Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
Dutton Books/Penguin

Release Date: July 7, 2011

Rating: 3.5/5

IQ "No one had ever thought of her as anything but Mexican American. She'd never been mistaken for Caucasian, but without skin...skeletons all looked the same. He thought I was white, like him. Big deal. But was that supposed to be a compliment? Or was it just something everybody assumed when they didn't know for sure-that people looked like them by default?" Consuela pg. 96

Flowing from The Book Butterfly, the next stop on the MundiMoms' Luminous Blog Tour is here at Reading in Color

Consuela has found herself immersed in the world of the Flow and she is losing her grip on reality. The Flow is a part of our world, although it is distant and separate from the real world. Consuela meets other teens in the Flow who have powers and she quickly discovers her own power of being able to step out of her Earthly skin and wear new skins. Not only can she wear any kind of skin but she can make skin from water, air, fire and other objects. The teenagers job in the Flow is to protect strangers who are going to change the world who might be in danger of dying before their time. The balance of the Flow has been upset however with the murders of the teens in the Flow and the Watcher asks Consuela and V (another teen in the Flow) to discover who the killer is and him/her. However the killer knows something Consuela wants, a way to return to her family while living in both the Flow and in the real world.

I thought there was an over saturation of similes in the writing. I had mixed feelings about the writing, at times I was in awe of the elegant prose and other times I almost rolled my eyes because it seemed like a stretch. Lines such as "the three-way mirror in the corner bent out of shape like clocks in a Dali print" (pg. 4, perhaps that line wouldn't have bothered me if I knew what a Dali print was?) and "He had black hair and olive skin like an Italian oil painting" (pg. 53) were peppered throughout the book. I didn't like how characters like Consuela's best friend, Allison were briefly mentioned in the beginning and then completely forgotten. The romance between V and Consuela was random, it seemed like they were attracted to each other in the book because they were the only two semi 'normal' available people in the Flow. They weren't even friends first, they just seemed to quickly become infatuated with each other. The book definitely lags in the middle, the beginning and ending however are well-paced with action. Finally, I think that the author should have explained why each chapter started with an Octavio Paz quote. The name was familiar to me and his quotes were fascinating (my favorite was "Everything in the modern world functions as if death does not exist. Nobody takes it in account, it is suppressed everywhere..." (pg. 31) but I was curious as to why this particular man's (who I later Googled to learn that he was a Mexican poet) quotes were chosen.

The Flow is confusing for both Consuela and the reader (or at least this particular reader) which I actually liked because I learned about the Flow alongside Consuela. I think this book has to be read slowly because a lot will be missed, certain parts REQUIRE being re-read. It's difficult to discuss this book without being too spoiler-y but I was very intrigued by the attitude the characters (The Watcher, V, Wish, Tender, Joseph Crow, they are all 'members' of the Flow) held towards death. Most of them did not fear death, which is a mentality that I think the author wants more readers to understand (I say this based on quotes used and dialogue) and the concept behind the Flow and how people ended up in the Flow is quite impressive.

Luminous covers the immense, terrifying concept of death in an exceptional way that adds something very special to not just the paranormal genre, but books in general. don't completely understand the Flow but there's plenty of material for this to be a series and I would definitely want to learn more about the Flow. The author has subtle bits of diversity ranging from ethnicity to religious beliefs (I especially loved the idea behind the character The Yad) but I do wish all the secondary characters had been more than just their purpose in the Flow. Consuela only hangs out with V and The Watcher (aka Sissy) but even those two characters remain somewhat of a mystery aside from their powers. At times the writing seemed to be less concerned with keeping the story moving and more concerned with sounding poetic. Consuela is a fairly normal main character which I liked, she's confused about the Flow (although I do wish she didn't mysteriously have unique powers and be a sort-of 'special child') and she's confused about V. She doesn't continuously make heroic gestures nor does she cower in fear, a realistic main character with an odd love interest.

This review on the MundiMoms' LUMINOUS Blog Tour was brought to you by the letter: W Collect all the letters along the blog tour, unscramble the puzzle, and win a secret surprise as well as an extra entry in the LUMINOUS Grand Prize Giveaway, June 30th! Details at www.dawnmetcalf.com."

Disclosure: Received from author/publisher as part of a book tour. Thank you!