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Friday, 21 March 2014
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Bought from the author!
An unexplained flash destroyed life as Eyelet once knew it. No-one has seen the sun in years, they live in perpetual twilight, clouds obscuring the sun, deadly Vapours lurking outside the safety of Brethren, all thanks to the flash. But that wasn't the most devastating thing to happen to Eyelet that night, her father was found dead, and Eyelet has always felt abandoned by him. Now 17, and with the entire city of Brethren after her for false accusations, Eyelet sets out to find the invention her father made for her, and then sold all those years ago. It's called the Illuminator, and it was her father's prized invention.
With it, Eyelet hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures, like her father promised to. You see, in Brethren, having seizures is grounds to be classed Mad and locked in an asylum, something her father's arch nemesis Professor Smrt is determined to do. He's determined to find out her seizures and have her locked away. Pursued by Smrt and his men, Eyelet locates the Illuminator in Gears, only to have it whisked away by a strange boy. Eyelet follows the thief into a strange, unknown world. Her quest is not the only thing compelling her, the allure of the boy with the secrets is also playing a hand. Eyelet wants to know what the screams she hears in the night are. She wants to know what exactly is going on in the compound. And she wants her father's machine.
Together, they must endure the deadly vapours, and the creatures it creates, as well as woods infested with criminals who don't always stay hanging from the tree's, solve a riddle, and outsmart Smrt. But when they finally find their prize, truth's about their father's come out, and the machine may be the biggest problem they face.
Jacqueline was very kind to me, and sent me a copy of this all the way from the US when I asked if I could buy the special edition, and I must say, I enjoyed sipping my tea and eating my sweets while reading, not to mention the invention that has helped aid my laziness! I would urge anyone interested in the book to grab a special edition copy if there's some left, as the artwork included was beautiful!
The first thing I have to say about this book is that it's been a long time since I've been affected by a character death, and then the only times it's truly upset me was with Headwig in Harry Potter, not to mention Dobby, and Max in Mortal Instruments. I found myself out of sorts for hours after Bertie died. Truly gutted, and Bertie isn't even a real person, he's a bike. Although somewhat living shall we say?
That is how truly amazing the writing is, and how much emotion is inspired by the world and characters created. From the first page I was hooked right in to the twilight world created with a few words. The writing was atmospheric, and most definitely cinematic. Everything was described perfectly, but concisely, I could picture the buildings, the city, the layout, the inventions, and the characters.
With my special edition, I got some artwork, one of Bertie, and then some of other characters. I didn't look at these until after I'd finished the book, and I could immediately tell which character was which, just from the descriptions in the book, and the image in my head.
The premise of the book was unique, with the history of the flash and what happened to the city, not to mention the storyline about the invention. I've read steampunk books before, but never any with a story quite like this. Everything was so unique from the inventions mentioned, through to the creatures lurking in the woods, and the vapours. So many books in this genre all tend to have the same type of machines described, but I didn't come across a single machine that I've read about before, it was unique through and through.
I freely admit that whenever I read the word Flash I heard "aahhh aahhh" in my head!
I loved the characters, I had a connection to Eyelet, I thought she was a very strong girl to have dealt with everything she did, and to keep going, to venture in to the unknown and to carry on with her mission no matter what else happened. I loved Urlick, he's a hero, but he's not your usual hero. He's not perfect. He has birthmarks over his face, and that's marked him as different, and his back story was heartbreaking, but he's still so strong. I loved how Urlick and Eyelet both thought no-one could ever love them because they're different, and they found each other. I love how they're not perfect, that they have obstacles in their lives and they're not cookie cutter main characters.
Each of the characters was written with depth, and these amazing personalities. They jump off the page, and when you're finished reading, you realize that for the time spent reading they where so real to you. The supporting characters where written so well they could stand on their own, and you felt a connection and an emotional attachment to all of them, even Bertie!
The story is told from Eyelet's point of view mostly, but we get Urlick's point of view quite frequently, and rather than reading the same scenes, word for word, but from two different points of view, we saw a scene with Eyelet, then an entirely different scene with Urlick, and then a scene with Eyelet that occurs after Urlick's scene. This was brilliant, it kept the narrative fresh, and you saw a different side to Urlick in the beginning when we where getting to know him, as well as how the characters where coming across to each other, and at one point we saw more of Iris and how she really is.
The plot was fairly complex. We have a mystery to unravel. What caused the flash? What happened to the machine? And so on. We start out just looking for the machine, but then it swiftly gets more complicated. You have to work out what Urlick's hiding, find the journal's, find out what Smrt's really been up to and what his plans are, and find out what happened all those years ago between the scientists. There where plenty of plot twists, and none of them where predictable, I found myself being constantly surprised, which delighted me as that is so rare these days!
Lumiere is fast paced, with a fantastic flow. Any background information is delivered concisely, and doesn't upset the narrative or flow of the book, and we don't have reams of background that's hard to slog through. Some of the background is delivered in flash backs that are blended seamlessly in to the narrative, and you can picture it on screen flashing back! We also have a fantastic set up for the second book, which was woven in right at the end and will have readers gasping for more. I'm really interested to see where this will go!
Lumiere is a fantastic addition to the genre, it's unique through and through, and a proper page turner, having you laughing, crying, and sitting on the edge of your seat in suspense. This book went everywhere with me. In the car, on the train (I'd been out for my birthday and was reading it on the train home at 12am), I was reading it while eating (quite a feat), it had to be pried out of my hands before I went to sleep, I'd dream about it, and then wake up and start reading while I was getting dressed and brushing my teeth.
Lumiere has romance, it has suspense, it has action, it has inventions, it has such fantastic world building that you are lost in the world created for you and it's a shock to jolt back to reality. There's characters you'll love and characters you'll love to hate. There's plot twists aplenty, and a tonne of intrigue and mystery that'll drive you mad trying to figure it out. Did I mention there's a kick ass heroine? A near dystopian steampunk world? A man with incredible flexibility and no arms? A talking Raven? A machine that could potentially destroy the world?
See....you really don't want to miss it!