Lumiere is the first book in the young adult The Illumination Paradox series by Jacqueline E. Garlick. Seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth has only one hope left: finding her late father’s most prized invention, the Illuminator. It’s been missing since the day of the mysterious flash—a day that saw the sun wiped out forever over England. But living in darkness is nothing new to Eyelet. She’s hidden her secret affliction all of her life—a life that would be in danger if superstitious townspeople ever guessed the truth. And after her mother is accused and executed for a crime that she didn’t commit, the now-orphaned Eyelet has no choice but to track down the machine that was created with the sole purpose of being her cure. Alone and on the run, she finally discovers the Illuminator—only to see a young man hauling it off. Determined to follow the thief and recover the machine, she ventures into the deepest, darkest, most dangerous part of her twisted world. That is when her real adventure begins.
Lumiere has a great premise and interesting start. It follows the search for a machine created for curing and helping people twisted and corrupted for the use to kill and gain power. However, it is more about the people searching for the machine than the machine itself. Eyelet is on a razors edge, she has lost her mother and father, and is in danger of losing her hope, and her own life. She meets others with their own secrets and troubles. Urlick has big secrets of his own, and spends most of his time either tinkering or protecting those he has in his care. I liked that underdogs group together, not necessarily on purpose, in order to be safe and fulfill their goals even when they think they are at cross purposes.
Since this is the first book in a series, there is a good amount of character and world building. It was done at a good pace for the most part, but I will admit to having stalled out on my enthusiasm about two thirds of the way through the book. I liked the characters, liked the premise and steam punk feel, but feel like a few of the crises towards the end dragged the book out rather than adding to the drama. There were certainly a few unexpected twists, and I was happy with the shifts and changes to my understanding of the characters and world as they came. However, the ending left me a little unsatisfied as it left readers on the edge wondering if our main characters would find each other again and what happened to some of the secondary characters.
Lumiere is a good start to a series, although I think it lost a little steam in trying to cover too much ground and do too much. The characters, danger, and puzzles were all good. However, I feel like the sheer volume of them got to be a little overwhelming.