This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Kari Lynn West. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, young adult
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Publisher: Independently Published
Source: Author, Kari Lynn West
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ IndieBound
A powerful island. A dangerous mystery. An impossible choice.
For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane.
Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.
I was excited to read The Secrets of Isalyne because it sounded exciting and it was some serious cover love! I absolutely loved the whole idea of the lumination trade. I loved it! It was so original!! Luminators had a special ability. They were able to take faded memories and restore them. Brighten them in the mind so that the person receiving the service could have faded memories restored to a vivid quality, like they just occurred. The entire trade was dedicated to reviving and restoring memories. There were inherent dangers with this type of skill, therefore this trade carried many rules and regulations.
Islayne was a unique island location where some children would manifest and show signs of the lumination gifting. It was also the only place in the world that skill would show up. For the longest time only those within three family lines would have shown the gifting but due to some hard times a founding family had to sell their land. Since that time children from outside the three controlling families have started to manifest the gifting, which has led to political upheaval and hard times for those outside of high society. It also made it more difficult for those seeking a career in the lumination trade.
Ronan Saunders was one of those outsiders who manifested a gifting. The desire of his heart was to be a luminator. When his character talked about the trade you could just feel him lighting up, he was nearly fanatical in his devotion to the trade. He had faced multiple hardships at the Academy, where the luminator trade was honed, but after finally graduating he was looking forward to starting his apprenticeship.
Unfortunately, all his hopes and dreams were quickly smashed and he felt that all hope was lost. Until, an opportunity arrived in the most unconventional of ways. Not quite convinced that it was the real thing, but Ronan was desperate enough to accept an apprenticeship with a luminator that society whispered was mentally unstable. Ha ha ha, and that is exactly how things appeared at first, but you know what they say about things not always being what they appear. His mentor was a skilled luminator but he did seem quite reckless and challenged Ronan in ways that made him uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, Ronan was having some difficulties with his personal relationships, well really only one difficulty, a friend of one of Ronan’s close friends had come to stay on the island for the summer and Ronan was a wee bit smitten. Adele had been coming to Islayne for many years but for whatever reason Ronan had not given her much notice until now. In addition, things are a little awkward with his close friends, Cassie and Eli. For years, everything had been stable between Cassie and Eli but this summer it seems that more was changing that just Ronan’s chances of being a future luminator.
Ronan and his friends were just trying to have some fun in despite of the chaos that they were all facing in their personal lives. While on an outing they came upon a cavern that held a sinister and confusing power. Eli and Ronan could easily sense the power but for Cassie it affected her physically and personally. For whatever reason, she started having horrible headaches after leaving the cavern. With the headaches and such increasing, Cassie became desperate to find out why and this exploration made it clear that there was indeed quite the secret on Islayne. A secret so wretched that it threatened the very fabric of the lumination trade. A secret so vile that some would even be willing to kill to protect it.
There is a great mystery element to The Secrets of Islayne as well as the perfect contrast of darkness and innocence. I loved Ronan’s character and his naive devotion to a trade he believed so wholly in. It blinded him in ways but he was willing to face the realities of what was in front of him for the sake of those he cared about. It was such a good read and the pages just turned! The Secrets of Islayne is one mysterious fantasy that I would highly recommend!
*Thank you to Author Kari Lynn West for this complimentary copy of The Secrets of Islayne*