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Luminous

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Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king's warlock, Darius, who uses mages' magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn't take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora's childhood friend and the only one who Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king's warlock, Darius, who uses mages' magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn't take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora's childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius's visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to. To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she'll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos--and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him. A witch who must learn to harness her power--or risk losing her loved ones forever.


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Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king's warlock, Darius, who uses mages' magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn't take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora's childhood friend and the only one who Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king's warlock, Darius, who uses mages' magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn't take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora's childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius's visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to. To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she'll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos--and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him. A witch who must learn to harness her power--or risk losing her loved ones forever.

30 review for Luminous

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    this was fine. nothing about it particularly stands out, but there really isnt anything that i disliked about it either. if anything, its some pretty basic storytelling that gets the job done, but doesnt really offer anything more. the magic is there, but the world-building is pretty weak. the romance is there, but i never really believed the chemistry. the villain is there, but he isnt quite the antagonist the story is needing. again, nothing i truly disliked, but there wasnt enough to make me this was fine. nothing about it particularly stands out, but there really isnt anything that i disliked about it either. if anything, its some pretty basic storytelling that gets the job done, but doesnt really offer anything more. the magic is there, but the world-building is pretty weak. the romance is there, but i never really believed the chemistry. the villain is there, but he isnt quite the antagonist the story is needing. again, nothing i truly disliked, but there wasnt enough to make me really like it either. rounding up because it was a fine read in the moment, but i have a feeling i will easily forget this. ↠ 2.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin A. Craig

    I was captivated!

  3. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ↠ 3.14 cawpile | 2 stars ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[persecution for magic & witchcraft (theme), blood depiction, dead body, grief & loss depiction, death of a mother in a fire recounted, knife violence, imprisonment mentioned, blackmail, animal attack, animal hunting, animal death (on-page), animal dead bodies mentioned (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ↠ 3.14 cawpile | 2 stars ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[persecution for magic & witchcraft (theme), blood depiction, dead body, grief & loss depiction, death of a mother in a fire recounted, knife violence, imprisonment mentioned, blackmail, animal attack, animal hunting, animal death (on-page), animal dead bodies mentioned (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helena Paris

    I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Athena of Velaris

    I see a sister story, I click Want to Read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Madison Mary

    "Stars don't just shine, Liora. They burn." Oh man... I really wanted to love this book. The magic system was really fun and there was so much potential but... it fell flat. I love the author's previous duology with my whole heart, but the romance in this novel just didn't hit the same way. It is friends-to-lovers, and I just didn't believe the connection between them. I need more showing than telling. There were also a lot of moments that were very reminiscent of Alina x Darkling between our her "Stars don't just shine, Liora. They burn." Oh man... I really wanted to love this book. The magic system was really fun and there was so much potential but... it fell flat. I love the author's previous duology with my whole heart, but the romance in this novel just didn't hit the same way. It is friends-to-lovers, and I just didn't believe the connection between them. I need more showing than telling. There were also a lot of moments that were very reminiscent of Alina x Darkling between our heroine and the villain character and I couldn't stop comparing it that way. The magic system was wonderful and I love that all the witches had their own type of magic. It was really cool to learn what everyone's powers were and who was keeping secrets. There were a lot of little twists and turns and the magic world within the tapestry was really creepy. I felt like I had been transported there myself. Mara Rutherford exceeds at creating atmospheric stories and connecting you to her heroine. I will still be reading more for Mara, but this one didn't hit. I read an ARC from Inkyard

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is a really fun standalone ya fantasy that was filled with an interesting magic system & it is so easy to read as the plot is very fast paced I loved the family and friendship dynamics in this book especially Lioras relationship she has with her sisters as it just so sweet & she would do anything for them the same way I am with my siblings Liora goes on an amazing journey of self discovery & becomes more and more confident within herself and her powers that I really enjoyed reading about, d This is a really fun standalone ya fantasy that was filled with an interesting magic system & it is so easy to read as the plot is very fast paced I loved the family and friendship dynamics in this book especially Lioras relationship she has with her sisters as it just so sweet & she would do anything for them the same way I am with my siblings Liora goes on an amazing journey of self discovery & becomes more and more confident within herself and her powers that I really enjoyed reading about, definitely recommend to younger ya readers

  8. 5 out of 5

    TimetoFangirl

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Actual Rating = 4.25 This was one of the most enjoyable ARCs I've come across in a while. I actually never read the Crown of Coral and Pearl series, so this was my introduction to Rutherford's writing. I'll definitely be going back and reading her other works now. A quick summary: Our MC, Liora, has magic and is trying to keep it a secret - which is hard because she literally glows in the dark. She's in love with the neighbor boy, I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Actual Rating = 4.25 This was one of the most enjoyable ARCs I've come across in a while. I actually never read the Crown of Coral and Pearl series, so this was my introduction to Rutherford's writing. I'll definitely be going back and reading her other works now. A quick summary: Our MC, Liora, has magic and is trying to keep it a secret - which is hard because she literally glows in the dark. She's in love with the neighbor boy, who's mom is a witch, and she lives with her father and sisters, hiding out from the evil mage-hunting Lord Darius. Shit happens and her youngest sister ends up a quasi-hostage of Darius, she ends up as the neighbor witch's apprentice, and then more shit happens. The Good: I genuinely liked Liora who was maybe a bit more naïve then she should've been, but was also brave and mostly practical. Honestly, she was a breath of fresh air as far as YA Fantasy heroines go, given that she seemed to both 1) think about the situations she was getting into and 2) be aware that she might not understand the true motives of others. Darius is also an engaging antagonistic. I appreciate that Rutherford made him morally grey (though definitely dark grey) without trying to excuse or justify the terrible things he'd done. Hell, Darius didn't even really try to excuse or justify, he just explained his backstory and things made sense. I appreciated the underlying message that someone can be "not totally evil" while still being "not someone you should choose to hang around." The worldbuilding wasn't extensive, but was thorough enough to support the story. I also found the magic system to be interesting and thought the magical creatures were pretty unique. The relationship between family members was well-written and believable, though there was a sort-of-twist thrown in at the end that I didn't really feel needed to be there. It's possible this family revelation was meant to leave a bridge to a sequel, in which case....okay. If this is a standalone though, than I don't see why the author included it. Time will tell. The pacing of this novel was also super solid. Like, I actually stayed up late to read this. Whenever a book can convince me to give up sleep to know what happens next, it's a pretty good book. The Less Than Good (because realistically nothing about this was "bad"): Let's talk about the romance. Liora is in love with Evran, the boy next door, though she's unsure about his feelings. As the reader, his feelings are pretty effing obvious but whatever, nbd. The issue is that Liora's relationship with Darius is so much more compelling. Now, I am NOT saying that Liora and Darius should've gotten together - that would've been toxic AF. But seeing how much chemistry Liora and Darius had on the page made it really hard for me to embrace Liora and Evran's connection. Like, there are clearly people out there she has better chemistry with. There were also a couple of what I call "motivation reveals" - you know, like when one character suddenly learns why another is doing whatever their doing? Well, this book had two of these with one bigger one near the end, and I felt like I missed something. It seemed like Liora's mindset changed completely after she "figured something out" but the knowledge she learned didn't actually matter? It's possibly that maybe I'm just missing something. Overall, I thought this was an excellent YA Fantasy and it pulled me out of a bit of a reading slump. Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Grace Anne

    *Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a fair review.* No no no no no. I really don’t like giving one star reviews, but I truly believe that I just read a poorly written Shadow and Bone fan fiction. Luminous is easily the worst book that I’ve read this year, and I’ll outline why below. Characters Liora, human glowstick, lives in a kingdom where magic is exploited by the evil Lord Darius for his own personal use. Oh, and she is absolutely in love wit *Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a fair review.* No no no no no. I really don’t like giving one star reviews, but I truly believe that I just read a poorly written Shadow and Bone fan fiction. Luminous is easily the worst book that I’ve read this year, and I’ll outline why below. Characters Liora, human glowstick, lives in a kingdom where magic is exploited by the evil Lord Darius for his own personal use. Oh, and she is absolutely in love with her childhood best friend. (Can you see where I am seeing the Shadow and Bone resemblance?) All characters feel flat and one dimensional. Characters constantly tell Liora how special she is and how she has to learn how to brightly shine. The Darkling in Shadow and Bone is actually scary and manipulative, but Lord Darius comes off less like the Darkling and more like Lord Farquaad in Shrek. We are told how horrible and how scary he is (with some attempts at making him seem like he has some kind of internal conflict) but he can’t even keep characters in a hunting party without them basically flipping him off and running off. Random characters are introduced, ignored, and then randomly referenced again later in the book. Setting: Overall, the world building is poor. There are references about stars and how stars are important, and there are falling stars. People have wagons and there was a scene where Liora was scolded for being alone in a house with a boy because it wasn’t proper. This gave off some old timey vibes, but modern words like “collateral” were used that threw me off and didn’t support an old timey setting. It’s also a big free for all with the magic system- everyone’s magic is different. Which is fine, but it added to the lack of world building. Writing *Sigh.* Again, I really don’t like ripping into authors because writing a book isn’t easy, but this book was so frustrating to read because the writing was so poor. There were some beautiful similes sprinkled throughout this book, but as a teacher, I teach my students to “show and not tell” when they write. The author solely relies on telling the reader EVERYTHING. We are told point blank that Liora is in love. We are told that when a character “clenches his fist” that it is in anger instead of just inferencing that someone clenching their fist is probably angry. We are told how terrifying the dark tapestry is instead of really shown. This makes for frustrating reading. Consent: I initially thought that this would be a good middle grade novel, but there is a scene where Liora is grabbed and kissed for the purpose of glowing brighter so her light could be used to see. I do not care that Liora expressed she had been in love with this character; there is nothing romantic about being used by someone with the purposes of achieving a task. I find this scene unsettling and dangerous for children, and I will not include this book in my classroom library for this reason alone. Overall, this book is poorly written and contrived. The plot jumps around, and the characters are all flat. The monsters aren’t scary (bonus points for the centipede squirrel that made me laugh out loud) and neither is the villain. I do not recommend this book to anyone. Just read Shadow and Bone or watch Shrek.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Seaman

    ARC provided by Edelweiss: I will read anything Mara writes. She has a way of storytelling so smoothly. I start her books and before I know it, it’s ending. They never drag or become monotonous. I love the characters in this story. The sisterhood bond, the childhood friendship bond, and of course the ‘cruel’ mage but who may not be that cruel. The magic was fun with everyone’s different powers. The world building wasn’t too detailed to be confusing. It was such an easy read but still had depth. C ARC provided by Edelweiss: I will read anything Mara writes. She has a way of storytelling so smoothly. I start her books and before I know it, it’s ending. They never drag or become monotonous. I love the characters in this story. The sisterhood bond, the childhood friendship bond, and of course the ‘cruel’ mage but who may not be that cruel. The magic was fun with everyone’s different powers. The world building wasn’t too detailed to be confusing. It was such an easy read but still had depth. Content warnings: violence, death of child (more background info)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: Luminous Series: standalone Author: Mara Rutherford Release date: October 5, 2021 Cliffhanger: no Genre: YA fantasy romance The Crown of Coral and Pearl series is one of my favorites fantasy series in the last couple of years, so when I saw this new offering from Mara Rutherford, I jumped at the chance to read it. If you take the fact that I'm a huge fan of this author's writing out of the equation, the synopsis and gorgeous cover would have hooked me alone. Immediate points for originality. A Title: Luminous Series: standalone Author: Mara Rutherford Release date: October 5, 2021 Cliffhanger: no Genre: YA fantasy romance The Crown of Coral and Pearl series is one of my favorites fantasy series in the last couple of years, so when I saw this new offering from Mara Rutherford, I jumped at the chance to read it. If you take the fact that I'm a huge fan of this author's writing out of the equation, the synopsis and gorgeous cover would have hooked me alone. Immediate points for originality. A heroine with luminous skin that has magic that she doesn't know how to harness and must hide from a corrupt, powerful warlock? I was all in. My entire life revolved around my glowing skin and the fear that the kingdom’s most powerful warlock would discover it. Lord Darius was employed by the king himself, gathering mages and torturing them if they didn’t do his bidding. Liora has been laying low with her father and sisters in the small town of Sylvan. Her father once held a high position at court, but left in order to protect her from Darius, the man who controlled the King and uses mages to acquire their power. There is a variety of special abilities by those who have magic such as teleportation, "weaving" things into creation, fire starting, and the ability to see in the darkness. However, there didn't seem to be an actual magic system as mainly we were just told that some inherently had magic and some didn't. The magic needed to be activated somehow and everybody's abilities were varying degrees in strength. There wasn't a complicated list of rules or an elaborate backstory to how the magic in the world came to be. So if you are a reader who likes simple fantasy without all of these things this could be the perfect book for you. For me personally, I would have appreciated some more detail. It didn't have to be intricate world building, just enough to bring me more firmly inside the story. Liora has been sheltered from the world by her father for a long time, so she is a bit naive at times, but you can't fault her bravery. She frequently disregards her own safety in order to protect her loved ones. Whether it's her best friend Evran or her sister Mina, she puts herself in harms way in life or death situations in order to try to save them. However, because of being sheltered, she often seems a tad reckless in her actions. She has absolutely no knowledge of what she is capable of magically because she thinks she is a danger to other people and doesn't try to learn. But secretly...she wishes to see more outside of the four walls of her home. To explore the side of herself that must always be kept hidden, to understand herself completely. After she begins working for Evran's mother the weaver, she discovers that those closest to her have been keeping more secrets than she could have imagined. Is she strong enough to set to rights what Lord Darius has set in motion without destroying her only chance of happiness with the boy who holds her heart? Through Margana, I was beginning to see how magic could be a force of creation and destruction, of good and evil. This was an original fantasy and it was easy to immerse myself in, but there was something missing for me in the heroine. I tried to put my finger on where she felt lacking and I felt that it was almost as if she was a secondary character in her own book. It's not that I disliked her, but she failed to make me feel much concern over her situation or even anticipation for the romance subplot. As well, the ending was a little dissatisfying because it ended quite abruptly without showing the resolution to a twist that occurred in the final chapters. If you're looking for a fantasy standalone that's very straightforward without a complex magic system, this could be the book you're looking for. This wasn't my favorite by this author, but as always I loved her writing style and look forward to seeing what she has to offer next. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura Mauro

    * I got this book for review from the publisher* I really thought this was such a fun take on witch story. It gave me massive vibes of both shadow and bone but also the princess will save this time. I also loved the main romance in this read. It def explores my fav love troupe and it was def one of my favorites. I also loved how this book did have both magic element but was also very focused on the potlics of the world. I will def check out book two, the romance def captures me and i was suprised * I got this book for review from the publisher* I really thought this was such a fun take on witch story. It gave me massive vibes of both shadow and bone but also the princess will save this time. I also loved the main romance in this read. It def explores my fav love troupe and it was def one of my favorites. I also loved how this book did have both magic element but was also very focused on the potlics of the world. I will def check out book two, the romance def captures me and i was suprised by the cliffhanger. I def want to read this authors first series as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Beautiful cover that as soon as I saw it I knew I want to read it . Plus the author is another new to me author which is great because I don't read a lot of ya fantasy . But what really got me to like the story besides the cover was the family bond , the word building , the different types of magic, and a evil powerful mage, not only is there all that but there is a bit of romance , secrets that needs to come out, good vs evil , and it some how makes the story flow together perfectly. Beautiful cover that as soon as I saw it I knew I want to read it . Plus the author is another new to me author which is great because I don't read a lot of ya fantasy . But what really got me to like the story besides the cover was the family bond , the word building , the different types of magic, and a evil powerful mage, not only is there all that but there is a bit of romance , secrets that needs to come out, good vs evil , and it some how makes the story flow together perfectly.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dill Werner

    I was lucky enough to be a sensitivity reader for this enchanting book! The magic, the adventure, the drama, the artistry! It's a lovely combination that makes for a thrilling tale. I was lucky enough to be a sensitivity reader for this enchanting book! The magic, the adventure, the drama, the artistry! It's a lovely combination that makes for a thrilling tale.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Big thanks to Netgalley, Mara Rutherford, and Inkyard Press for the ARC in exchange for a review. Liora, a young woman who has been all but hidden away from her community by her father and sisters because of her glowing skin, is a mage. She possesses magic. And possessing magic gets you killed or kidnapped. By chance, another mage working under the thumb of Darius, the kings right hand, discovers what Liora is. Darius, a powerful mage, is set to destroy or force into servitude every other mage al Big thanks to Netgalley, Mara Rutherford, and Inkyard Press for the ARC in exchange for a review. Liora, a young woman who has been all but hidden away from her community by her father and sisters because of her glowing skin, is a mage. She possesses magic. And possessing magic gets you killed or kidnapped. By chance, another mage working under the thumb of Darius, the kings right hand, discovers what Liora is. Darius, a powerful mage, is set to destroy or force into servitude every other mage alive. Until he meets Liora. She is a shining star to his deep well of darkness. The storyline is VERY similar to Shadow and Bone, with a few slight differences. Overall, I really liked it and it following a similar structure didn't take away from the story at all. This is very much a YA, coming of age (or at least coming into one's self) story with very little romance. There's a couple of kisses, that's it. I'm giving 5 stars, but more like 4.5 cause the originality is a bit lacking, especially since Shadow and Bone is now on TV and the comparisons are pretty close.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Liora is a witch who must keep her powers secret because of a cruel mage who kidnaps those with powers to make them work for the king. This mage, Darius, is actually holding the king under his powers and is the one in control of the whole kingdom. When a cruel plot is uncovered Liora and her friends must try to stop Darius. I loved this book. There are a lot of twists and turns, a slight bit of romance, magical monsters, sinister plots and more. Author, Mara Rutherford, creates the perfect formul Liora is a witch who must keep her powers secret because of a cruel mage who kidnaps those with powers to make them work for the king. This mage, Darius, is actually holding the king under his powers and is the one in control of the whole kingdom. When a cruel plot is uncovered Liora and her friends must try to stop Darius. I loved this book. There are a lot of twists and turns, a slight bit of romance, magical monsters, sinister plots and more. Author, Mara Rutherford, creates the perfect formula for a page-turner of a book. *I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan Babin

    This book was so mesmerizing and captivating! I had lots of fun reading Luminous and I really wanted to read it so being given the opportunity though Netgalley was a real treat. I've read books by Mara in the past and I knew this like many of her books would be exquisite. Luminous is definitely a brilliant sparkly gem and must-read for fans of fantasy! This book was so mesmerizing and captivating! I had lots of fun reading Luminous and I really wanted to read it so being given the opportunity though Netgalley was a real treat. I've read books by Mara in the past and I knew this like many of her books would be exquisite. Luminous is definitely a brilliant sparkly gem and must-read for fans of fantasy!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    friends to lovers supremacy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hoang

    First, a cover check. I LOVE this cover. Let’s be honest. We’re all shallow people. A pretty cover draws our eyes, then the author’s name. Anyway, this book was fantastic. The MC, Liora, has been hidden away by her family due to her powers. She’s a mage and literally has glowing skin. Which is not great if you live in an area that hunts down anyone with magical abilities. Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a story if Liora stayed hidden the entire time. Her powers are discovered and with a vil First, a cover check. I LOVE this cover. Let’s be honest. We’re all shallow people. A pretty cover draws our eyes, then the author’s name. Anyway, this book was fantastic. The MC, Liora, has been hidden away by her family due to her powers. She’s a mage and literally has glowing skin. Which is not great if you live in an area that hunts down anyone with magical abilities. Of course, there wouldn’t be much of a story if Liora stayed hidden the entire time. Her powers are discovered and with a villain’s flair, Darius, mage to the king, threatens her younger sister’s safety. In an effort to save her sister, Liora embraces her abilities and discovers the depth of her powers. This kinda gave me Shadow and Bones vibes, in terms of an oppressed and abused minority of people. Case in point, Darius is a mage that works for the king but fosters a goal to liberate other mages from servitude and other situations. Much like the Darkling, wouldn’t you say? There are other slight similarities, but Luminous is an original in its own way. This book was a little bit of everything. It’s a coming-of-age story, with a teeny bit of romance and fantastical elements. Overall, it was a good read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Books0507_Ashley

    Luminous is a story about a young girl who has suppressed her magic all her life, when her family and best friends life's get put in danger she must discover how to use and control her powers. I enjoyed the story and the characters in this one, I just wish it had been a little more fast paced, there were a lot of parts I thought seemed to go on for a little bit too long. I did like the magic abilities even though we didn't get too much info or world building as I would have liked. I enjoyed the Luminous is a story about a young girl who has suppressed her magic all her life, when her family and best friends life's get put in danger she must discover how to use and control her powers. I enjoyed the story and the characters in this one, I just wish it had been a little more fast paced, there were a lot of parts I thought seemed to go on for a little bit too long. I did like the magic abilities even though we didn't get too much info or world building as I would have liked. I enjoyed the villain, I think he and Liora could have had some great chemistry, but this was a friends to lovers not an enemies to lovers. Which is ok I did enjoy the romance parts. Overall was a great quick read that I enjoyed. Thanks to Harper 360 for a proof of this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Dickey

    I am putting this down for now but I read enough that I'm gonna give it a 3.5! The world was easy to follow ad I did like the characters, I just didn't feel invested and at about 75% in I just didn't feel like that meant I should continue. I am putting this down for now but I read enough that I'm gonna give it a 3.5! The world was easy to follow ad I did like the characters, I just didn't feel invested and at about 75% in I just didn't feel like that meant I should continue.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This eARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In the kingdom of Antalla, anyone with magic is hunted down by the king’s warlock, Darius, and used to make him and the kingdom more powerful. Liora, whose magic was sparked by a fallen star, has been in hiding her entire life to protect herself and her family from Darius. However, when Darius realizes she has magic, he takes Liora’s little sister to capital to ensure Liora will do whatever he wants. With the This eARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In the kingdom of Antalla, anyone with magic is hunted down by the king’s warlock, Darius, and used to make him and the kingdom more powerful. Liora, whose magic was sparked by a fallen star, has been in hiding her entire life to protect herself and her family from Darius. However, when Darius realizes she has magic, he takes Liora’s little sister to capital to ensure Liora will do whatever he wants. With the help of Evran, the one person she trusts the most outside of her family, she has to stop Darius from turning their world into the darkness he craves. Mara Rutherford’s writing is so beautiful and fluid that reading any of her novels is a joy. It gives me such a sense of happy satisfaction when I finish one of her books and this one is no different. The magic in this world is so unique with almost every person showing a special set of skills. Liora has the magic of a fallen star and has to learn to not only embrace, but control her magic throughout the novel. The growth she shows throughout this book is stunning and by the end she is a strong, confident women ready to start her own journey. There are two things that Mara Rutherford does particularly well in her novels- genuine relationships between sisters and a complicated antagonist. Liora and her sisters love each other so much and would do anything for their family even if they don’t always get along. The support they provide one another is delightful to see and they truly just wish happiness for each other. Darius is actually one of my favorite parts of this novel. He has such a devastating past that makes you understand his actions even though you don’t agree with them. Mara draws a parallel between Liora and Darius and shows what Liora could be like without her family and Evran helping her to control and respect her powers. Darius is still a horrible person but seeing him through Liora’s eyes makes you feel sympathetic to what he has experienced and the person he has become as a result. I couldn’t put this book down and it was such a fast read, perfect for being transported to a magical fairytale for an afternoon. The writing is gorgeous and the world Rutherford built is captivating. Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for the opportunity to read another great novel by Mara Rutherford.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Stone

    Book: Luminous Author: Mara Rutherford Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for sending me an ARC. I love Mara’s work and when I was offered this one by the publisher, I knew I had to pick it up. Mara writes YA fantasy. While a lot of elements in her books are rather cliché, there is just something about them that makes me enjoy them and keep reading. Luminous was no different. The idea of having a main character with magic and having to hide from the world Book: Luminous Author: Mara Rutherford Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars I would like to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for sending me an ARC. I love Mara’s work and when I was offered this one by the publisher, I knew I had to pick it up. Mara writes YA fantasy. While a lot of elements in her books are rather cliché, there is just something about them that makes me enjoy them and keep reading. Luminous was no different. The idea of having a main character with magic and having to hide from the world because she could be taken never gets old. You see in this world, those with magic are taken by Lord Darius, a powerful mage, to do his bidding and once he has taken you, there is no going back to your old life. This alone is enough of a hook for me. The way that the overall story is presented is really what makes this book. We start out with what just seems like is going to be another good versus evil story. However, the more I read of it, the more I realized there was to it. We start out by following three sisters, whose bond has deepened because of their mother’s death. Liora has magic, which allows her skin to grow. She had been kept hidden her entire life because her father fears she will be taken. This means that she has also been taught to fear her own magic. This, of course, gets her into trouble. Her family is rather tight knit and through a series of events, her younger sister, Mina, finds herself being taken to the castle by Lord Darius. This sets off a whole quest to save Mina from the castle. We see Liora, who has never left her small village, take these chances in order to save someone she loves very much. The bond between the sisters drives the book. Without this event happening, what goes on later in the book would not have happened and it would not have worked so well. Not only do we have the bonds between the sisters, we have the bond between Liora and Evran. Evran is the only one outside of her family who knows that Liora has magic. Despite knowing this, they develop a deep friendship. Seeing their friendship and what they will do for each other pulled at me. These two will and do risk life and death for each other. We see them go, literally, into the unknown to save each other. They share their fear-the fear of being a monster. It is through each other that they learn that they are not monsters and should truly embrace who they are. I’m kind of paraphrasing this because of spoilers. Seeing them grow and form bonds with other characters is just great. What makes all of this work? Well, it’s the writing style. Mara writes in a simple, yet captivating way. She has the gift of hooking you right from the start with a world and magic system that isn’t all that common. We see her turn everyday objects into something magical and sometimes on the terrifying side. Her stories and writing aren’t super dark, but they do manage to capture the fantasy aspects that we need in order to make the story work. I think this comes from having just the right amount of balance between details and keeping the plot moving. A lot of times fantasy has this rather nasty tendency to get blogged down in the details and make the reader feel a little overwhelmed. This isn’t the case here. We have a captivating world that is pretty much contained in one book. I mean, the book is pretty solid as a standalone-I’m not actually sure if there is going to be a second book. With all of this being said, I will admit that this one does read and feel a little on the younger side of young adult. If you are looking for a more mature feel in a YA fantasy, then this may not be the book for you. If you are looking for a transition book from middle grade to YA, then not only this book, but this author, may be a good starting place. This book comes out on October 5, 2021. Youtube: https://youtu.be/JjgQKYDydls

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I wanted to like this so much more. First off, the cover pulls you in because it's gorgeous. The story starts off with some decent world building, but it's difficult to determine what time period we're supposed to be in. I realize this is a fully made-up world, but there's some confusing anachronisms that feel just thrown in and mixed about. The characters fell somewhat flat for me. The most expressive (and therefore easiest to understand) character was effectively placed off screen for a good p I wanted to like this so much more. First off, the cover pulls you in because it's gorgeous. The story starts off with some decent world building, but it's difficult to determine what time period we're supposed to be in. I realize this is a fully made-up world, but there's some confusing anachronisms that feel just thrown in and mixed about. The characters fell somewhat flat for me. The most expressive (and therefore easiest to understand) character was effectively placed off screen for a good portion of the book. The main character's inner dialogue felt utterly repetitive and made it difficult to actually like here. The villain was like a watered down version of the Darkling from the Shadow and Bone trilogy. (There are actually a lot of comparisons to be drawn to that series.) The magic system was underdeveloped and underwhelming. The descriptions of powers was minimal and not fully fleshed out. Finally, the actual plot was just a boring romp through the woods to look for ambiguously dangerous creatures. I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, courtesy of Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    Mara Rutherford has created a captivating book. The story is set at a good pace and the characters are well balanced. I really enjoy the relationships between the characters and how they work together. I love the magic in this book but wish there was a little more world building and history of the magic. Overall it was a light read and while I wasn’t blown away, I definitely enjoyed it. Thanks to NetGalley and the Inkyard Press for the ARC

  26. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    This was a super fast read with tons of action and adventure, romance, and big decisions for young people to make that wraps it all up within less than 400 pages. It's got powerful mages, creepy monsters, the balance between good and evil, and big conversations about being a young person. It was so fast that I read this within a few days without stopping much to come up for air. There was so much packed between the two covers that I was surprised this was a standalone story. And honestly, as much This was a super fast read with tons of action and adventure, romance, and big decisions for young people to make that wraps it all up within less than 400 pages. It's got powerful mages, creepy monsters, the balance between good and evil, and big conversations about being a young person. It was so fast that I read this within a few days without stopping much to come up for air. There was so much packed between the two covers that I was surprised this was a standalone story. And honestly, as much as I want to read more standalone fantasy books, I kind of wish this was longer and maybe spread itself out into a duology. There is so much that this book shares that if it had the space to get into it, I think it would have been even better. But because it was a standalone, I felt like much of it was skipped over or truncated to fit into the running time. I'm honestly disappointed that this is only a standalone because a bigger series, even a duology, would have answered all the questions more fully, given it room to really breathe, and make you truly fall in love with all the different characters. The potential is there and it really drove me to keep reading, but it needed the space to be fully actualized and be so much more robust. Much of this story feels like it's about Lorial removing the veil of ignorance from herself to understand her magical power, how it works, and how she's been hidden away from what should be a natural thing for her. While there were components outside of this to draw readers into the book like the Lusiri, the magical abyss Margana creates, the fact that some of the royal family was woven into life, the abuse of the mages under Darius's rule, and the political intrigue Darius is involved with, it all stems back to Lorial and what she's going through and feeling. All these points were such a draw to the book as a bigger whole, but it all wrapped up so suddenly. It almost felt like the rest of the story was just a maguffin for the real story; a young girl who's been sheltered her entire life finding out the truth behind her magic, her family, and taking hold of what she can do. And in many ways, it makes the story more of a coming-of-age story amidst a fantasy book. Honestly, this could have been a contemporary YA roamnce story with the way it read. It was more focused on Evran and Lorial and I don't have any problems with that, but I wanted the other parts to have the same kind of attention this couple got. I also really loved the other characters introduced in the story and would have loved to have them contributed more to the story. However, I didn't think that it harmed the story that they weren't as bigger parts. A lot of the relationship between Lorial, Darius, and Evran felt so much like Alina, Mal, and The Darkling from Shadow and Bone. I know that will be a huge draw for folks who loved the show and the books and I really loved the romantic parts to the book, but again, I really wanted more. I was also confused by Darius's motives. Earlier when I was reading, I thought that maybe he's being manipulative to try and get what he wanted. This was also before I learned that this is a standalone series, so then when I finally learned Darius's motives and how villainous he is, I was even more confused. I kept thinking that this was all some bigger plot, but it didn't turn out that way. I just finished reading that part with a big "huh." The other part that I wasn't a huge fan of is Lorial's "Mary Sue" abilities. It didn't take too much away from the story from me, but it's truly hard to believe that someone who's only learning about her powers has more abilities than someone who's been training for over 100 years. It kind of makes you stop and think how possible that can be and that always ends up being what I think about over reading the story. Overall, this was a good one and I really loved how quick of a book it was. I loved the usage of magic and the adventures Lorial goes on. I even loved the romance between her and Evran and seeing Lorial gain so much pride and confidence while she journeys to find herself. But there were too many flaws for me to overlook despite how much I loved the world and wanted to get into it more. It definitely had the potential to be great, but it just missed the mark for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    "You were your own light in the darkness. You just needed to believe in yourself."-Evran Thank you to NetGalley, Inkyard Press, and Mara Rutherford for the opportunity to not only read Luminous in exchange for an honest review, but to be a part of the blog tour as well. In the kingdom of Antalla, those who have the gift of witchcraft are hunted and used by the king's personal warlock, Darius. In the small village of Sylvan, Liora must keep her light a secret. She glows, emanating a soft light. Whi "You were your own light in the darkness. You just needed to believe in yourself."-Evran Thank you to NetGalley, Inkyard Press, and Mara Rutherford for the opportunity to not only read Luminous in exchange for an honest review, but to be a part of the blog tour as well. In the kingdom of Antalla, those who have the gift of witchcraft are hunted and used by the king's personal warlock, Darius. In the small village of Sylvan, Liora must keep her light a secret. She glows, emanating a soft light. While she doesn't know the extent of her power, her father and sister both know she needs to be kept a secret or Darius will come claim her. A witch who lives nearby, Margana, takes Liora on as an apprentice just so Darius cannot claim her when he appears on one of his witch hunts. Instead, he takes Liora's younger sister, Mina, mostly as collateral, knowing he will get the chance to use Liora...eventually. But what could her power be and why is he so obsessed with touching her? Meanwhile, Liora tries to keep her relationship with Margana's son, Evran, strong.  Liora learns about Margana's weaving magic: she can create animals, people, and even places out of woven threads. She has been under Darius' watchful eye for 20 years, making a tapestry of darkness, a place to banish people and keep the creatures of old: the Lusiri. Lusiri are mythical dark magic creatures that suck the lives out of living things and create voids into the darkness. When Darius pushes Evran through the tapestry (because Margana isn't following through with her end of the deal), Liora is the only one who can go in and save him because her light is the only thing that can shatter the darkness inside the world of the tapestry. She may save Evran, but in the process, two Lusiri escape. Darius, Evran, and Liora (among others) must hunt down the Lusiri and get them in check before they frighten and unsettle too many people. What Darius doesn't know is that Liora can see the voids left behind from where the Lusiri feed. These voids are the very darkness that Darius wants, and if he finds out that the Lusiri can make the whole world like the tapestry he commissioned....well, he can't find out. Liora must stop the Lusiri and keep their voids hidden from Darius. The lives of her family, Evran's mother, and all witches are on the line. It's up to a witch touched by a falling star to save the world. I love that this book is a stand-alone. It felt like a more medieval magic realism and had a nice blend of magic with reality. The story is wholesome, with a great wrap-up, and there's a nice touch of romance. The character interactions are intriguing and the progression of the story, along with the unique mythical creatures, the Lusiri, was a great way to add a bit of darkness to contrast the main character's light.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    I received a physical arc of this novel via Harper360YA for review. Luminous follows Liora, a young woman with repressed magic, hiding within her home - her outings limited to sneaking out to meet the boy next door, and the occasional trip to town - so no one discovers her secret: she's a witch. If anyone were to find out, it could mean death or servitude for her by the hand of the King's warlock, Darius, who absorbs magic of other witches/warlocks, or employs them in his service to do his biddin I received a physical arc of this novel via Harper360YA for review. Luminous follows Liora, a young woman with repressed magic, hiding within her home - her outings limited to sneaking out to meet the boy next door, and the occasional trip to town - so no one discovers her secret: she's a witch. If anyone were to find out, it could mean death or servitude for her by the hand of the King's warlock, Darius, who absorbs magic of other witches/warlocks, or employs them in his service to do his bidding. Alas, Darius does find out, and Liora's younger sister pays the price - she is taken away to the castle, used as a means to keep Liora in line, especially after she damages a 20 year artifact in the making and has to go on a hunt for the very beings that escaped it/make the repairing of it - the tapestry - replaceable. And what an interesting concept this was! I enjoyed the mystery of Liora's magic and her past. Liroa's journey was really about embracing herself, her fear, and her magic. It was a tale of self-discovery and empowerment. Too long had Liora felt like she had to hide who she was, ashamed of herself, and ashamed of what others felt about her. I feel like she had a nice character arc in learning about her magic, how it came to be, and accepting it. I enjoyed seeing some of the other characters magical abilities too - weaving things to life, mind reading, transporting, etc. Sadly, this was about all I enjoyed. While I did like the magic, it was so brushed over and I wish we got more. A lot of this book felt as if 'okay, let's move on to the next plot point' without letting any of the characters originally grow, or the plot unfold. This novel tried to set high stakes - like the possibility of the sister dying, or the world being devoured - but it was a let down, because I just wasn't invested in the characters or their relationships. There was no chemistry - not just with the romantic pairing - but between any of these characters. The most chemistry I felt was between Liora and Darius,t he villain - now that's not a ship I wanted to see endgame, but out of all the relationship dynamics that was the most interesting. And Darius was one of the most interesting characters too, even if his story/ending fell flat. Overall, I think that's how I'd describe this novel, as 'falling flat'. It set up a lot of high expectations, high stakes only to just . . . go nowhere, or execute it poorly. With that said, if the author did write a sequel I would pick it up, only to see if she could improve upon the worldbuilding and fleshing out of the characters with a second novel.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    Is anyone else super excited for another Mara Rutherford novel? I first fell in love with her writing in Crown of Coral and Pearl, and here we are with a new world! Luminous is a new young adult novel, one that portrays a different world full of magic. Ever since she was little, Liora was forced to hide. She hid from the world what made her so unique – her glow. Literally, her family feared what would happen to her if the king's warlock learned of her gift, which feels more like a curse. When t Is anyone else super excited for another Mara Rutherford novel? I first fell in love with her writing in Crown of Coral and Pearl, and here we are with a new world! Luminous is a new young adult novel, one that portrays a different world full of magic. Ever since she was little, Liora was forced to hide. She hid from the world what made her so unique – her glow. Literally, her family feared what would happen to her if the king's warlock learned of her gift, which feels more like a curse. When the whole world is turned upon its head, Liora must learn to embrace the magic deep within and find a way to save the day. Yet this will not be an easy or comfortable journey for her. Thankfully, she has allies to lend a hand. "You were your own light in the darkness. You just needed to believe in yourself." I honestly didn't know what to expect from Luminous. Thanks to the previous works I've read by Mara Rutherford, I knew that it would include an imaginative world with magic and lore. What I didn't know was how the main plot would evolve. I will say that I was blown away by Luminous. It was absolutely a fun adventure worth reading, one that I thoroughly enjoyed. This was one of those books that was easy to picture an adaptation for. The characters and scenarios lend themselves so well to the big (or little) screen. My one complaint about Luminous, if you can call it, is that many character relationships felt a little shallow. This is especially true earlier in the book. Many relationships were told, as opposed to shown, that sort of thing. It does get better with time, so I'm willing to be generous on this count. Overall, I enjoyed Luminous. Part of me is sad that it is a standalone novel. I enjoyed the world (that I saw) and would have liked to see more of it. The rest of me is happy that the story ended at the right time, with a proper ending. Thanks to Inkyard Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Read more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  30. 5 out of 5

    Blue

    Want to see more... Bookstagram Website I absolutely adored the Crown of Coral and Pearl series, it was spectacular and honestly one of the most divine thing I ever did read! I adore Rutherford’s writing, her world buildings are exquisite, her characters are bold and delightful and her stories really touch your soul! So when Luminous popped up, I instantly know that this would be another beautiful tale that I won’t forget Giving you the bare bones of this beastie: Liora, our leading lady, has mag Want to see more... Bookstagram Website I absolutely adored the Crown of Coral and Pearl series, it was spectacular and honestly one of the most divine thing I ever did read! I adore Rutherford’s writing, her world buildings are exquisite, her characters are bold and delightful and her stories really touch your soul! So when Luminous popped up, I instantly know that this would be another beautiful tale that I won’t forget Giving you the bare bones of this beastie: Liora, our leading lady, has magic abilities that she is trying to keep a secret, which is hard since she literally glows in the dark. Living with her family, Liora is hiding out from the evil mage- hunter Lord Darius. The magic system in this book was absolutely gorgeous and very unique and that followed across to the magical creatures as well. With the amount of books I chew through and specially those of the YA or Fantasy element, finding a unique magic system is one of the best joys a book can bring! Always got to look for something different and something new and fascinating! The relationship between all the characters was convincing, authentic, and pure. The need to fight and protect those around that you love builds such an intense family dynamic that I love! Overall, I know I couldn’t and wouldn’t rate this book any less than 5 stars. It’s honestly refreshing and truly amazing!

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