, however, Radiance becomes a wonderful whodunnit and an immersive reality. I was just as curious about Valente’s universe as I was about her missing protagonist.

Reviewed By:

Author Catherynne M. Valente
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 432 pages
Publisher Tor Books
Publish Date 2015-Oct-20
ISBN 9780765335296
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2015
Category Modern Literature


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