A Strange and Brilliant Light – Eli Lee

Published By: Quercus
Pages: 304
Date Published: 22/07/2021
Date Read: 12/07/2021

Lal, Janetta and Rose are living in a time of flux. Technological advance has brought huge financial rewards to those with power, but large swathes of the population are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence, or auts, as they’re called. Unemployment is high, discontent is rife and rumours are swirling. Many feel robbed – not just of their livelihoods, but of their hopes for the future.

Lal is languishing in her role at a coffee shop and feeling overshadowed by her quietly brilliant sister, Janetta, whose Ph.D. is focused on making auts empathetic. Even Rose, Lal’s best friend, has found a sense of purpose in charismatic up-and-coming politician Alek.

When vigilantes break in to the coffee shop and destroy their new coffee-making aut, it sets in motion a chain of events that will pull the three young women in very different directions.

Change is coming – change that will launch humankind into a new era. If Rose, Lal and Janetta can find a way to combine their burgeoning talents, they might just end up setting the course of history.


Whilst at times it’s hard to read and completely get your head round, there’s no denying that Eli Lee can write description and emotion beautifully.

The life described in this book of artificial intelligence and robots replacing human jobs is a life becoming more and more of a reality which is rather frightening, but I never felt that scared for the characters in this book.

I did find it difficult to keep on track with who was who and who they were in relation to other characters. I also found the flitting around in time, “1 year earlier; 6 months later” a bit jarring. I also got the sense there was a lot of ‘telling the reader what is happening rather than showing them’.

A book with great promise, just didn’t hit the mark for me.

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