Demon in Sight, by Dan Rix

There are many emotions a reader goes through when faced with the final book in a series s/he has been enjoying. Obviously, there’s the unbridled excitement that a new book is out, but it’s also a bittersweet feeling because after that, there will be no more. There may be trepidation, based on high expectations that may or may not be fulfilled, especially when other series finales may have let you down. For example, I really enjoyed The Hunger Games and its sequel, but I have less love for the final part, particularly the final few chapters. And though I enjoyed the ultimate battle and resolution of the original Harry Potter series, the first half of the final book dragged for me.

So here I am, after reading the sixth and final installment in Dan Rix’s sci-fi series Translucent. I have enjoyed the previous five books, although the series is in a completely different galaxy (literally and figuratively) than where I expected it to be when I started the first book. I’ve said in my reviews of the previous books that what drew me to the book series in the first place was the plot device of invisibility. Usually played for teenage hijinks, I thoroughly applaud the author for using it not only in a more scientifically plausible way but even more so in a deeply symbolic way. Narrator Leona Hewitt craved being invisible to deal with her guilt, and she used it to try to atone. Great stuff.

Starting all the way in that first book, Leona “hears” the voice of the dark matter she stretches around her body to become invisible. At first, I interpreted that voice to be akin to the little angel and/or devil sitting on our shoulders, swaying us either towards doing right or doing wrong. As the series progressed, it is revealed that the voice is a malevolent entity that can control the dark matter. This entity, referred to as Dark up until the end of book five, uses the dark matter to create wormholes, sending people clear across the galaxy to an energy-less replica of Earth orbiting a black hole. Leona, NASA, and I all thought an alien invasion, having started towards the end of book four, was underway.

But that’s not really what it was at all.

Okay, I’m gonna go as spoiler-free as I can, but that’s difficult because so much of what I want to say is tied to the chilling reveal of Dark’s true identity—which was an awesome cliffhanger at the end of Black Sun (book five).

The reveal is made, and Leona’s boyfriend Emory provides a plausible psychological explanation how Dark’s true identity became Dark. I liked that, and it offered new insight into some of the events from the previous books. I can understand why the dark matter was “sent” to Leona in Translucent. I can understand why the dark matter was used to make a doppleganger of Ashley in Of Starlight. I can understand why Dark would want to strand Leona on Tartarus in Ash and Darkness (which, in retrospect, I have even more respect for the tremendous job done in book three when over half of the book is Leona alone). And I can understand why Dark would create a doppleganger of Leona in Slaying Shadows.

However, I’m not entirely why Dark—once it’s revealed who Dark is—would want to wipe out all of humanity, either by death via the scary not-entirely-organic lampreys or by banishment to Tartarus. I completely understand why Dark would want to put everyone else to sleep in this book, as it sets up for a final showdown against Leona. And I understand why the four others—Emory, Megan, Sarah, and shuttle pilot Natasha—are kept awake, as they either play a role in the events leading to that final showdown or represent a way to get Leona to that final showdown. But I had difficulty relating to Dark’s motivations for affecting everyone else.

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the book; quite the opposite, actually. There were legitimately scary “booby traps” along the way to the showdown, and the showdown itself was a gripping and fitting final battle. Relieving the tension was a little more love between Leona and Emory, and a lot more of Leona wondering how he really felt and if certain team members were plotting against her. A little too much of the latter, perhaps, but nothing really bothersome.

Dan Rix is a skillful and imaginative writer. He’s also very meticulous, as his science fiction explanations never feel unsubstantiated. Though none of us have ever navigated extra-dimensional white space, his descriptions of doing so are well visualized. The underlying message about guilt and redemption intricately woven throughout the series is fantastic. But while I love who the villain turned out to be and the fight against that demon, the worldwide attack doesn’t fully fit in for me, at least in hindsight. For this reason, I’m giving Demon in Sight FOUR STARS.

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Demon in Sight is available at Amazon.

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