reviews

The Last Lumenian by S.G. Blaise - SPFBO8 book review

Write on: Fri, 03 Jun 2022 by  in SPFBO 8 Read 610

*I was assigned this book for phase 1 of SPFBO 8 *

The Last Lumenian is several things - first, it is a story of courage and triumph. You can’t help but root for the main character, Lilla. Second, it is a story of friendship, especially friendship that crosses cultures, genders, and age. Lilla’s commitment to her friends, and vice versa, is one of the strongest themes of this book. And third, it is a story that blends genres and incorporates much-loved tropes from both science fiction and fantasy. You have magic and technology merging together. 

 

This book follows the story of Lilla, a princess of the world Uhna, who for the most part does exactly as she pleases. She is strong-willed, and it often gets her into trouble. The opening chapters of the book focus on her involvement with a rebellion, started because of the poor treatment of refugees from a far off war. The rebellion as a plot point didn’t make much sense to me. While on the one hand, Lilla’s protesting the treatment of the refugees is endearing, on the other hand, the rebellion was poorly organized, and she wasn’t the only “high society” member to join. It was hard to believe from the outset that she was able to keep her involvement a secret. Wouldn’t people wonder where she was all the time? Wouldn’t royal guards be tasked with her protection, and it would give her away? Why was the rebellion’s leader (an interesting three-eyed character) willing to entrust secret missions to a princess? The answers to these questions, and others, were unsatisfactory (in my opinion). 

 

Lilla is a Lumenian, someone who is able to control large amounts of magic. The magic system was a bit complicated, and I never fully got my head around it and how it worked. I think the idea itself was interesting, but the way it played out was confusing. And it was very convenient at times, where when certain circumstances came up, magic and how it worked happened to solve those problems. It lowered the stakes, and made problem-solving a bit too easy. But that’s the trick with creating magic systems, right? How to make them not too powerful, but also not irrelevant. Or, I’m just an idiot and couldn’t figure it out. That’s entirely possible. 

 

The worldbuilding is well done. The world of Uhna is interesting and immersive. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the science fiction element as far as worlds go, but the science fiction elements are mostly relegated to weaponry. And there are lots of cool weapons. What’s not to like about that?

 

The writing was, at times, a bit too YA, bordering on MG, for my taste. While it wasn’t incoherent, it also didn’t stand out. The dialogue felt rushed and stilted. A lot of what took place was explained in dialogue, which isn’t my preference (and yes, I know a lot of readers won’t mind this). However, the editing was well done and there weren’t a lot of grammatical mistakes except for a few tense changes. 

 

All in all, The Last Lumenian was an entertaining read with well-developed themes, a love triangle (for could there ever be a YA book where this trope isn’t used? I’m here for it, by the way #TeamArrov), a compelling heroine, and an interesting world. Where it needs help, I think, is in a more concise, cohesive plot, some trimming of the edges with the magic system, and a more expanded writing style. I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. I can appreciate what the author was trying to accomplish, but ultimately, I don’t think it was executed in quite the way it could have been. However, you can tell the author poured their soul into this, and it will land well with many readers.

Janelle

By day Janelle is a nurse, mother to two autistic sons, and writer. By night, she's immersed in other worlds. Reading fantasy is her happy place. And drinking wine. And eating tacos. 

Grab her flintlock fantasy series The Rodasia Chronicles, or her epic fantasy series The Steward Saga on Amazon.