Monday, April 25, 2011

Early Review - Luminous by Dawn Metcalf (4/5 stars)

LuminousReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy
Size: 304 pages
Publisher:  Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: June 30, 2011
ISBN-13:  978-0525422471
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Librarything's Early Reviewer Program
Rating: 4/5 stars

I was drawn to this book by the beautiful cover and then read the synopsis and found it intriguing.  I actually received an Advanced Reading Copy of it through Librarything's Early Reviewer Program.  It was a very creative book and has some intriguing ideas in it; although at points the writing is a bit hard to follow.

Consuela finds a lump at the back of her neck and is worried about it.  Her mother agrees that Consuela will go to the doctor if it is worse in the morning.  Then Consuela finds that she can put her fingers into the lump and actually remove all of her skin; leaving her a glowing Skeleton.  She finds she can makes new skins out of things like water and air.  While experimenting she ends up meeting other teenagers with strange powers and finds herself part of the Flow.  A serial killer is loose in the Flow and Consuela must figure out how to stop the killer, otherwise she may never have the chance to return home.

This was an odd book.  It is very creative and has some really neat ideas in it.  At times it is beautifully written and has some excellent imagery.  At times though there were also things that didn't make sense.  Why only teenagers in the Flow?  Why was she able to talk to her mother when she got home in the beginning but not later?

The idea of the Flow is interesting, but I have to say it is a bit difficult for the reader to figure out what is going on at the beginning of the book.  The reader needs to suspend disbelief and kind of just..well..go with the flow of the story.  As the book went on I understood better the kind of "other place" the author was trying to create, but it did take some piecing together to get to that point.

The characters are intriguing.  All of them have different powers and complex backgrounds.  While I did find them interesting, they never really came alive for me.  The book seemed more focused on what they could do in the Flow than on who they were and what they thought.  This was complicated by the fact that there wasn't supposed to be much emotion in the Flow itself.

The story gets a bit creepy at points.  The whole concept of Consuela peeling off her own skin weirded me out a bit, as did the fact she traipsed around as a skeleton.  There were portions involving the serial killer that were also a bit unsettling; although they never got too scary for me.

The story ends well and in such a way that there could be more adventures involving Consuela, although I haven't heard anything about that.  As for the author's writing style, I am a bit on the fence about it.  Metcalf's writing has moments of beauty, but it also had times where things were kind of vague.  It wasn't the easiest writing to read and you had to read it very slowly and carefully to make sure you understood what was happening.

Overall a very intriguing read.  If you are interested in reading something unlike anything you've read before definitely pick this story up.  The concepts of the Flow and how Consuela can makes skins out of organic matter are interesting.  The story does get a bit creepy, but should be appropriate for young adult and older.  The writing style wasn't my favorite and the characters weren't as engaging as I would have liked.  Still this book was very original and interesting, so I would recommend it for people who want something a bit different.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- The Debut Author Challenge


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