Blacklight Born, like the two books before it, stands strong and unique in a sea of derivative books. I’ve never read better unarmed martial combat in any book, and the world and characters shaped around that combat are a joy.
While each book in The Combat Codes is individually excellent, I kinda wish they fit together as a trilogy a little better. The amount of story Darwin compresses into these three books is just not enough, at times. I wanted more, and not just because the writing and characters are excellent. Certain connections or choices or character fallouts don’t have time to be given proper weight, before the plot moves on. This is especially true of the latter half of Blacklight Born.
Complaints about the series’ pacing aside, The Combat Codes are a unique fantasy/sci-fi mashup unlike anything else out there. This is a world I want to revisit, with characters I’d love to have champion a Harry Potter-length school series. The story pulls very few punches. A must-read.