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The Lustre: Red Edition
About the Author
Kate Policani is a homemaker and compulsive writer from Seattle. She has a wild imagination and an addiction to reading and writing. Her hobby is exploring and analyzing all kinds of stories. She uses them like a literary chemistry set to examine a variety ideas and concepts and to fuel her own writing. The Science Fiction and Fantasy genres are her favorites because the exciting flights of fancy make a thrilling plot. Every day is filled with the stories of those around us, especially in this information age. It is her passion to find what stories inspire her and others, and why they inspire. There are more than 80 stories waiting on her hard drive, incubating and developing for future reading! What will she come up with next?
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Akataromai originate on Earth, they look like humans and conceal themselves by blending within the Human population, but they live for centuries and feed upon negative Human emotions. Angelina Quorra is unique among her people in that she absorbs pain as well as emotion and gives anyone who feeds her overwhelming pleasure. This talent is called The Lustre and it brings her both fame and trouble.
From the author's synopsis
Born to young and rebellious parents who selfishly flout their society's standards, little Angelina flounders in poverty and isolation. Her savior is Luciano Quorra. He transports her into comfort and wealth in the bosom of her people, sheltering her until she can reach adulthood. Together they discover her unique gift, astonished at its power. Unfortunately, even love and marriage can't save Angelina from the machinations of Jaques Trace. Through murder, kidnapping and treachery he will destroy her happiness just to taste her charms. Will he succeed in monopolizing that intoxicating experience and the only woman who can impart The Lustre?
The character of Angelina is truly angelic, and I couldn't help but love her. This seemingly flawless shining example of purity and innocence might have been too perfect if the story had been written from Angelina's perspective, but it wasn't. The men who adore her write her story in their own words and it is through their eyes that we come to know her and the events that make up the story. Though each man has a different relationship to Angelina, their adoration is an inspiring thread that runs through each account.
This lovely tale highlights the different ways that people can react to a gift. Some with generous hearts want to share it, others with greed and jealousy in their hearts want it completely for themselves to the degree that in their grasping they may kill the very thing they long for. We see one man struggle with his jealousy and overcome it and another fall victim so deeply that he loses sight of honour and decency. These may be supernatural beings but their struggles are very human, and this is where this fantasy story illuminates reality.
Kate's stories are an excellent example of the beauty of independent publishing. They are way outside the box of what traditional publishers look for, and in the old days readers wouldn't have had the option of reading such refreshing stories. I read The Lustre in a couple of hours - but I am a fast reader - and I recommend it for everyone who likes something charming and different. I'm also adding it to the Awesome Indies listing. [...]
I won this book through a promotion that Kate was running. If you purchase it you will not be disappointed. The author had me hooked by page four. Her ability to show and not tell will be one
reason I will be passing this book for others to read like I normally do. Just this time I will be keeping the book. The examples in this book one can draw from is priceless.
The book is about a young woman by the name of Angelina who at a young age knows she is different. She has this gift of absorbing pain from others while giving them pleasure in return. She is special among her peers. Each chapter dives into a different POV from the men who come across her path.
And by the way, she is not human.
This is a wonderful book. It is fast paced and can be read relatively quickly.
Characters: ** 2 Stars
Angelina has the Lustre, an ability to not only take away negative human emotions, but to take away physical pain and replace it with orgasmic pleasure. Interesting to say the least. Yet somehow Angelina is vacant, almost empty of emotion herself. She just sails along, not really taking an active part in her own life. Instead, the men in her life are the active participants, likely due to the fact that they're the ones telling her story, and they make her out to be a perfect angel, innocent and pure...boring.
Her husband, Luciano, seems nice enough, adopting her as his ward when she's a preteen, and making sure that she doesn't feel obligated to marry him when she comes of age (though that was the intention all along). However he's as naive as a teenager despite being more than a hundred years old.
The villain, Jacque Trace, is greedy and selfish, but hardly evil. His actions are despicable, but he also tries to make Angelina happy, in his selfish way. I didn't like the man, but neither did I hate him, and he wasn't scary, malicious, or dangerous enough to engage me emotionally. Overall, he was...meh.
Plot: ** 2 Stars
The plot is unfortunately as vacant as Angelina herself. It was just one event after another, without a story arc that slowly builds to an exciting climax and then resolves to satisfying conclusion. There were a few exciting events, such as a killing and a kidnapping, but they fell flat because they were told in a passive voice.
Setting: ** 2 Stars
Like everything else, I wanted more from the setting. I needed a year or an era, a full five-sense description, just something more.
Romance: * 1 Stars
A twelve year old girl is taken from her parents to be a ward of a much older man, with the expectation that when she's of age, she will marry him. While the author tried to make the match seem like love, it never felt right to me. There were verbal declarations of love, and Luciano was good to Angelina, but I never felt the fire, and with the initial set-up of their relationship, it always felt too easy, and a little bit wrong.
Genre - Paranormal Romance: * 1 Stars
I'm actually not really sure how to classify The Lustre. It's not traditional paranormal romance by any means, but there is romance, and it's in a contemporary setting. The concept of the Akataromai was interesting and unique, but the story was bland, like saltine crackers. I want more action, more romance, more passion, and more pain in my fantasy.
Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.