Series: The Raven Chronicles, #1
Author: Stephanie Thomas
Published: Entangled Teen, November 2012
Source: received a copy for the blog tour
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][The Book Depository]
My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.
The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.
But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.
With such an enticing synopsis, I really expected to love Luminosity. Fortunately, the story not only lives up to my expectation, but also surprises me with things that I had never anticipated.
I don’t know if I could use words to describe how much I enjoyed reading the book but I’ll do my best to express my thoughts and feelings here…
In stories that talk about wars and enemies, death is kinda expected. But when you’ve grown to love a character and then she gets killed in an unexpected moment, it invokes a sense of loss and at the same time, it keeps you guessing … what now? Who’s next? What’s going to happen? That’s exactly how I felt when I was reading the book. Did I want my favorite characters dead? Of course not! But the thrill of wanting to know what happened next just kept me racing, and I was eager to move through one chapter after another. In a way, it’s kinda like watching a TV marathon: you know you have the option to take a break but instead, you just keep going and going until you finish watching the last episode. I guess that’s the closest way for me to describe my reading experience with Luminosity. 🙂
On the surface, the labels of Seer or Dreamcatcher may seem like obvious choices – those who’re born with Sight are called Seers and those who could access dreams within the mind are called Dreamcatchers. But when I start diving into understanding the meanings behind the words, I begin to see the subtle differences between a Vision and a Dream. Before reading the story, I didn’t really pay much attention to my own personal associations with words like Vision and Dream, but reading the story helps me see both the positive and negative meanings that I have personally associated with these words, and I’m grateful that I learn something new about myself that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t read this story.
I also find it helpful to see the dystopian world through Beatrice’s eyes. Although she is smart for her age, Beatrice doesn’t know much about anything that is outside of the Institution. She thinks of herself highly, but she also feels a sense of powerlessness against the unknown that lies ahead of her. Through experiencing her dreams and visions, I sense her frustration, her eagerness to change, and at the same time, her trepidation about the possible consequences that she’d face if she would become a version of herself that she knows would earn the grunt of contemptuous disapproval from the Keeper (the leader of the Seers).
Do I like Beatrice? Yes, although her indecisiveness can be a little annoying at times. But to be honest, who wouldn’t go through a stage of indecisiveness when reaching a cross-roads in life? Her indecisiveness just makes her a more believable character and while I feel a little dreadful about her decision towards the end, I admire her courage to do things that are outside of her comfort zone.
What else can I share with you? Um … I personally find the power of the Dreamcatchers potent, deadly and mysterious. I like that the Dreamcatchers know they are not invincible. I like that they have people like Echo, who knows they need help and is unafraid to search for new ways to improve upon their chances of survival. The Keeper, on the other hand, reminds me of those who choose to selfishly confine themselves in their own haven and when I saw how willingly she was to let everyone else die in order to uphold her sense of righteousness, I felt sad and I pitied the Seers for having such an obnoxious leader.
Although Luminosity is a young-adult novel, I feel like it shares something that resonates deeply in my mind and soul: are parties in opposition meant to fight till death or can they come around to unite for the wholeness of a greater community? I guess that’s something I won’t be able to find out until the sequel is released. At the meantime, I feel like I want to check out the symbolic meaning(s) of the raven. I’ll be adding an update to the post if I find something interesting.
Update (1): In the Native American Indian lore, raven is a creature of metamorphosis, a trickster, a messenger of truth as well as a bearer of magic.
Update (2): I emailed Stephanie Thomas and she replied that she chose raven because while it could be an ominous symbol in most cultures, it’s also a symbol for prophesy and foresight. Stephanie, thank you so much for emailing me back !! 🙂
About the Author
Stephanie Thomas has been writing ever since she could put letters together to form words. When she was a small child, she would present her mother and father with self-made newspapers filled up with make believe stories and pictures. Her love for writing followed her all throughout her schooling, where she entered and won writing contests of all sorts. Stephanie decided to become an English teacher and completed her B.A. at The Pennsylvania State University. While teaching, she later went on to get her Master’s in writing from The Johns Hopkins University. She completed her very first manuscript during her graduate studies, and by the end of the program, she had completed two more.
Stephanie is quick to tell anyone that she’s a born and raised Philadelphian, and her heart will always belong there. She moved to Baltimore with her husband, and they’ve been living there for the last five years with their doggie, Sailor, and their rabbit, Buns (aka “T Sizzle).