Spoiler warning! This is the second book in the Florence Waverley series and may contain spoilers from the first book. Proceed with caution! Or you can read my review of the first book, Florence, right here.
Author: Ciye Cho. Website|Twitter
Published: 1 December 2012
Source: Recieved free review copy from author
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Being the only human in a world of merfolk... isn't easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.
I really enjoyed the first Florence Waverley book so I was excited when the author offered me the chance to read and review the sequel! Luminaire picks up just after Rolan's coronation. Florence is still in Niemela but she's struggling as Rolan becomes more distant and the population is preparing itself for the upcoming Life Path Tournament.
I loved how easy it was to get straight back into the world and I was reminded just how much I enjoyed the really imaginative setting. The descriptions are so vivid and colourful! Niemela has a lot of history and I really liked reading more about some of the legends and discovering more places such as the archives. I think it's great how the book is written in chapters from Florence's perspective, but then adds "interludes" from Rolan's perspective which show what is happening elsewhere. It really makes a difference to the storytelling and keeps the pace spot on.
This book focuses on the Life Path Tournament, where young mer-people in Niemela must try and qualify for the maze where they will face a barrage of obstacles in order to be able to follow their chosen life path. It felt kind of like the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter which is absolutely a compliment! The whole book had that feeling of being a quest for Florence as she tries to overcome everything, not only relating to the tournament but her position in Niemela as well which made me want to keep reading and rooting for her. I liked getting that glimpse into Florence's skills in the first book so it was good to see that built on.
One of my favourite parts Luminaire was the relationship between Rolan and Florence. Rolan has become distant and is pushing Florence away, but it's clear there's more going on there and I really enjoyed their interractions. The two characters bounce really well off each other. As with the first book I enjoyed the friendship between Florence and Yolee and it was really interesting to see that relationship tested slightly as the two of them both try to qualify for the tournament. One of my favourite characters in Luminaire was probably the new character Wynn who was just a really nice guy and added a great dynamic to the group. There are some fantastic villains too with the tournament director and his daughter stirring up trouble for Florence and the gang which made it even more interesting.
The only thing I was hoping for more of was maybe more exploration of the fact Florence is still missing from the human world. She did reflect a lot about her life on the surface but I'd like to see that addressed in the story a bit more.
Luminaire has plenty of action and great characters, all of whom get a chance to shine. It definitely lived up to the first book, in fact I think I enjoyed this one more! I'd definitely recommend this series if you like escaping into another world.
What to read next: Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure by Ciye Cho, book 1 in the Shiewo's Odysesy series
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