There are some books out there where you read part of it, go “WHAT IS GOING ON?!!” and then toss it aside in frustration. Then, there are books where you read part of it, go “WHAT IS GOING ON?!!!” and can’t stop reading because you have to know all the things. MJ Vieira’s Lux is like that.
Lux is the first book in the Veritas series, a paranormal/fantasy/dystopian piece set in a time where the world seems to be a highly dangerous place. This book starts with a dream sequence that our main character Jade seems to be having. (I say seems because there are other extenuating circumstances that we learn about later on in the novel that are quite dramatic. Sorry, no explanations here, because spoilers.) Jade is the Captain for the King of demons/new King of the world, Malum, who is ruler of the people who worship Lux (light). Malum is a rather dangerous sort with a wicked personality and he is doing his very best to woo our dear Jade. Malum wants her to be his Queen, thus taking on certain, ah, magical properties to make her his equal. All that seems well and good, except, well, it isn’t. Unfortunately, Jade’s memories are rather all over the place. It isn’t that she doesn’t remember her life, it’s that she doesn’t remember her life well. Ultimately, Jade must determine what is really going on and who she really is, or things are going to get much, much worse.
This book is definitely fascinating. It explores a lot of psychological phenomena that one does not normally see in paranormal/dystopian fiction. The primary means of doing this is through Jade and her unfortunate memory problems. However, there are many other elements woven in that make the questions and the exploration very much impossible to put down. Jade is one of the more interesting characters to follow through this psychological journey because she is obviously very flawed. The readers know she is flawed, she knows she is flawed, and there are so many pieces of the puzzle that she is missing. It was quite fun to piece the world together right along with Jade.
As far as characters go, Jade is definitely a really good main character. Okay, yes, part of the reason she does so well in the role of main character is that she has all of these problems. But she is also dangerous, entertaining, and not really afraid to go after what she wants. Which, oopsie, puts other people in harm’s way. Also, the romance that is woven through this book as a sub-plot serves to emphasise and undermine Jade’s problems and abilities. I really liked being able to read this story from her perspective because she had no idea what was going on or what to think about it a good deal of the time. What fun is having all the answers when you can fight the questions to tiny pieces?
And our love interest, Malum, is a great character. He is snarky, arrogant, and huge amounts of trouble. Not to mention possessive about Jade. But he is just as mysterious as the rest of the things in Jade’s life, so we’re never quite certain how to feel about him. Honestly, though, I found him highly entertaining. (Even more so after the big reveal closer to the end, but again, spoilers. Sorry.)
That brings me to the ending. Lux is book one of a multi-book series, so obviously there are going to be things left unanswered and situations started that are left unresolved. That being said, I did find the ending to be a bit rushed. There was a lot of information given to the readers almost at the same time. All that information was critical for the story, and absolutely really interesting, but there was little time to process it before the book actually ended. Great set up for book two, a little too much all at once for book one. One of the characters who dies at the end could, perhaps, have had a larger role and made things a little more difficult for our main character. That is a little irrelevant, though, because the answers that this character gave brought up more questions.
Given my critique regarding the ending, I have to say that it is a spectacular one. The situation has changed so much from the beginning of the book that I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next. The world is different, our MC is different, and situations have been set into motion that I have a feeling are going to be hugely interesting. So. Many. New. Questions.
(As a reader, I cry out in desperation for the next book so I can have the questions answered. As a writer, I laugh maniacally. Well done, MJ, well done.)
Lux is a book that defies the expectations of readers. It poses questions rarely asked and answers questions that you weren’t sure had been asked at all. The characters are dynamic and great to read. The ending had me gaping like a dead fish. All in all, a great read.