The universe really seemed determined to keep me from reading and reviewing Rachel E. Kelly’s third installment in her Colorworld series, Lumaworld. I struggled with the storyline anyway, because the focus on terminal illness felt too personal, and then my Kindle suddenly died. When my replacement arrived, none of my progress had been saved, so I faced re-reading material that I’d found difficult on the first pass; however, I’m glad that I did, because the true theme of Lumaworld is hope: hope in miracles; hope in the unknown; hope that things will somehow get better even if you don’t understand how. It’s not an easy read, at times, but the message rings true and is incredibly important to all of us.
Gabriel and Wendy think their lives can only get better now that the touch barrier has faded between them. They may be on the run from Robert with Ezra and Kaylen in tow, but they have each other in every way possible; however, Wendy’s enhanced senses indicate that something is seriously wrong with Gabriel. He sounds off, and she can smell blood on his breath when he speaks or coughs. When her husband’s illness gets severe enough, Wendy finally allows her Uncle Robert back into her life, only to learn the harsh truth: hypno-touch is ultimately fatal since it disrupts a body’s natural energy flow and creates rare cancers and other illnesses. Gabriel will die from Wendy’s training on him in the compound, and her time may almost be up, as well. If the young woman can learn more about how the energy strands work in the colorworld, she might find a cure, but does she have enough time left?
The terminal illness focus of Lumaworld was extremely hard for me to cope with since I had lost a beloved dog to cancer only a month before starting the Colorworld series. The raw pain and emotions from Wendy, Gabriel, and their friends and family hurt to read, because I related too closely. At the same time, everything written felt very genuine, from Ezra’s anger to Gabriel’s resignation to Uncle Robert/Moby’s inability to be too close. I would not be surprised if Kelly had personally experienced this type of trauma herself, given her skill at writing about it, and the fact that it affected me so intensely is a testament to its impact.
Fortunately, Wendy doesn’t spend the entire novel focusing on her impending death; she forges a path to help save the other hypno-touch patients with the hope that she can save Gabriel and Kaylen from an early demise. She never expects to save herself, but somehow having her death serve others is more important. Our heroine has come a long way from the confused girl in Colorworld, and while she’s still only twenty, I can see hints of the woman she will ultimately become as she matures.
Don’t try reading Lumaworld if you want a light, pick-me-up-type story, but it’s an excellent addition to Kelly’s series. She explored facets of her universe that I never anticipated, and it’s stuck with me after I finished the last page. Would I read it again right away? Probably not, but I’m glad I experienced it and am looking forward to more novels in this world!
4.5 Purple Scarves out of 5