Cover Image: Luminous

Luminous

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This was a great YA Fantasy novel, that I would definitely recommend trying!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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Luminous is the story of a girl with a unique magic system, a fast-paced plot, and a friends-to-lovers romance.

Readers who enjoyed Woven in Moonlight will enjoy this novel.

This story takes us on the journey of Liora, a girl who was told to hide her "light" her whole life. Never truly understanding how she came to be or why she is deemed so "bad", we follow her through her own self-discovery. The more Liora accepts herself, the more powerful she becomes. 

I enjoyed this novel, however, I didn't really buy the love connection with Evran (always had this feeling he was made by his mother and it didn't sit well). The ending almost makes it appear that a sequel is coming.
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A good quick read. Very interesting premise not sure if i liked the delivery?
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review!
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This book was good. I didn’t think anything was standout to me but I did enjoy it. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and the magic system. 

My fave character was actually Darius. I don’t always love the villain but I liked that as the book goes on, we learn his back story. It made me more enthralled by him.
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Is anyone else super excited for another Mara Rutherford novel? I first fell in love with her writing in Crown of Coral and Pearl, and here we are with a new world! Luminous is a new young adult novel, one that portrays a different world full of magic.

Ever since she was little, Liora was forced to hide. She hid from the world what made her so unique – her glow. Literally, her family feared what would happen to her if the king's warlock learned of her gift, which feels more like a curse.

When the whole world is turned upon its head, Liora must learn to embrace the magic deep within and find a way to save the day. Yet this will not be an easy or comfortable journey for her. Thankfully, she has allies to lend a hand.

"You were your own light in the darkness. You just needed to believe in yourself."

I honestly didn't know what to expect from Luminous. Thanks to the previous works I've read by Mara Rutherford, I knew that it would include an imaginative world with magic and lore. What I didn't know was how the main plot would evolve.

I will say that I was blown away by Luminous. It was absolutely a fun adventure worth reading, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. This was one of those books that was easy to picture an adaptation for. The characters and scenarios lend themselves so well to the big (or little) screen.

My one complaint about Luminous, if you can call it, is that many character relationships felt a little shallow. This is especially true earlier in the book. Many relationships were told, as opposed to shown, that sort of thing. It does get better with time, so I'm willing to be generous on this count.

Overall, I enjoyed Luminous. Part of me is sad that it is a standalone novel. I enjoyed the world (that I saw) and would have liked to see more of it. The rest of me is happy that the story ended at the right time, with a proper ending.
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I enjoyed this story. I felt that it was a solid read, although it is lacking in some areas. I enjoyed the characters for the most part, although I felt that there were too many characters involved in the main story that it was hard to really get to know any of them very well. Even the main love interest was quite a mystery and we only learned the basics about him. That being said I loved how the antagonist was presented. He was definitely more morally grey then villain and it was easy to feel connected to him even though some of the things he was doing was atrocious. I loved that there were different aspects to the plotline as well, It seems that there was something for everyone. We had the small village, the big city, the traveling trope and even a dark magical realm to explore. I found that the ending was a bit rushed but there was also a twist in the plot that I did not see coming at all. I would say that this is a good, solid, enjoyable book. If you like friends to lovers romance, and a good magical plot then I would say to give this one a try. I would give this more of a 3.5 than a 3 star if I could. I just dont think it made it to a 4 star for me.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the published for this advanced copy in exchange for a review. I was actually supposed to read and review this for a blog tour, but my life is a mess and I completely forgot. So, here we are, better late than never they say, right? 
This story follows Liora who is a witch. Her powers include glowing like a star (and more as we follow her journey in this story). She’s been kept hidden her whole life because there is a powerful mave, Darius, that seeks out other mages and kills them or makes them come work for him at the palace. One thing leads to another, and Liora is found out by Darius. But instead of taking Liora to the palace, he takes her younger sister, Mina, as leverage. This also leads to Liora taking an apprenticeship with her neighbor, the mother of the boy that Liora is in love with. Her neighbor is a weaver and she can weave things and make them come to life. This adds some complications to the story. 
This was very much a story about Liora finding herself and learning about her power. Everything that happens plot wise in this book was so that Liora would use her magic in ways she’s never been able to and in turn, learn more about herself. I liked Liora. She was curious but cautious. She cares so much for her friends and family that she’s puts herself into danger for them. She just had a really big heart which we see by how she feels sympathy for Darius after she learns of how he came to be the way he is. Darius was definitely the most interesting character. He’s the villain of the story, and rightfully so, but as we get to know him from his sharing with Liora, his childhood was not an easy one. I thought his ending was a fitting one. But I did end up really liking him. 
The magic was absolutely the best part of this story. Every mage has a different ability. Liora is basically a star. We see a mage that controls shadows, one that can teleport, another that can shapeshift, and one that can read minds and speak telepathically. I thought it was really interesting that no two mages had the same ability. 
The romance was good. It’s the childhood friends to lovers trope, which is usually one of my favorites. And while I enjoyed them and was happy with how their story ended, I couldn’t help but hope for some romance with the villain. 
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The writing was good. It kept me interested and the story felt like it was moving right along even though things didn’t really get exciting until about halfway through. The characters were well developed and interesting. I just had a hard time feeling attached to them. This was a really unique and compelling standalone fantasy that I think many people will love.
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Okay I'm only about 2/3 of the way through this but OMG

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an electronic copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Liora has spent her life hiding her magic from the world. Her skin glows, making her magic immediately recognizable. When Darius, a warlock who works for the King, arrives in town to hunt down mages, he finds Liora. Instead of taking Liora to the capital to work for him, he lets her work for a neighboring witch, and takes Liora’s younger sister instead. Then, Liora’s best friend and first love, Evran, disappears after her sister leaves. Darius has dangerous plans for the future of their kingdom. Liora will do anything to save her sister and Evran, even if it means giving in to Darius’s demands.

This was another great fantasy novel by Mara Rutherford. I liked how fast paced it was. There were a few times when the story was heading in a direction that I thought would lower the tension and slow down the story. However, those parts only lasted a chapter or two, so the story kept its fast pace.

There were a few surprising twists that I didn’t see coming. I had no idea where the story was going to end, and I was really shocked at the ending. I hope there will be a sequel because I want to know what will happen next!

Luminous is a great YA fantasy!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The premise of the novel is intriguing but many of the conversations and descriptions lack real depth. The world is interesting and the characters are intriguing but were not gripping enough to keep the reader entertained.
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Full review can be read here: https://twincitiesgeek.com/2021/11/luminous-shines-but-not-as-brightly-as-it-could-have/
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Luminous, while the story provided points of strength, did not draw me in to the world. When reading something fantastical, I love feeling immersed in the world and the magic system, and while the magic system was interesting, the world building fell a little flat in my opinion. Every part of the plot seemed to just kind of . . . happen. I sometimes was not sure why something was really happening, and what led to the decisions of the characters, particularly when it came to the romance. I understand that this is a young adult novel, but I didn't really feel any spark between the two characters. However, I still enjoyed the read and continued the novel to the end. While this was not my perfect match, I would certainly read other works by this author.
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Thank you so much to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

To start off with, while I don't think this book was particularly for me, I can definitely see others really loving it, so this mostly a case of "it's not you, it's me." I loved this author's debut, A Crown of Coral and Pearl, and was very excited to read something else.

Unfortunately, my feelings on this landed very much in the "meh" category. I didn't particularly like the main character, Liora, I know that she was young, but some of the decisions she made just straight up annoyed me. The same goes for her love interest, Evran, who demonstrated a fantastic case of the use of miscommunication to drive the plot, one of my absolute least favorite tropes. He deliberately didn't tell her things that SHE NEEDED TO KNOW AND HAD NO REASON AT ALL FOR SECRETS TO BE KEPT, and lied to her and kept her in the dark deliberately anyway, causing her to make certain decisions, and they both just brushed this under the rug like it was nothing?

The big bad guy started out being bad the for sake of it, but in an effort to humanize him, we were then stuck with an exceedingly long travel sequence that lasted longer than I cared for so we could see that he maybe wasn't the worst (but he still definitely is). 

There was more that really bothered me, such as the pacing (see long travel sequence above, followed by an abbreviated ending that felt kind of...abrupt?), and some of the side characters that I didn't really love. I gave this 3 out of 5 stars because there was nothing that I actually hated and I can see others liking it, but it was definitely not for me.
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A beautifully told story, but it lacked uniqueness.

Mara Rutherford knows how to write beautiful prose that is reminiscent of fairy tales. I knew this from her first duology and was happy to have received her newest book.

I really liked the writing style and pacing of the book - and I also liked the world- and characterbuilding, but it just wasn’t unique enough for me. 

A naive young girl with a power she doesn’t really understand and is trying to hide - a mysterious young-looking but ancient dark lord who is gathering everyone with powers around himself for his own gain, who finds the girl weirdly fascinating because she is JUST NOT LIKE THE OTHER GIRLS, (dark) magical beings that have to be tracked by the best friend/love interest, a land of shadows versus a power of light ... 

It all reminded me just too much of Shadow and Bone. The execution was very well done, but I was kind of bored because it felt like I had read this story before.

I also listened to the audiobook whilst reading along and I can really recommend it. It was well done and a lot of fun.
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Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publishers for providing an ARC. 

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. The protagonist is smart and cares for others. The family dynamic is compelling and interesting. The villian had potential.  Unfortunately, these things all fell away in the second quarter of the book when they are lost in the tapestry. I couldn't wait for it to be over and would skim and want to flip ahead. I feel like this is a fun and creative idea, but the juxtaposition between the two made it seem like a different book and slowed me down.
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This was such a sweet story about sisterhood, love, learning to trust yourself, friendship, perseverance and a lot of hope.
The magic system was so unique and cool- it gave me all the Darklina vibes. There is also a sweet friends to lovers romance that I really enjoyed seeing develop. 
Liora is a witch who has been hiding for years. Her powers are super special and unique- she has the ability to make light as her entire skin glows. However, this has made it difficult for her to hide and therefore does not go out at night where she could be exposed. 
Darius is the king's dangerous warlock- he feeds on other mages' powers and has dangerous and mysterious plans for the kingdom. 
When Darius discovers Liora, he takes her sister captive in order to make Liora comply with his demands. In turn, Liora makes an alliance with the local witch and agrees to work under her while secretly exploring her powers. 
However, Liora's best friend and crush goes missing and Liora becomes desperate to find him and save her sister. The only way to do so is by tapping deep into the powers within her that she has been hiding all her life. Liora must learn to face her fears or doom them all. 

This was such a good book! The setting was fantastic and I loved the witchy elements. Super unique story with a sweet message.
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I really enjoyed the plot of the witch trying to control their power or else something will go wrong. The characters were great and I really enjoyed the plot of the book. It was a fun read and I look forward to more from the author.
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I always love stories about having to hide magic, and Luminous did not disappoint! Liora is an imminently likeable character, and even Darius was fleshed out and a compelling character (not always the case with the antagonists). It was nice to see a world with a magic system that was different enough to be interesting but not too complicated that trying to understand the worldbuilding would detract from the reader's understanding of the plot.
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This was a wonderful story.  Although I do wish that the author would have gone darker I still really loved this story.  I hope that we get a book two as well since it had an open ending.  I loved how the story unfolded and the characters.  They were all amazing, Liora was a joy as she learned about her powers and what it meant to be who and what she was.  Since we learn certain things towards the end of this book I think the author could go two different ways with a sequel. One would be about the ending of this one and the journey that characters are on.  The other would be a companion title about Liora's sisters learning about where they lay in their world.  Since we know new things.  (This is so hard to wright without spoilers) Darius reminded me of a toned down Darkling from Shadow and Bone. And her sisters were a joy and I wished we would have seen more of them.  

The setting was the same old same old in a new fantasy world.  I loved the darkness and the creatures and the magic.  I would love to learn more about their world as well as Liora and her sister's mother and father.  The pacing in this one was done so well it was steady not to fast and not to slow.  

The romance in this one was very light.  I think readers who don't really want romance in their stories would really enjoy this one.  As there is romance there but its not the main reason for the story.   The ending of this one was wonderful and perfect for this tale.  I do hope to see a book two or even a book three in the coming years as there is so much Mara could do with it.
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#NetGalley #Luminous
The main character has spent her life in hiding and having all the details she really needs to know hidden from her which makes life rather difficult and also impacts the reading a little.  Plenty of action and adventure.  Secrets. Beautiful cover.  Checked to see if this will be a series, Internet says stand alone, but ending leaves the possibility open.

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.
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