I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.Compendium on May 5, 2015
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On the heavily forested planet of Lumin, the Network has slept, dormant, for over six hundred cycles. Only a select few remember that it resides beneath the crust of the planet, waiting, and for them, the battle for Lumin’s future has raged in the shadows.
When Mia Jayne’s path crosses with an ancient volume in the Archives of the Order of Vis Firmitas, this ancient battle moves from the shadows into the light. Compendium opens up a world of knowledge, and, for the first time since arriving at the Order, Mia has the key to reclaim the freedom she has lost. To do so, she must choose between her conscience and her heart. Conceived against an ailing world of fantastical beauty where long-lost technology tips the balance between extinction and survival, Mia must remember that there is always a choice, and that makes all the difference.
Silver fur in silhouette glinted as a black shape sailed over her, momentarily inky against the barely visible night lights. Despite the cat’s massive size, it landed with deft grace and circled back on her immediately, claws raking the dirt. It was huge, steely silver with glowing yellow eyes—the largest animal Mia had ever seen. The stories had failed to mention the malice and hunger in those glowing eyes. They spoke to her, mostly saying that she had made a terrible mistake venturing from the safety of the lodge and was about to be dinner. She screamed again, a long, drawn-out howl that tore through her body. Her high voice echoed through the forest, a cacophony of children.
The standoff lasted mere ticks, but Mia felt every moment freeze and then shudder through her. The stalker hissed—a sound deep in its thick neck—and swayed slightly from side to side. A roar and a crash sounded from the direction of the lodge, followed by heavy footfalls. A bright light emerged from the darkness, and the stalker hissed again, this time adding an unearthly yowl, and turned its head toward the oncoming light. It was Father carrying a flaming club. He screamed as he charged the stalker. It hesitated for just a moment at losing its easy prey then crouched and leapt at Father’s advancing form.
The mass of the cat drove him back onto the ground. He swung the torch up into the stalker’s face, and it roared, digging its claws into his shoulder. Its open mouth displayed an array of large, glistening teeth. The beast snapped its jaws at the flaming stick, breaking it in half. Father whipped the stick’s remnants at the cat, aiming for the muzzle, but the beast moved like the wind, and the stick glanced off its temple. The cat shrugged off the blow then raked at Father again, trying to get its face-size paws around his head.
The sounds of struggle ceased suddenly with a howl and a squish. The forest quiet again, Mia looked to see the massive cat slumped over Father, inert. She remained paralyzed with fear as Father, bloody and battered, struggled out from under the cat. When he finally pushed the stalker off himself, Mia saw a thin, supple knife protruding from where the cat’s left eye once was. A stream of blood ran down its large head and pooled in the soft dirt floor of the forest. The other yellow eye stared vacantly into the night sky. She whimpered, curled in on herself, and lay there shaking. Bleeding from his shoulder and face, Father rushed to her and wrapped her in his arms. At that moment, Mia felt so very small.
“Are you hurt?” he yelled, then released her from a hug to poke and prod her limbs for injuries.
Tongue-tied, she managed to shake her head. He scooped her up and carried her back to the lodge, where the old man was waiting at the entrance. He held a knife, sister to the one lodged in the stalker’s eye socket, and was poised to loose it into the darkness.
I usually don’t make book cover images so large in posts. But just take a moment to gaze upon the amazingness that is the cover of Compendium by Alia Luria. *Sigh*. Love it. I love when a cover is so intriguing that you just have to pick the book up. This is one of those books. Okay, enough cover lovin’.
Compendium by Alia Luria is the first book in the Artifacts of Lumin series. (Sidenote: I have discovered my fingers want to misspell the word artifacts every time I type it. 🙁 ) There were some minor things that I didn’t like about the book. I didn’t like that there wasn’t really a prologue or intro persay. We just jumped right into the story and I felt like I wasn’t totally sure what was going on. It became a bit clearer as I continued to read, but I don’t like floundering around like that and feeling confused. Secondly, the two characters with similar names. Jumping back and forth between Melia and Mia was hard to keep up with. The names are so similar, same letters, same pronunciation, that I had to really concentrate and make sure I knew which part of the story I was reading and in what time frame.
Moving on from those two things, there was a lot I enjoyed about Compendium by Alia Luria. I liked that it felt like a captivating, unique fantasy story, but also felt very real. Some of the things that are happening in Compendium could occur in today’s society in my opinion. I loved the story-telling. I found myself hooked in very early on. The first night I began reading the book in bed, thinking I would read just a few pages and go to sleep. Wrong. I made myself stop 50 pages later, and only because I had to work the following morning. Alia Luria has created a fantasy story that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. The author has a beautiful way with words. I found myself really liking the story she weaved and the words she did it with. I know I will be reading more in the Artifacts of Lumin series, as I really liked Compendium by Alia Luria.
One of my favorite quotes from Compendium by Alia Luria, pgs. 41-42, Paperback edition:
“When you’ve seen how humanity acts during war times, you realize the thin veil of civilization we wear is but a mask we don to be able to continue to live with ourselves.”