The Last Lumenian
by S. G. Blaise
Lilac Grove Entertainment

"We are made of light, and we will return to Lume at the end of our time. We are made of light…"

The author tells an engaging story about a headstrong nineteen-year-old heroine—Lilla, a princess and rebel of the Seven Galaxies—who chooses to go against her royal father's wishes and fight with the rebels seeking justice. Lilla's epic journey includes battling the dark gods while also struggling against her own inner demons. In this gripping novel, family loyalties are tested, and betrayal and bravery are two dominant themes. In a work that is part science fiction, part fantasy, and part romance, By expertly weaving together these genres into one storyline, Blaise succeeds in keeping the reader's interest piqued throughout the book.

Lilla's character is unique in that her struggles with anxiety and panic attacks are another battle she must face daily. Her character offers a nice role model for those who experience the same kind of stress, particularly other teenage women. The reader watches as Lilla breaks through her anxiety and takes control of her own narrative. Lilla comes across as a normal, down-to-earth young woman, which makes her character all the more endearing. As a princess, Lilla could have continued living a life of great privilege but instead chooses to fight with the rebels who have been oppressed in their galaxy by Lilla's father, the king of Uhna. Her lofty journey mirrors the journey that most young adults take when they begin to experience the necessary breaking away from the family nest.

There is another equally powerful theme in the novel, as well, wherein lessening the gap between the "haves and have-nots" becomes part and parcel to the hero's goals. Lilla fights with the rebels who have been unfairly treated and now strive to begin a new life in a more democratic society. The focus on saving those less fortunate is fresh and timely and will appeal to those readers who feel as Lilla does—that everyone is worth saving regardless of their status in their caste system. Lilla can be compared to Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games in both her heroism and her moral conviction.

Blaise's fast-paced writing style works nicely with her plot-driven storyline. The dialogue is fresh and witty, and the many secondary characters are unique as well as convincing. The character descriptions are colorful, and Blaise's writing style is simple and simultaneously engrossing. The worldbuilding is done seamlessly; and although much of it is a dark world, the author manages to keep the narrative "light" with just enough added humor. Finding levity inside such a dark world can be tricky, but Blaise manages to do just that.

The novel delivers several subplots that add to the intense storyline and keep the pace moving quickly. The author makes a wise decision by including a glossary to keep her elaborate world organized for the reader. Placed at the back of the book, it is quick and easy for the reader to "flip" back and remind herself of certain terms and names. The author also keeps the chapters on the shorter side, which works to encourage the reader to keep turning the page. In all, this is a terrific young adult novel with an admirable female hero.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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