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Lumière (The Illumination Paradox) by…

Lumière (The Illumination Paradox)

by Jacqueline E. Garlick

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I Loved It
There were things in Lumiere that were near perfection. The romance was secondary to the main story and it was a naturally slow build. There were great secondary characters. The main characters were likable and had distinct voices in their dual narration. The elements of suspense, fantasy, steampunk, gothic thrills, and more. Surprisingly it all meshed well and would have all added up to one hell of a great reading experience had it not been for the the portions that I loved not.

I Loved It Not
The pacing was inconsistent, the chase scenes were thrilling but spoiled by dragging on entirely too long, and the ending was a disappointment. Unfortunately, the ending took what was previously unbelievable, but imaginable, in a cool fantasy sort of way; and went to far with some just plain old unbelievable ridiculousness. Not every detail needs to be worked out as a happy ending.

The Bottom Line
Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick is a good story with a lot of interesting elements, fantastical characters, and a unique story line. The ending felt complete, which I always want in a book that is a part of a series, but there is a cliffhanger that builds anticipation for the next book, also something that I like in a series. ( )
  StephLaymon | Feb 3, 2016 |
My Thoughts:
In many ways, Eyelet bugs the heck out of me. She’s that typical YA “heroine” who doesn’t have much sense half the time. She is headstrong and doesn’t listen to reason. Yes, she has good reason to hide her infirmity, but you’d think she would be able to trust someone who is equally afraid of the authorities. Her desire to find her father’s machine and cure herself leads her to keep running into danger, rather than away from it.

The attraction between Ulrick and Eyelet reads like the typical “we hate each other, so of course we’re inexplicably attracted to each other” romance scenario.

That out of the way, however, I like the universe. Imagine a blighted world where the sun is out there somewhere, but cloud cover keeps it constantly from view. Oh wait, I don’t have to imagine. I lived in Portland for 12 years. Seriously though, some people have questioned how the world can continue to function—food can’t grow without sunlight. Let’s just suspend our disbelief and say the UV rays are making their way through.

This story has the undead for all the zombie lovers. What I love, though, is the steampunk inventions. This is steampunk the way I like it, with a winged, semi-sentient motorcycle and much more. Supporting characters are interesting and varied in their motivations. And yay, no teen-age dystopian YA love triangle! The underlying plot regarding the fathers of both Ulrick and Eyelet is interesting, and I will definitely search out the remainder of the series.

Bonus: The idea that science can’t explain everything, and that sometimes, you just have to believe that magic exists!

Possible Objectionable Material:
Teenagers feeling attraction for each other, acting on it somewhat. Perilous situations. Violence. Sneakiness. Some cursing.

Who might like this book:
Lovers of fantasy and/or steampunk. Those who like YA, dystopia, gadgets, zombies. It skews a little girly in my mind, but not overwhelmingly so. Approximate Lexile: 830

I received a free e-book from NetGalley in return for this unbiased review. ( )
  swingdancefan | Dec 1, 2015 |
My feelings regarding this book are quite mixed. While I did largely enjoy Garlick's writing style, it occasionally lost cohesion which made it difficult to follow the action in some of the faster scenes.

Similarly, the book felt like it took a bit of an "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to its content. While the core plot about the Illuminator was compelling, the novel just felt it had far too much going on. Steampunk, Victoriana, Magic, Witchcraft - at times I wished the story had picked one theme and stuck with it. Each of these aspects could have produced an interesting story in their own right but including them all (and many subplots concerning them) meant that Garlick did not have time to develop them to their full potential. For example, it's mentioned in passing at the start of the story that Eyelet's mother is supposedly responsible for the death of the Prince but this thread never rears its head again.

However, the characters were excellent. Lumière contains a wonderful cast of outcasts that I became incredibly attached to. I love how no one in this story is "normal" or wholly attractive. Their flaws make them far more memorable. The switch in narrators between Eyelet and Ulrick was handled very well as both speak with very different voices and so I never lost track of who was speaking. They're also both greatly developed characters - I loved the gradual build of their relationship and the fact that both of them had an equal role to play in the climax (no shrinking violet heroines here!)

All in all, the novel certainly needs a bit of polish but if you're a fan of Steampunk you might find something to enjoy here. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Oct 18, 2015 |
Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick
Series: Illumination Paradox #1
Published by Jacqueline Pynaert on 11 August 2015
Reviewed by Kj
The Word: An adventurous plot, jam-packed with danger and intrigue was overshadowed by poor dialogue and dull characters.

Set at the turn of the century where magic is seen as a dark art and people are still hung for their crimes. Lumiere is Jacqueline Garlick’s debut novel. It reminded me a lot of City of Embers and the Golden Compass with a dash of Hugo. It was high action, packed full of mystery and danger but I just didn’t relate to the characters.

Eyelet is a young lady who suffers from epileptic fits in a society where illness is considered as the beginning signs of madness. Her father, a famous inventor, developed a machine that he hoped would help cure Eyelet of her disease but he was never allowed to use it to its full potential before the flash. The flash was a bright green light that caused dangerous gas clouds, which blocked out the sun. Eyelets father died in the event and it has just been her and her mother for the past several years. After Eyelet’s mother is accused of using witchcraft Eyelet is forced to run – she learns the location of her fathers machine and goes in search of it hoping to cure her ailments (seizures). The machine is stolen just before she gets her hands on it. (believe it or not that all happened in the first couple of chapters) Eyelet is forced out of her comfort zone as she tries to survive and find the truth behind her father’s death and machine.

I found that I spent a lot of time skimming paragraphs trying to absorb the important details and didn’t connect with the story. I feel the book would be much more enjoyable if a third of the book was removed. The main characters were constantly running from danger and at times it felt like there were too many people out to get them. The plot had too much going on or too little. The middle seemed to drag on yet, when I was close to the end it seemed to be jam-packed with people attacking left right and centre and at times it was hard to keep up with what was going on.

I absolutely loved the setting for the book – set in the early 1900s where women are second-class citizens, science is becoming more prominent, and witchcraft is feared. It is dirty and dingy and horses and carts are the main transportation. The concept for the flash was great – ominous gas clouds that kill or change people into evil mist-like beings, earth mutilated with deep crevices and pockets of heat and the scorched sun contributed to the ominous feel of the book.

I loved and hated Eyelet – at the beginning of the book she has spunk and attitude and didn’t consider that as a girl she was disadvantaged. She constantly worried about having a major seizure in front of others but had been managing them for several years. She had a unique style and wasn’t easily intimidated. However, after meeting Urlick (yes he was the one who knicked the machine) although maintaining some sass – she became a docile female who was quickly enamoured by Urlick’s (non-existent) charm. Her relationship with Urlick was forced and seemed unrealistic.

Despite the grievances I had with the book it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t reach out to me. I also felt the book was targeted towards a younger YA audience – it missed the depth of emotion often seen in YA. If you’re a fan of steampunk or love technological based books then give it a try.

Love you long time. ( )
  birdslovewords | Sep 24, 2015 |
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

Lumiere unfolds in a weird world that feels both Medieval and mechanical while the descriptions support a post-apocalyptic life with the prologue taking place before everything changed. Magic and science exist in an unhappy pairing while the world itself is both corrupt and corrupted. People thrive in an area kept separate from the corruption if they are wealthy while the rest live as close to the outskirts as they can in the struggle to survive.

Inside these pages, despite the grim world and Eyelet’s situation (one of the main characters), you find a grand adventure where both Eyelet and Urlick (the other main character) are confident of what they know. That confidence is both wrong and right in ways they don’t expect.

There is a definite steampunk feel to the mad scientists with wild inventions and mechanically gifted folks able to create things that cross the plausibility barrier into magic. Eyelet and Urlick share this talent though with different approaches, strengths, and weaknesses.

The characters are enjoyable whether main or minor, the villains are repulsive and manipulative, and the prize is both a mystery and somewhat understood. Ignorance in main characters can become annoying, especially if the answer seems clear to the reader. Lumiere avoids this by providing firm answers that are incorrect to some degree while enabling the reader to enjoy the journey instead of getting frustrated about their inability to figure out what’s really going on.

There’s one exception to the above, one connection that seemed obvious to me but they were too close to see. However, it turned out even there, I had most of the pieces to deduce the answer but not the whole so when the reveal happened, it still came as a surprise.

The book employs real-world techniques that are not well known blended with a touch of mythology and whole cloth creation to provide a complex society with real problems the characters are thrust in the middle of. At the same time, there’s a growing love story with its own complications and the pursuit of knowledge that could harm more than it helps.

I think this is the type of story where different readers will experience different levels and recognize deeper meaning on later reads. At the same time, the overt story is strong and worthwhile even if the rest goes over the reader’s head.

It might not be what most expect of steampunk, but it’s worth the time to read. And for those who hate cliffhangers, it does end on a slight one, but that’s more on the level of epilogue because the main story is already complete. However, I suspect I know where the second book will begin, and that’s a fun thought.

P.S. I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. ( )
  MarFisk | Sep 13, 2015 |
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Living with a secret affliction her whole life, seventeen-year-old Eyelet travels her dark world in order to track down "the Illuminator", a machine that her father invented that is the only cure for what ails her.

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