Review: First Light by Peter Ackroyd


Book Information:

First Light by Peter Ackroyd
Grove Press
Published in 1989 (Republished in 1996)
ISBN 0802134815
328 Pages

Series Information:

Not a series.


3 out of 5


With the discovery of an ancient astronomically aligned gravesite in Dorset, everyone is excited over it — well, pretty much everyone. Something or someone is doing its best to sabotage and scare the archaeologists, led by Mark Clare, from digging there and Pilgrin Valley. How is it that something as small as a gravesite will bring together a group of people, who seem to have nothing in common with each other?

I’ll be honest with you. I absolutely hated this book. :| And it isn’t because of a lack of descriptions, which I love to have in the novels I read. I’ll continue with the reasons why I didn’t like the book in another paragraph since there are a lot of them. :( Oh, yeah, there might be some spoilers about the book toward the end of the review. :X

The first thing I didn’t like about this book is that it was really redundant, which is one of the reasons why the book was extremely slow moving. The slow moving plot is another thing I didn’t like about the book. It took about 100 pages just to get the characters digging and for the something/someone to sabotage the dig. Then, it went back to slow moving until the last couple of chapters. The slow moving gets kind of annoying, so I suggest just reading 20 pages each time you read, then take a break, and then start reading again. It kind of eases the pain of it. ;) Oh, also, the book kind of jumps from one point to another, which may be confusing if you don’t take some breaks in between in order to think about it.

Another thing, I found the characters rather, umm, boring and depressing. I’m used to reading books where it shows different personalities for each character, like them being happy, sad, etc. In this book, they remain their depressing selves. I can just imagine a frown on all their faces everyday. I think that’s also what made it so hard to read more than 20 pages in an hour or so because the characters were a little too depressing for me. :(

That’s pretty much the only things I didn’t like about this novel, now for the things I did like about it. Even though it is very slow moving, the characters are depressing, and very little action, I liked how the descriptions were always there, no matter how boring it got. I know I say the book is “boring”, but in a weird way, it isn’t. The author uses poetry, metaphors, descriptions that make it a little less boring, and the author also uses the poetry to bring out a deeper meaning than just having a plot.

I read online that some people might be confused about the ending of the book. I have my own opinions about what it means. Think about it like this the theme mostly is about stars and how everything is connected in some sort of way, it is also about time, change, and death. At the end of the book, the characters realize that even though their find is old, the person’s family still has the right to send them back to the sky to be stars (which you may say God, in some sort of way). Also, that as stars, the souls can still be with their loved ones and watch over them. And that to see every star (soul) in the sky will be nothing but light, which is what one of the characters sees at the end of the book. Well, I that’s what I think what the ending means, whether it is right or not, I don’t know.

Also, I know I put “supernatural” and “horror” as the genre, but it isn’t really supernatural or horror. I just put that because of the summary on the back of the book. Unless you scare easily or are very superstitious, it won’t be the “horror” genre for you. :)

I rated it a three mostly because of the deeper meaning… I would have rated it a two, that is, if it didn’t have that deeper meaning that I like so much. ;) So you shouldn’t read if you don’t like slow-moving, redundant novels. Also, you have to figure out the deeper meaning to really enjoy the book, but you have to get through the parts I found annoying first. :D

Where I Got It:

Checked out from the library.

Challenges Apart Of:



Not planning to re-read.

Other Reviews/Author Site:

$New_Bullet Peter Ackroyd
$New_Bullet Goodreads
$New_Bullet Library Thing
$New_Bullet LA Times Book Review

Places to Buy From:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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