Lumiere (The Illumination Paradox #1) by Jacqueline Garlick
Release date: August 11, 2015
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Beware: some minor spoilers ahead
"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 was really excited when I received this book through NetGalley and started reading it almost immediately! It sounded very steampunk and mysterious so I was all in!
The setting and worldbuilding were pretty great in Lumiere, and I really enjoyed seeing/learning more about it as we went through the novel. There were some definite steampunk themes going through, i.e. the gagdetry, the evil machines, etc. that I really enjoyed. JG did weave magic in with all the science and inventing, which was really interesting. The society had some very anti feelings towards magic and "wickedry" but science and inventions were just fine. This novel really explored the line between science and magic, and I really enjoyed that!
However, from there, my feelings kind of went downhill....
The main character, Eyelet Ellsworth, was not my favorite. She is very no nonsense, but not in a confident and inspiring kind of way, more along the lines of whiny and annoying. She didn't really click with me. The other main character, Urlick (whose name I reinvented in my head to be Ulrick, because otherwise it just came out as "your-lick" where I imagined someone handing me a half eaten sucker. Sorry, but no), had a little more depth, but soon lost it when he became enamored with Eyelet. Their initial romance seemed stilted and out of place to me. I didn't really feel them as a couple until more towards the end where they're in some tight situations and have to rely on one another. At that point, I was all yes yes yes (Eyelick? Urlet? There's no win here with these names).
Throughout the book, I felt like I was fumbling through this world without a real direction. An idea would occur to one of the main characters, and then the next few chapters would be a result of that. One would randomly remember this thing from his or her childhood which would be exactly necessary in this exact moment. It felt like a series of (unfortunate) events that were linked together as an afterthought, rather than flowing and building to a climax at the end.
Overall, I loved the world and the setting, but the characters and plot fell flat for me. Really wanted to love this one!
2 out of 5 stars.