All light in Chattana is created by the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom. When Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, this twist on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice — and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.
By Christina Soontornvat