Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Luminous by Dawn Metcalf

Tags: YA, POC, magical realism, murder


Consuela led a normal life up until the point she discovers that she can slip off her skin and enter the Flow, a kind of other dimension. Those who can travel through the Flow exist to help save the lives of those in the real world, but Consuela’s arrival in the Flow coincide with the beginning of a string of frightening murders within the Flow. Someone, it seems, is determined to end the Flow, and everyone is a suspect—but the murderer might hold Consuela’s key to returning home.


LUMINOUS was…interesting. Okay, “interesting” might be a tad generous. LUMINOUS is ambitious, and beautifully written, but at times it was a confusing and emotionally distant read for me.

Dawn Metcalf’s writing is astounding, an awe-inspiring combination between the rhythmic hypnotism of freestyle poetry and deliciousness of rich and unusual prose. This is something I feel like I don’t see much of in current YA, that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of, these creative risks with writing style.

The concept of the Flow is very intriguing, and certainly unlike anything I’ve read. True to the whimsy of the writing style, the Flow is never fully explained, or at least is not explained in a way that solidifies its presence and purpose for me. Thus, my head was spinning for a great portion of the book, because I had never fully grasped the concept.

The same goes for the characters. LUMINOUS shifts between multiple characters’ points of view rather arbitrarily, making it so that the identity of the murderer is not long a secret. I would be alright with this, except that I felt like the murderer’s justification for his cold-blooded actions was only partially explored, and existed mostly in circular monologues declaiming his self-importance or the righteousness of his motives. Consuela did not feel as developed as she could’ve been, either. So she has this astounding new talent, and wants very much to return home to her family, but beyond that she did not seem to have much else to make her really “fill out” as a three-dimensional character. My lack of connection to the characters, along with the book’s uneven pacing—I was intrigued at the beginning, and then felt like things were dragging on and on—left me feeling a little “on the outside” of the story.

Still, LUMINOUS packs some powerful and thought-provoking themes, and may be extremely rewarding for the patient reader who likes the supernatural challenge. Check it out if it seems up your alley or if you want something different.

Cover discussion: I like how it's so colorful and eye-catching!

Dutton Juvenile / June 30, 2011 / Hardcover / 304pp. / $17.99

Sent by publisher for blog tour.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going back and forth as to whether I want to read this one. I've read a few reviews similar to yours that say the writing is beautiful but the story leaves something to be desired.

    I really do love the cover, though the girl on the front looks like the girl who plays Santana on the show Glee.


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