Edition| eGalley courtesy of Netgalley Release Date| December 12th, 2013
I received a copy of Lumiere from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I wanted to like this book. No, I wanted to love this book. Because's it's a steampunk YA story and steampunk is, without a doubt, my favorite genre. This, unfortunately, wasn't even a good facsimile of steampunk. It let me down, hard, and at the end I was laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Warning: there are some SPOILERS below, but only because I needed to explain why I disliked the book.
Lumiere is about Eyelet and Urlick, both the children of inventors and inventors themselves. Eyelet's mother has just been hung for being a Valkyrie and she's on the run because people think she is one, too. She's also looking for a machine her father created to help her with her seizures. Two birds with one stone when she hitches a ride with the boy who seems to be stealing the machine and escaping town. She leaves with Urlick and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous forest with what may be a mad scientist.
Before I talk about why I hated this book, allow me to point out the one good thing: the fact that Eyelet has seizures. It's not often that characters with seizures are the main character- in fact, I can't recall a book I've read where that's ever been the case. And I thought this piece of diversity was great, and I wish the book had continued on the upward track.
But there were just too many stupid plot holes. For one, I don't think Eyelet changed clothing for several weeks, at least the way the book was written. For another, at the beginning she leads the reader to believe that she hates magic and that it doesn't exist- that her mother couldn't possibly be hung for possessing any magic- and then about two thirds of the way through she's suddenly all "everyone has magic in them; science can't explain everything". This 360 turn actually really pissed me off because now things I had in place about the world and the character were drastically changed.
Really, though, my biggest problem was Eyelet. I wanted to like her, but she was just (and I hate this word) flighty. Her mind was always racing.... in the wrong direction. I don't mind characters with faults and flaws, but there needs to be character growth in there somewhere as well. When she meets Urlick her minds already racing, and after spending two days with him she thinks he's a mad scientist harming small children because.... I mean, there's proof, but nothing substantial and he's never made any move to hurt her. The story continues with many such instances until near the end where, after receiving a ridiculous riddle, she suddenly understands all of it and nothing can stop her. Suddenly, her overactive imagination is a help, even though there wasn't any character shift to insist on such a thing.
The last bit that really bothered me was the romance. It was, at one point, a beauty and the beast retelling (I think) and then it became really rushed. I didn't feel the tension between the two of them at all. It seemed they were just paired off because they were there. After thinking he's a mad scientist and learning the truth- that he's not- she pretty much immediately falls in love with him. Then, during a rather tumultuous scene where they've literally stopped running for their lives for thirty seconds, she's taking his shirt off (I think they've kissed once before this) and they're getting ready to go at it. I was totally thrown off, because the romantic development up to this point was pretty much nonexistent.
Honestly, I could go on about why I disliked this book, but I don't think that'd be very nice, since these are my main complaints. But there was just so much about this book that ticked me off. It was rather easy to swallow, though, so reading it wasn't so painful. I do have the sequel, also from Netgalley, and I'll be reading that as well, so look for that review in a week or so. I'm hoping I like that one a bit more. Click here to add it to your goodreads.