I'm a sucker for a pretty cover and when I saw the cover for Lumara by Melissa Landers, I hit that request button so fast that I gave myself whiplash. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney for an advanced copy of this super fun YA fantasy!
Boarding school student Talia Morris has the perfect boyfriend in Nathaniel Woods. That is, until he reveals to her that he is actually a Mystic, someone who was born with magic...and Talia hates Mystics. But she loves Nathaniel and he loves her. When he invites her to be his date to his cousin's wedding and begs her to give his family a chance, she reluctantly agrees. What starts off as a beautiful adventure in a magical place turns dark when the entire bridal party falls into a coma and Talia, the only outsider, takes the blame. She goes on a journey to find the truth and it turns her entire world upside down.
The world in this story feels so dull and normal until Talia and Nathaniel reach the magical island of Lumara and I think that was exactly the point. It is reminiscent to me of the start of The Wizard of Oz - the "normal" world is in black and white and the color only shows up once they reach the island of Lumara. Once we reach the island, the author is able to paint a picture that brings it to life and makes you wish you could be there.
Each of the characters had such depth and complexity. They all had their own motivations and it's clear from the get go, but as the story progresses, you can see how much more was hiding under the surface. The foreshadowing of certain plot points was sprinkled in effortlessly, but some of it did feel pretty obvious (or I have just been hurt too many times and can't help but read into every little thing). While the magic systems were fun, I didn't completely get the feeling of "all magic has a price" in this world, though there were certain bits where it was clear there was a price.
The story overall was fun. I was able to guess most of the later revelations in the story (and it frustrated me a bit that the characters didn't see it), but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story as a whole. I was actually so engrossed in it that I finished reading after only a few hours. It's a quick read that is categorized as YA, but I think that even my seven year old daughter would also have enjoyed it (and probably had big reactions to and been surprised by some of the reveals).
Lumara by Melissa Landers is available to preorder here and hits shelves on December 6, 2022.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Amazon affiliate link above, I will receive a small commission which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you.