When Eyelet was a child, a huge flash lit up the sky and blocked out the sun. Now the world she lives in is dark and the people threatened by Vapors–an asphyxiating gas–and worse that lurk in the shadows. Lumière follows Eyelet as she tries to find her father’s legacy and the cure that he promised her before disappearing. It is part adventure, part romance, and all steam-punk.
I really enjoyed it. Eyelet’s voice was incredibly strong and well-written. It was a pleasure to be in her head, although there were moments when I was annoyed with her. For the most part, she was clever and assertive and didn’t often go down the “I’m just not pretty, why does he like me?” path that a lot of first-person protagonists go down. She doesn’t rely on other people and their power, so she really had to struggle with asking and accepting help. When she does, however, her relationships with the other characters blossom. Lumière was written in the perspective of two characters, which was okay most of the time. Urlick is also a distinct character and had a good backstory, but there were times when he focused too much on one thing and I didn’t feel like he was driving the story forward as much as Eyelet was. It’s also a personal preference thing: if I’m going to read multiple perspectives, I feel that third-person works so much better than first-person.
The world in Lumière was incredible. I love steampunk, but there have been times when it’s been such a weak element of novels that it shouldn’t have been included at all. This was thankfully not the case in Lumière. From the very beginning with the brass mechanical elephant that breathed steam to the strange modes of transportation, Lumière had me hooked with its world. It was incredibly interesting to see a world that was steeped in contraptions run by steam power but also had elements of magic. Jacqueline Garlick blended the two seamlessly. In Lumière, magic and madness are considered a crime, yet the scientists of the novel create steam-run things that seem very magical in their uses. It was a nice contrast of showing how some things that are odd are accepted, but to even have a whiff of madness or magic in you is deadly.
The weakest part of Lumière was easily the romance. I didn’t feel that it was necessary. They’re running for their lives, but she’s concerned with if he likes her or not. I mentioned earlier that Eyelet was an intelligent character, but whenever romance was thrown into the mix she became a bit stupid. She’d do and say things that made her seem like a girl who was just stomping her foot when she wasn’t getting her way. As the romance developed and became more prevalent, these moments became more common. Overall, the romance was okay. It was a slow build so it was realistic, but unfortunately, once they both realized that they were attracted to each other it hit like a train and became too much, too fast. She went from zero to one hundred and it became a bit much for me because I felt it was unrealistic according to the timeline I had in my head. I did enjoy the Beauty and the Beast element, but that disappeared too fast for my taste. It would have been cool if that had been drawn out more.
Lumière is written in a very episodic way. Every chapter fit together but they also had a main problem that needed to be overcome or discovered. Once I got into the middle of the action I couldn’t stop reading it in the way I can’t stop watching a TV show and then binge-watch it in one sitting. Lumière does end on a cliff-hanger which may turn some readers off, but it just made me want to read the next one. The society cast-outs were an interesting cast of characters and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to them in the next book of the series. I hope that the strength of the setting and characters hold up and that it doesn’t become too much about the romance, which was the weakest part of the novel.
I received a copy of the book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.