The Gives Light series by Rose Christo. Books 1-4.

Gives Light:
"Skylar is my name, tragically."

Sixteen-year-old Skylar is witty, empathetic, sensitive--and mute. Skylar hasn't uttered a single word since his mother died eleven years ago, a senseless tragedy he's grateful he doesn't have to talk about.

When Skylar's father mysteriously vanishes one summer afternoon, Skylar is placed in the temporary custody of his only remaining relative, an estranged grandmother living on an Indian reservation in the middle of arid Arizona.

Adapting to a brand new culture is the least of Skylar's qualms. Because Skylar's mother did not die a peaceful death. Skylar's mother was murdered eleven years ago on the Nettlebush Reserve. And her murderer left behind a son.

And he is like nothing Skylar has ever known.

Looks Over:

"There's nothing wrong with trying to get to know my son's boyfriend."

Skylar knows he's lucky to have an open-minded father. It's not just that Skylar and Rafael are both boys. Between their families exists a dark and turbulent past: Rafael's father was the first serial killer in the history of the Nettlebush Indian Reserve, and Skylar's mother was his last victim.

Skylar is ready to put the past behind him. But Skylar's future is tenuous at best. Skylar is still a ward of the state, and foster care can take him away from the reservation at a moment's notice. Voiceless and powerless, Skylar learns firsthand what it means to be a Native American in the 21st century. And when Skylar stumbles across his father's best-kept, twelve-year-old secret, not even Rafael can shield him from the fallout.

St. Clair:
"I never want to hurt you. You get that, right?"

Skylar knows Rafael wants something very specific from him--and Skylar wants him to have it. Convincing Rafael is going to take some serious innovation. Skylar lost his voice twelve years ago to the Nettlebush Indian Reserve's first and last serial killer. That serial killer was Rafael's father.

Rafael's father, Skylar learns, isn't the problem. Something else happened when Skylar survived that blustery summer night. Something Skylar never thought twice about. Something Rafael can't look past.

The Supreme Court ruling on Kelo v. New London changes the face of US property laws, plunging the reservation into an insidious tug-of-war between the Bureau of Land Management and the Plains Shoshone who have called the soil home for centuries. History, Skylar realizes, is repeating itself. Their parents powerless, the law their enemy, Skylar and his friends are going to have to get creative if they want to keep what's left of their land.

Why the Star Stands Still:
"Your dad's Indian. Your mom's black. Why are you white?"

Skylar St. Clair's been getting questions like these all his life. Skylar's home is the Nettlebush Indian Reserve; his family, the hundreds of Plains Shoshone living there. Skylar can't help it if he better resembles his biological mother, a woman whose untimely death left him with more secrets than memories.

Skylar's father has been in federal prison for the past fifteen years. The summer of his release coincides with familial matters of a different nature: Skylar and his husband are trying to adopt a daughter.

Piecing together a fragmented family is no small task. All the patience in the world cannot contend with thirty-three years of reticence.

But love can.

My first question is...why have I not heard of Rose Christo before? How come this author isn't as well known as JK Rowling? Why is book one not a film. It would make the most amazing independent film. Just WHY??

Okay, so I'm reviewing the first four books of this series together, and then I'll review the fifth one separately. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I have only just found out about these books and literally read the series, so far, straight through. Secondly, they've been around for a while, but book five was released this month. And thirdly, the first four books are from Skylar's point of view and book five goes back to the beginning from Rafael's viewpoint.

So I'm going to try and leave the break down of each story to the blurbs and talk about what I loved about this series as a whole. And I did love it. I devoured it, have the worst book-hangover and could cry now I've finished with them.

Where to even start though. Okay, the Nettlebush Indian Reservation where the story takes place sounds so perfect, I want to live there and I HATE the heat. I have loved every second of learning about the culture, down to realising that Indian is not a racist term. I know I will be re-reading these and trying to understand more about this culture. I loved the ideals I was learning about and it seems, to me, so much better than the way in which we live here (in England). I love the gift culture. The communal meals. The schooling system....I really loved it all. Even the hunting, which I would hate to do, seems so much better than our way of breeding animals for food. Something about this culture just resonated with me. Would I be able to give up creature comforts I've grown up with? I really don't know, but it's definitely given me food for thought. 

As well as the setting I loved the characters, particularly Skylar and Rafael the MC's. I want to say their voices were so clear...which is odd, seeing as Sky doesn't have a voice. The connection between these two was so electric, it really was as if they were part of each other, that they'd found the rest of themselves when they met. And this is with the fact that Raf's father is the cause of Sky's lack of vocal chords. That Raf's father was the one who killed Sky's mum. The connection between these two was just beautiful. 

All the secondary characters were amazing too...and so real. With the set-up in this Indian reservation and the promotion of this culture through the story, it would have been so easy, so tempting to make the tribe members the good guys and westerners the bad guys, but this does not happen. I mean for a start Raf's dad is a serial killer. There is good and bad in all cultures shown. Everyone is human. It's not just about the characters and their actions, but the consequences of their actions both short and long reaching. It's about how the main characters strive to be better and how love helps them do this. I don't think there is a single character in this who didn't bring something to the story. I loved them all, my heart found a special place for Zeke though. I'd love to know more about him.

So the writing. Rose Christo writes some of the most beautiful sentences I have ever read. Wow, the imagery she uses is powerful, so perfect. The romance between Sky and Raf was gentle and amazing. It was love. Love from the inside out and it was refreshing to read about love without lust being an over-bearing component. So, so refreshing. The visuals Rose Christo painted with her words, of the land, of the history, of the character, of the beliefs, or the was all perfect. I couldn't find a word out of place.

The books go from Skylar being sixteen to when he's an adult. Book four is set several years after the other three. Would I have liked one in the middle, one that showed the journey we know they took to get to the point they're at in book four. Of course I would, but not enough to moan about it or mark it down. The time jump was a shock for the first couple of pages...the story didn't lack for it though.
I've marked them all as five stars, because I read them all as one big book really. If I was nit-picking, one and two were my favourites, by a margin. I'm not marking them at less than perfect though because all the points above re the writing, characters and setting still count. The storyline may have an odd time jump in it, but I really can live with that.

I would recommend these books to everyone. From teens to adults. I know I'll read them again and again. I'm going to get the paperback versions - have you seen the beautiful covers? (St Clair is my favourite cover!!). I just hope you all love them as much as I do. What am I going to read now??

Find out more about Rose Christo and her books on Goodreads.


  1. Thank you for review, I have been trying to decide whether to read these books and now I will! I just downloaded these to my Kindle (they are available on Kindle Unlimited).

  2. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. :)

  3. This is one of the best reviews I have read in a long, long time. It told me everything yet nothing, my mind was visualising when reading and at the same time, asking questions on a book that I haven't read yet. Excellent review.

  4. Thank you Lorraine, that is really nice of you. If you do read them I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. :)

  5. Lovely review, lovely lady! I'm more than half way through book two and it's just a good as the first, IMHO.

  6. Yay - I am so pleased you're enjoying them. And thank you kind sir!!