Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team
“The only missing piece was my best friend at my side.”
Aaron Anderson and Jake Moretti have been friends and neighbors all their lives. At seventeen, their friendship suddenly, almost on a whim, changes. Then, just as suddenly, it all changes again.
This novel started out feeling like a YA novel, and then became something significantly more adult. The author lays down a rather striking premise in which the emergence of psychic powers during adolescence has engendered a whole world of unjust laws and cultural prejudice for the children who develop those powers. Called psions, these young people are faced with challenges that “norms” don’t face.
It’s a very interesting idea–displacing the gay dilemma with another one and playing with all the parallel narrative potential offered by such a sci-fi/paranormal hook. At first, I was puzzled by the introduction of a polyamorous gay couple into the plot, but then it all began to make sense as the author expanded on the nature of psions and their very particular physical and emotional complexities. One of the cleverest things about this book is the carefully rationalized explanations of what being psion is. Good sci-fi must be plausible, and Silver does this well.
In retrospect, I was a little disappointed that a story about cultural prejudice, in which the whole range of LGBTQ+ identity is honored and incorporated into the plot, somehow entirely misses ethnic variety. Jake is Italian, and Aaron is a pale-skinned redhead. There are no people of color, which seems an odd absence and a missed opportunity in a book so focused on the acceptance of diversity.
Another complaint I have is not a rare one in the world of gay romance. The book is riddled with grammatical errors that should have been corrected through editing.
Setting these flaws aside, “Bright Spark” is a fascinating adventure that carries a lot of emotional weight and kept me reading far beyond my usual bedtime. I’ve already purchased the second book in the series.