Review: Luminaire by Ciye Cho

Posted July 14th, 2013 in book review / 10 comments


Florence Waverley Series #2

by Ciye Cho

Publisher: Self-Published (Nov. 2012)
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: eBook (250 pages)
Source: Free book from author for honest review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)

Being the only human in a world of merfolk… isn’t easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.

The tournament is a rite of passage–a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans. But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament… or will she perish inside it?

Everything hangs in the balance: her life, her world, and her love.

At A Glance
Another beautiful read from Cho, but I did feel like this was the standard filler book that we often see in series.

The Good
In Luminaire, Florence is trying to find her place among the merfolk. Her and Rolan are on the outs and all she has is Yolee to keep her company. When Yolee decides to join the Life Path Tournament, Florence offers to join along for support. But Florence learns that the tournament is more vicious and challenging compared to anything she has ever experienced. And with some merfolk trying to bring her down, Florence has very little chance of surviving her ordeal without her friends.

Florence is really amazing in this book. She is so strong, even when vulnerable. Her determination and selflessness really drive this book. You admire her, even when she is failing. You feel everything she feels and it really helps you bond to her character.

The thing that will knock your socks off is the world building and descriptions. I love reading Cho’s version of merfolk and their society. The merfolk are pretty hardcore and scary but also beautiful. As for the descriptions, I could literally taste the salt in the ocean and feel the water running over my skin as I read every word of Luminaire. I had no problem picturing the breathtaking views of deep sea and the monstrous creatures of the tournament.

The writing, as always, was great. No complaints at all. Cho has a way of bringing his stories to life with his words. The action packed tournament kept me on the edge of my seat with trepidation and excitement. Cho’s imagination shows no bounds with the horrors and thrills he came up with in Luminaire.

The Bad
I find myself underwhelmed with the direction of the series. It seems like Luminaire was a filler book in which almost nothing is resolved, actually things keep getting worse, and I left feeling depressed. Many of the bad people are let go and not punished, and Florence gives up a huge chance to make a difference from the “inside.” All her trials and fights end up being for nothing.

The beginning was slow and the second half had a little too much action.

The Snuggly
Florence and Rolan spend most of this book apart. Rolan keeps pushing Florence away and she doesn’t understand why. All she knows is that life under the sea is not the same without him around. I am kind of over Rolan’s whole “I must keep Florence at arms length for her own good” thing. This is definitely not a romance filled book.

Final Thoughts
I enjoyed Florence, the first book, way better than Luminaire. I just think the plotline lacked some. I wanted more out of this book. But it’s hard to stay mad because Cho does write a beautiful story with beautiful characters. Recommended to those who love mermaid books.

I shivered as he slowly spread the blue paint.

He let go of me after he finished, and I looked up to see him watching me. His gaze was intense. Unreadable.

“What do I look like to you?” I asked.

“You look radiant. Luminous,” he replied.

I tipped my head to the side. “I’m not talking about the paint.”

“Neither was I,” he said.

The Florence Waverley Series: (My Reviews)
Book #1: Florence
Book #2: Luminaire

book review

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10 Responses to “Review: Luminaire by Ciye Cho”

  1. Jaclyn Canada

    I think the series overall sounds really interesting, especially with how you describe his writing. The 2nd books are never usually my favorites, and I do like waiting until the 3rd is available for me to dive into before I start those. I have a mermaid month coming up with my Paranormal challenge so I’ve added this Florence to my list. Thank you so much for sharing! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      That’s a good way of going about it, waiting for the third book to dive into the rest of the series.

      You should totally read Florence for your mermaid month.

  2. Ashley

    Isn’t this the second book in the series? 😛 (You have it as #1)

    I’m sort of skimmed your review because I haven’t read the first book yet, but what a bummer that this one wasn’t as good >_< Grrr. I always thought this series sounded interesting.

  3. Jovon Tucker

    I have never read a mer-book! To be honest it’s something I never really thought about even though mermaids are like my very favorite fantasy creature! I am thinking even with the bad you have mentioned, that I am still going to try it out because it sounds pretty good to me and I like the cover too! It’s interesting!

    Is this the first or second book in the series?

    Thanks so much for the review!

    Jovon Tucker

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Sorry about the confusion. This is the second book in the series. For sure try out the first book to see what you think. I Love Cho’s mermaids.

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