Unfortunately, this is probably the weakest of Hogarth's fiction that I've read thus far. I understand that it features at least one recurring character from other stories, but I have yet to read them, and Dark Lighthouse can't quite stand on its own. It's quite possible that the conclusion of this piece lies somewhere in 'Second' or 'Alysha's Fall,' but it's definitely not in here.
One of the better Jokka stories - and let's face it, they're all good! Very solid. Evocative in several ways of 'The Worth of a Shell,' but more like an alternative or an homage to it than a rip-off. It's like Stephen King's 'The Regulators' and 'Desperation' being alternatives, only I didn't care for 'The Regulators' and I love both of Hogarth's stories. 'Neuter Face' did get a little rushed or heavy-handed towards the end, admittedly, but all in all, very much worth the ride. Read 'Shell' first, and then come back to this. (You'll need it.)
Special mention goes here to Sunife! She's unique as far as I know among Hogarth's Jokka females, and a very valuable addition to their number. She fills a gap in anadi characterization very neatly and very charmingly.
Yes, this is one of Hogarth's earlier works, and definitely "old school" with a Christian-based strongly hierarchical church and a feminine (mostly!) more tolerant opposition thereto. You've heard this, and you know the drill.
Being Hogarth, the heterodox female paladin is indeed devout, but also blindly obedient to that strict hierarchy, and struggling with faith in a system that doesn't want her to exist. And the 'feminine counterpoint' assassin is - well - not necessarily all that tolerant, and definitely not safe. As with a lot of Hogarth, it's the details that really make the piece - her descriptions of auras and their behavior is very vivid, and she definitely knows how to make a nonhuman really seem nonhuman! (Even if Kat's technically half human.)
Much better than the description of it. This story is about a woman making whatever sacrifices she has to make in order to attain her dream. The characters are solid, though not as fleshed out as they could be, and that's these stories' saving grace. Being among Hogarth's earlier works, there are some significant plot holes and something I can only call insufficient research, but some of that may stem more from Alysha's flaws than the story's. She is, after all, lacking in life experience at this story's point in time. Nonetheless, despite these flaws, it's a solid introduction to the world of the Pelted, and I can recommend it as such.
I don't know why on earth I haven't reviewed Butterfly yet! It's my favorite by far of all the Pelted stories, about family ties and religious beliefs and foreign cultures. Despite the points of view being from natives of the culture, Noelle still needs the same introduction to the Hinichi world that we the readers do. And it's a very satisfying world - probably the most satisfying depiction of a Pelted culture I've seen: close enough to human cultures that you can tell where they came from, but different enough to be distinct and fleshed-out.
It's probably not the best introduction to the Pelted universe, but once you've been introduced, I highly recommend picking this one up. Every time I reread it, I can never stop and put it back down - I have to read the entire thing all over again.