{Review} LUMINOSITY by Stephanie Thomas

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:
At night, my room illuminates with an indescribable brilliance. The glow of a million City lights pours into the small space officially referred to as Bunk 34A. It’s not a large bunk by any means—just enough space to harbor a twin bed tucked under an overhead compartment of drawers where I keep my jumpsuits and robes. Stacked in squares of black, it is hard to tell which article of clothing is which without touching them. Sometimes, it feels the same way in the Institution—you don’t know one thing from the other, no matter how long you try to figure it out. The Institution is all about uniformity. Nothing has changed here in years.
I have a small desk where I finish my class work. Stacked books form little towers on the surface, mimicking the tall buildings just outside my window. Some books are about learning to survive in conditions that aren’t ideal. Some are about our enemy, and others are about the history of the Seers and our gift. There’s always something to be learned here.
My reflection stares back at me, and I try to peer through it and the tinted glass panel. I trace the image of the black raven’s wings, one tattooed over each of my eyes. The wings are spread and ready for flight. These mark the maturation of my Visions. They are a rite of passage, a signal to everyone that I am truly gifted with the Sight. Most of us earn our raven’s wings by the time we are teenagers, but there are still those who take a little longer to understand the images that come to us. It’s not easy to decipher or pick out what is truth inside our minds.
(Page 9, US e-ARC edition)

Imagine a world where you're special because of your abilities, and raised believing you're doing something good.  In LUMINOSITY, Seers are taken from their families upon discovery and raised in the Institution.  They're trained in their Visions, and, once they're able to see clearly, tattooed with a raven's wings to mark themselves as true Seers.  Beatrice is one of the most accomplished Seers in the Institution despite her youth, and sees more clearly into the future.  Her Visions almost always come true, and she's been seeing horrific visions of war as of late.  The Institution puts in more measures of protection, upping the way it trains to the point where training results in a Kill or Be Killed environment...for real this time.  Beatrice is conflicted about such sessions, but afraid to say anything and be reprimanded.  She also keeps quiet about the fact that one of the Institution's enemies, a Dreamcatcher named Echo, has been entering her dreams at night and telling her disturbing things about what's to come.  What's real and what's a dream?  Which Seers are having Visions of a truthful future, and which ones aren't clear enough to be right?  who does Beatrice believe in this world of lies, half-truths, and whispers of potential futures?

Fans of dystopian novels looking for something outside the normal crop of offerings might want to take a look at Stephanie Thomas' debut novel LUMINOSITY.  While there's still a controlling government keeping dark secrets, there's also the element of fantasy in that there are Seers who can see the future and Dreamcatchers who look into the past.  The world of LUMINOSITY is different to the dystopian genre in a manner that reminds me of the way Gennifer Albin's CREWEL is unique to it, with a world built on a foundation that's new to us.  It also helps that in both worlds, those "imprisoned" are treated as the cream of the crop, the best of the best.

LUMINOSITY also bears more grittiness than most dystopians.  A lot of books get compared to Suzanne Collins Hunger Games Trilogy these days just because it's the "hot book," but most don't share the grittiness.  That isn't to say it's a rip-off, either, because that's not what I'm trying to say.  Mostly, I'm reminded of MOCKINGJAY in the way there's a death toll and more violence than what's seen in most dystopians.  The age of the characters reminds me of THE HUNGER GAMES itself, where kids are trained to be killers, though this isn't exclusively limited to children as in THG, but training for a war between Seers and Dreamcatchers.  The arena is a training ground, not Death Row, and the Seers must kill convicts, not one another.  This also is just a small part to the fabric of the story, not the centerpiece.  These are just small similarities that showcase the book's grit and the way it actually can be more closely compared to the "it" book than most in the genre.

There's also the potential for a love triangle in future books.  At the moment, it's slanted toward a fellow Seer, Gabe, Beatrice's best friend at the Institution.  He protects her fiercely, and the two of them grew up together and always look out for one another.  On the other hand, there's potential for more with Echo, the Dreamcatcher who finds his way to Beatrice in her dreams at night with promises of saving them both despite the impending war.

There is so much more to come in future books; we've only scratched the surface at the mythos of what it means to be a Seer or a Dreamcatcher.  What actually happened in the past, and what's coming in the future?  I predict more darkness and grit in this series before society can repair itself.  If you're looking for a unique society amongst the glut of dystopian out there, take a closer look at the world of LUMINOSITY.

Reviews of similar books mentioned that you may also enjoy:

CREWEL by Gennifer Albin
C O V E R   D E S I G N:
I always like when the details on a cover are right, and not just there to look pretty.  From page one, readers discover that the markings around the model's eyes on the cover of LUMINOSITY represent the raven's wing tattoo that ever Seer is given upon fully coming into his or her Visions.  It's not just a swirly marking there to look pretty like we see on so many covers these days.
I also like that there's a city skyline in the background, which is common on dystopian covers this day, making it easy to pinpoint the novel's genre.  Even the smoke or cloud or whatever it is over the city looks like a raven's wings, which is pretty intriguing to me! 
I also like the font used for the title; the "O," situated in the center of the word, especially draws me in!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Stephanie Thomas

Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Received: For Review

My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight, an ability to see into the future. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution, where all Seers are raised and trained. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning the mark of the raven’s wings tattooed by my eyes. And when I turned seventeen, one of my Visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.

The Institution now depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemies, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m keeping a secret from everyone. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me…


  1. Great review, and awesome blog! Just followed you :)

    J.H. Myn

    1. Thank you so much! I look forward to chatting with you! :)


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