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Young Adult Indie 1236
The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West Review
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The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West

4 out of 5 stars


Islayne is a beautiful, magical island off the mainland of Scotland. A specific part of the island holds an old type of magic that gives people the gifting of reviving old, forgotten memories. This is known as the trade of lumination. People travel from across the world to get their memories revived, or brighten as the luminators say. These lands belong to three families and have just recently been shared with new people of the island when a school was built. Ronan does not belong to one of the three families but has the gifting. Determined to make it in the world of lumination he studied hard to graduate at the top of his class.

The problem? The old families are so corrupt and greedy that they don't want anyone else in the trade. Ronan worked very hard to graduate at the top of his class and was almost out of luck with no apprenticeship until Ben, a recluse of the Roscoe family, decides to train him. Along with Ronan, his best friend Eli, a member of the Brennigton family, is obligated to have a career as a luminator. However, Eli highly dislikes his family and their corruption leaving him wanting nothing to do with the trade. All Cassie wants is a little bit of her father's attention. He is the most famous new luminator and actually has a chance on getting a council seat. Cassie knows he's busy and very important so she's a bit reckless and a daredevil hoping one day he'll really notice her. Adele has been coming to the island ever since she was little to visit Cassie. This is the first year she doesn't want to be shipped to the island. Will the four friends be able to have a normal summer? Can they be safe once they discover the secrets of Islayne?


I really enjoyed this story! The idea of the lumination trade is so unique and interesting. The story was never dull and always kept me wanting more. West wrote in multiple point of views and did so very successfully. The transitions were always smooth and the characters very clear. This gave a great perspective and did not waste time giving too much background information to establish each character. The world of lumination is a big, new world for all of us. Learning about how it works and the history of the trade was great. West found ways to do all of this without making it boring!
I loved each character on the island of Islayne. Well, the ones you're supposed to like anyways. Ronan is so determined to become a luminator that you want him to succeed. Eli wants to do something other than lumination but how can he without being disowned by his family? His hopes to become something else weighs on him. Cassie wants her father approval. She pulls off stunts to hope that her father will give her some attention. Her friends are her family and their love should be the approval she needs. Adele is going through a lot at home. Her time on the island needs to be a great summer to help her with her own grief. Each character is flawed in their own way but makes them relatable and great to interact with.
So, what's missing? The Secrets of Islayne was a great story but I feel like there was a little more that could have been done. I really wish there was more lumination. The actual lumination sessions were interesting to read. However, they were so limited in the book that it left me wanting more. I also wish there was more Ben. Aside from the main characters, Ben was probably one of my favorites. I also didn't feel like the setting was accurately portrayed. I kept forgetting they were off the mainland of Scotland because of the dialect. While it made the book easy to read, it didn't really set up the setting perfectly. I feel like if there was more lumination and Ben, this book would have been even more amazing!

Final Thoughts

This book was great! I honestly enjoyed it from start to finish. The whole world is unique and interesting. The world of lumination is special to Islayne and with the trade, a lot of magic and mystery. The secrets of the island makes it a dangerous one also! Ronan, Eli, Cassie and Adele were relatable characters that you truly do take an interest in them. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves magic and secrets! This read is an easy and enjoyable one.
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