Review: ‘Lumiere’ by Jacqueline Garlick

19448543One 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.

[From Goodreads]

Book details

Genre: YA, Steampunk

Series: The Illumination Paradox, #1

Publisher: Amazemo Books

ASIN: B00H9GXS1Q

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Review

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion on the novel or its author. {Previously reviewed on my old blog.}

I’ve never really dared to delve into the steampunk genre before. Honestly, the idea of a world partially submerged in history but containing futuristic elements made me feel a little uncomfortable at first. I imagined authors approaching historical fiction with a dystopian attitude and clumsily altering the past until it became a huge mess of puzzle pieces that didn’t fit together.

After finishing Lumiere, I want to read nothing but YA steampunk.

I don’t know if it was Garlick’s hardcore characters or her attention to detail in plotting one of the most intricate stories I’ve ever come across that made my heart seize up at several points in her novel. She doesn’t waste time with convention – her story is unique and confident in its approach, and executed with style and poise.

A particularly powerful aspect of Garlick’s novel is the nonchalance with which she allowed her misfit characters to shine. Each person is marked by some or other imperfection that forces them onto the outskirts of society, and yet not once do any of them become slaves to their hardships. Eyelet and Urlick are two of the most powerful protagonists I’ve ever come across: they are highly intelligent, independent, determined and downright brilliant. Nothing can hold them back – not even Eyelet’s seizures or Urlick’s insecurity about his appearance. Furthermore, Garlick’s secondary characters were just as moving as her two protagonists. Iris, especially, dodged every stereotype assigned to a character in her role – she was selfless and loyal, but also stubborn and fierce.

Although the romantic feature of Lumiere wasn’t heart stopping, I found that it neither detracted from nor added much to the novel, which was actually a nice change. Too often, an author will fixate on a romantic relationship, and the story will revolve around the couple’s love for each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s a point where one has to wonder how much more meaningful the story would be if the fate of a dystopian world didn’t rely on the destiny of two people. It gets tiresome. Whilst understated, Garlick’s romance was far more realistic. The couple worked together to save the world, but the fate of the world didn’t depend on their love for each other (if that makes any sense at all).

Lumiere is an enthralling novel, and I can’t wait to read Garlick’s next installment.

4 stars

Rating: 4/5

Recommended to: Lovers of kickass heroines and beautiful storylines.

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The Last Word

I fell in love with the cover of this novel, and the storyline lived up to my skyscraper expectations. I’m holding back the last star because I feel that the pacing of the novel wasn’t fantastic – lightning-fast scenes made me dizzy with excitement (in a good way), but then they were interspersed with passages that moved soooo slllooowwwlllyyy that I had to consciously force myself not to fall into the habit of skimming. That was a minor thing, though, and maybe it was just because I was so addicted to the rush I got in Garlick’s climactic scenes that the calmer scenes seemed slower than they actually were.

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