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joi, 10 octombrie 2013

Review "Luminous: An Alternate Reality ... Is the Real One" by E. Bell

Synopsis (Goodreads):
It is 2049, and sixteen-year-old Lucia Carboni carries a weight on her shoulders not typical of a teenage girl. Her burden is not clothes, boys, or school; it’s saving the world. Born into the Ascended Ones, Lucia’s mission is to help the cult depopulate the world, take over, and enslave the survivors. If all goes well, by 2050, there will be a New World Order—a plan the Ascended Ones have been working toward for centuries.

After Lucia is sent undercover to public school, she attempts to fit in and develops friendships with the very people her cult seeks to destroy. But what no one knows is that Lucia is immune to her cult’s brainwashing techniques. Torn between her upbringing and hope for her future, Lucia makes a bold decision to escape to Ground Zero in New York City, where she hopes to find her mother, pose as an alter, and seek proof of the Ascended Ones’ plan. As she embarks on a journey to the truth, Lucia soon discovers that nothing is as it seems.

In this exciting futuristic tale, a teenager races against time to enlighten the world and stop an evil plan before it is too late. 

My review:
Lucia Carboni is a soon to be sixteen years old girl who lived her life preparing to serve the Ascended Ones, until her mother ran away with her to New York and made sure her brain cannot be controlled like the others. When she is brought back to her father and grandmother everything began to change. She was no longer one of them, so they had to find her another job, a spy job, as a student into one of Their school (They are the ones controlled by the Ascended Ones, also called the Illuminati). 

Her best friends are Illinca and Danika, two of her classmates and the persons she trusts the most. Illinca is part of the same world as Lucia, while Danika is an ordinary girl who has no idea her life is a lie, because Lucia is not aloud to tell anyone the truth. Bit by bit, Lucia wishes she could be normal, like any other girl, to fall in love, have fun with her friends and eat whatever she wants. She is not sure that what she does is the right thing anymore.       
After spending more time with her boyfriend Mason, Lucia finds out bad things about the Ascended Ones and decides to find her mother in New York to get some answers, but the trip is not was she was expecting. It seems that Frejya Carboni has mysteries who are waiting to be descovered and Lucia is forced to make a big decision: to fight against the Ascended Ones who destroyed her family or to hide and accept how things are. 

"Luminous: An Alternate Reality ... Is the Real One" was a quick read, good for entertainment, but a little unpolished on some parts. At the end I really got engaged into the story and I was curious to learn more about Lucia and the Ascended Ones. 
The characters are not very developed or likeable, except for Lucia and a few others, and I didn't care too much for them. I don't know if this was the author's intention, but for Missimilio, Lucia's father, all I felt was anger and hate. He really is the worst father in the history of fathers! As for Illinca, I was sad to see her being transformed into a puppet that can't think by herself.      

The dialogue is witty and clever sometimes, making the story better. What I did not enjoyed was the switch between English and German without translation, since I am not familiar with German at all. Also, some of the expressions in Romanian are not correctly written (I am Romanian, so I can tell), but I am sympathetic knowing it is difficult to write in a foreign  language without help.    

Even if the action takes place in 2049, I did not encounter many differences between our world nowadays and that era. It would have been a plus from me to read more about the technology and the discoveries that came with the passage of time. Also, I didn't understand how the Ascended Ones were capable of communicating with the aliens and their part in the world is explained to little. As for the end, it was pretty good, but I wish I knew more about Lucia's mother. It kind of left me hanging and wondering if there is a second part of the book.

What I liked:
- the story as a whole is interesting, fresh, with a lot of potential;
- Lucia is a strong character with many flaws who tries to do her best in a bad situation;
- all the details about the Ascended Ones;
- the people from the forest.

What I did not liked: 
- the writing is a little too simple at the beginning, but later it becomes better;
- the characters are a bit shallow;
- many questions about the universe remain unanswered;
- the dialogue in Italian and German is not translated and it annoyed me when I could not understand.

As a conclusion, I enjoyed this book and I am glad I had the opportunity to read it, because it taught me to fight for what I want and for a better world. 

Note: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 3 out of 5 butterflies