Self-published in 2017 | Three feathers
*The author sent me an e-book copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Summary from Goodreads:
A powerful island. A dangerous mystery. An impossible choice.
For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane.
Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.
First and foremost, the concept behind this book is really cool. I loved the idea of a special group of people being able to revive half-forgotten memories. That’s what made me want to read this in the first place.
There were a few things that bothered me a little bit while reading, though. Firstly, I wasn’t entirely on board with the writing, as the author shone through too much. This was especially true when it came to the characters – it was as if the author has an idea of how she wants teenagers to be like that she applies to the characters and, as a result, they didn’t feel entirely realistic.
Secondly, the novel had a very American viewpoint (well, obviously, since it was written by an American author), but it became very clear as it was applied to a non-American environment. The characters were 16 or 17 and drove cars, when, in reality, you can’t actually get your license until you’re 18 in the majority of Europe. Also, and this might be me focusing a little bit too much on details, but the school system was also talked about in American terms.
Overall, I enjoyed this, apart from some minor inconsistencies, and really liked the concept.
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Kari Lynn West writes contemporary YA fantasy—normally while drinking far too much coffee. She likes to create character-driven stories that are set in the real world with a twist, weaving fantastical elements into everyday life. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.