Title: Lumière [The Illumination Paradox #1]
Author: Jacqueline E. Garlick
Publication: December 12, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Steampunk
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.
After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum.
Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own.
Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.
I’ve never really put my foot through the steampunk door, aside from the fantastical world that Cassandra Clare weaved. While I know it has become a large trend in YA these days, I had yet to find a book specifically in that genre that captured my attention. That is, until I saw this one. When offered the opportunity to review this book, I immediately jumped on it based on the gorgeous cover, the fascinating synopsis, and the rave reviews on GoodReads. And I have to concur with those reviews. I absolutely loved this book and am so glad I’d decided to say “yes”.
I loved the characters in this book. They were extremely dynamic and realistic. Sure, the heroine was strong, but she also had moments where she shed a few tears, where she needed a shoulder to cry on. Often times, these days, especially in YA, authors forget that just because a hero’s strong doesn’t mean they always have to be. Sometimes, strength is knowing when you can’t do something by yourself. I love the Eyelet and Urlick tag team, and how they work together constantly and mesh so well (while also driving each other up the wall). I also loved the voice of each character. Everyone had their own personality and way of speaking that made it easy to distinguish who was saying what, even if Garlick didn’t explicitly tag them. The fact that these characters weren’t perfect made them even better. With a marred appearance and a neural defect Eyelet and Urlick’s imperfections make them perfect, and the fact that they accept each other regardless of those, is truly formidable. In addition, I really enjoyed meeting the other characters in the book. They were a loyal, fun, and a tad bit odd, but I couldn’t help loving them too.
True, there were times that the characters flipped their mood switch a little too quickly, and other times where the scenes moved just a tad too fast, but at the same time, you could feel the frustrations of the characters, as well as the confusion, the panic, as well as the growing friendship between them. In the end, these traits may make the book even better.
There was only one point in the book where I wasn’t totally happy with the turn it took with regards to one of the characters (but it was small and almost inconsequential… ish). Alas. However, that bit didn’t really effect my experience as a reader, so all is well, haha ~
Next, the world that was created in this book was stunning. I was especially fascinated with all the gizmos and gadgets that were presented: guard ravens, swirling suns, a transformable spinning knife disk. And of course Bertie. The description and utilization of all these gadgets really brought action to the book. I loved that the author wasn’t afraid to take some time away from the the “main” plot and slow the book down to present parts of the world that made it unique. There are a number of books about worlds that are very different from ours, but half the time, there’s very little description of these worlds – I would always be left wondering what the odd food looks like, the colourful outfits, the oddly shaped buildings within the city. In Lumière, I get to see the world, imagine it, and place the characters in them. The description is so vivid in this story that I could picture it, and still can picture it, even weeks after finishing the book. That’s not to say that little is left to the imagination, there’s never a full description of this building or that, simply impressions that stick with you, long after you’ve past that point in the book.
As if I haven’t praised it enough, I loved the over all plot. Everything was thought out so well, and the executed equally as well, that it kept the book rolling and twirling in directions that I wouldn’t have predicted. The tiny details that mean nothing to you at t
Everything about Lumière‘s world felt tangible and within reach. It was the perfect mix of steampunk fantasy and dystopian, and I absolutely loved it. I cannot wait to read the next book!
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.53/5
eBook obtained via Jacqueline E. Garlick in exchange for an honest review.