Monday, 18 June 2018



by Quoleena Sbrocca

2 out of 5

In the dawn of The Rebirth Period, a new species of humans dominates the Earth. Abhorring the languages of the Ancients—the Homo sapiens—they establish a universal tongue and call it The Standard.

In this coming of age story, Rayne isn’t the average teen. To everyone in her colony, she’s less. In the early hours of their second birthday, the Homo praestans experience the Luminescence and awaken to a mystical ability. But the Luminescence never came to Rayne that night.

Her peers mock her, most of her colony shuns her, her adoptive father is embarrassed by her existence, and her adoptive mother is apathetic towards her at best.

On her 17th birthday, she awakens from a night which she never should have experienced. Convinced it will change her life for the better, she's devastated when her parents force her to keep the thing which finally makes her normal a secret. But when the Luminescence comes to her twice more, her longing to be normal is now a shattered dream.

Desperate to learn why this is happening to her 15 years late, she soon realizes the answers lie beyond her colony. She must seek council with the Board, the governing body of her society. If anyone has the answers, they will. But before her chance ever comes, she’s involved in a deadly incident which threatens the life of another. As her world unravels, she becomes even more hated. They used to call her "Sape." Now they label her an abomination.

Once longing for purpose and belonging in her colony, she’s now desperate to leave the only life she’s ever known to uncover the truth on her own, and to discover if there are others out there who are just like her.

In a society of advanced beings, Rayne is an oddity, no better than human because her gift didn't materialise as a toddler. What she doesn't realise is, rather than unevolved, she is the next step in evolution.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I've been mulling over how to write this review, and how to tip-toe around a certain aspect of the book. But you know what, I'm just going to come straight out with the issue; you know it's been a divisive part of feedback when the author offers her own insight.

This book will be marmite, you will either love the immersive feeling that is created by a completely structured language for this advance race; or you will struggle with it.

I fell into the latter category.
I'm all for exploring different languages, and it is a pet peeve of mine when Fantasy characters come off sounding like modern-day-American-teenage-girls. In that respect, it was refreshing to read Luminescence.
Their language is based on Latin. I liked where words were completely replaced with Latin variants, or the days of the week replaced with famous scientists etc.
My problem came from the Latin-based syntax that was used to form English sentences. It came off as stilted, and hard work to read. I would have preferred full-on Latin than something that was not quite English.
The scene between Rayne and her peers reminded me of a scene out of Star Trek, where Spock is also harassed by bullies.

The story is written in first person. This meant there was no reprieve from the language. It features heavily in Rayne's narration, as well as the dialogue.

Away from the language, I wasn't really a fan of the main character.
Rayne starts off quite promising. She's considered a dud in her society, because she didn't get her Luminescence (gift) as a child (think squib), so something of an embarrassment. But Rayne doesn't let it get her down. She has come to terms with being lacking; ignores the bullies; and has made peace with the fact her adoptive father has all but rejected her.

As the story progresses, Rayne becomes Special, because she gets her luminescence at fifteen years old. Then she becomes Very Special, because she gets more than one gift, and her gifts are the most powerful anyone has ever seen, ever.
The first two-thirds of the book follow Rayne discovering her powers, and the extent of her powers. Oh, and that she has to keep their sudden manifestation secret, because of Reasons.
There aren't any subplots at this point, or other character arcs, because it's all about Rayne. So I found the pace quite slow.
I also found Rayne quite hypocritical. Now that she has her powers, she doesn't have to lower herself to squabble with her bullies. She is above them, and above the primal drive they have to pull her down. She rises above it all with grace and patience (well, almost completely, if one can forgive a little elemental outburst). But she can't be cool and forgiving with her parents and best friend, Rafe - the people that love her most.

This series isn't for me. A lot of this is down to personal taste, so I'd recommend checking it out and finding out for yourself.


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