Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on the Inkyard Press Fall 2021 YA Blog Tour for Luminous by Mara Rutherford! Thank you to Inkyard Press and the author for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this tour.
Author: Mara Rutherford
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: October 5th, 2021 (Inkyard Press)
Synopsis: Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.
To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos–and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.
Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In a land where mages are hunted for their magic, Liora has spent all her life hiding her abilities, most particularly her glowing skin that would give her away instantly. But when she is discovered by the king’s warlock, Darius, instead of taking Liora, he instead takes her younger sister Mina to work in the palace, essentially holding her hostage. Even worse, Liora’s best friend Evran, the only one outside her family who knows her secret, has been acting strangely of late and he goes missing following Darius’ visit. Liora must set out on a journey to not only find Evran and save her sister, but also stop Darius from unleashing a dark power upon the world and she’ll have to accept and learn to use her magic in order to succeed.
Luminous was a quick and easy read, and I really liked how there was quite a decent amount of world-building done in the first quarter of the book without it ever feeling like an info dump. The setting and background of the story certainly fit the cover of the book and the magic system was an intriguing one which I would have liked more of an explanation for. The pacing of the story was decent, and the way the plot unfolded held my attention throughout. The narration style actually reminded me of various fairy tale retellings I’ve read as the feel is very similar.
However, I felt that the character development was lacking in this book as none of them felt like they had much depth. I couldn’t connect with Liora at all, and found it extremely hard to be invested in any of the character arcs to be honest. There were a lot of secondary characters introduced with a wide range of magical gifts, but the book did not really take the time to dwell upon them enough. Darius did make for a good villain though, and a lot about him and the dynamic between him and Liora reminded me of the Darkling from the GrishaVerse. Margana, Evran’s mother, was another interesting character and her magical weaving abilities were fascinating.
The pacing really sped up in the last quarter of the book and I wasn’t sure for a while there that it would be able to resolve all the loose threads before the end, but things were tied up rather neatly. Overall, while I found the concept of this story interesting and it was a nice read, much of this book felt very familiar to other YA fantasy novels and it didn’t stand out in any manner. Unfortunately, this was a bit of a miss for me, but I would still recommend it.
Luminous releases on September 14th, 2021.
About the Author
Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world with her marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. Mara is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!