Opal Charm: The Path to Dawn by Miri Castor


[Edit: Originally published October 23, 2016]

Opal Charm is my favorite kind of unreliable narrator. We only know what Opal gives us and through her own biased lens. She’s dealing with so much emotionally that it screws with her perception of things. Her overcoming that is actually a major point in the story which I thought was absolutely fantastic. Her growth from beginning to end was incredible and wonderfully written.

Opal Charm just wants to get through eighth grade. She’s isolated and miserable and her home life leaves a lot to be desired. But then the new girl at school turns here whole world upside down. And what’s this power she’s supposed to have?

The Path to Dawn revolves around Opal and where she stands in her life, we get a lot of the inside of Opal’s head in relation to how she’s dealing with things, like a messy home life, dealing with her brother’s death three years past, and being the proclaimed savior of an alternate universe. The flashbacks are wonderfully placed and wonderfully executed.   

The Path to Dawn is a little bit of a slow read. (Though that’s not why it took me a million years to finish reading it.) The action takes place over a long period of time and the build up to the action involves a lot of decision making and more subtle events. Most of the really big climactic action, takes place within a single chapter. This is not to say that it’s boring, but it’s a book that demands you take your time with it.


I’m not going to lie Opal’s parents, her mother in particular, read as abusive to me. Part of that may be due to Opal’s unreliable narration, but not all of it. Opal’s mother is constantly assuming that she’s lying/doing drugs/etc., and she belittles Opal’s grief in light of her own. Some of this comes from Opal’s parents own poor ways of dealing with things, though that doesn’t make their actions any better. A lot of what pings as abusive to me is stuff I’ve experienced in my own life. Tread cautiously if you think that a situation like that might affect you aversely. I certainly know there were scenes with Opal’s parents that I had trouble reading. 

Illness (spoiler alert): A major plot point is that the water in their town gets poisoned leaving a lot of people sick. There are a couple scenes in the hospital and a lot of worry about the illness and characters dying.

All in all, I loved the book and the teaser for book two provided at the end of The Path to Dawn has me on the edge of my seat waiting for more.

You can find the book on Amazon here.

Related Reviews: Opal Charm: Hope in Nautical Dusk