Escape into a fantasy dystopian world... Lumen by J.J. Fischer (Review & #Giveaway) #newbooks #booktwitter #fantasy #cleanreads #christianfantasy @celebrate_lit @enclavebooks

Welcome to my tour stop! Read my review and enter the giveaway below ...

(The Nightingale Trilogy #2)
By J.J. Fischer
Fantasy, Christian
Hardcover, Audiobook & eBook, 352 Pages
December 5, 2023 by Enclave Publishing 


What if erasing the past cost more than you were willing to pay?

Having narrowly escaped their enemies, Sephone, Dorian, and Cass continue their search for the elusive Silvertongue, the only one with knowledge of the Reliquary’s whereabouts. But time is running out for Sephone, and with Dorian accused of high treason, the quest takes on a new urgency.

As secrets from each of their pasts drive a wedge between them, Sephone invests all her hopes in finding her homeland, Lethe—where her family may yet be alive. But nothing about Lethe is as she expects, and disappointment, betrayal, and danger await her at every turn.

When the truth about the Reliquary’s curse comes to light, the fragile bonds between the unlikely companions are tested like never before. Meanwhile, Dorian faces a terrible choice: to save the life of one who is beginning to mean more to him than the past he’s so desperate to forget, or to save his beloved Caldera from dangers outside and within.

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My Review

LUMEN picks up right after the first book as this motley crew travels to find an artifact and escape their enemies who are in pursuit. Fantasy fans will enjoy the world-building as these characters travel from one place to another. There is a constant underlying feeling of mystery and suspense that helps to keep the story moving as it builds to book three and the conclusion of the series.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was excited to dive back into this world and spend some time with these characters. I continued to enjoy this book at least the first part of the way through. The characters become more familiar and more secrets are divulged while the story progresses. I love the way the magic works, as well as the world-building with the diversity of the various lands and people. I also liked seeing friendships develop further. More things are explained and unveiled. I still also like these characters and am hoping for a satisfying resolution in book three, especially with how things were left. This story does climax as it leads into the next book.

I also found myself getting annoyed with this second installment. Dorian is basically, stubbornly stuck. He has the capability for so much more and yet he limits himself and is almost obsessively focused on this artifact and how it will make him how he used to be instead of seeing that he is still that man and also a wiser, more empathetic version. I also felt in several places that the characters should have been more intuitive, especially with their backgrounds and experiences, but they're not. This made some things that happened, choices and situations, feel forced and inconsistent. It limited the character development as well as my enjoyment of this story. I also wasn't expecting the religious aspect to be such a strong one, especially as in the first book there isn't even a hint of that coming. I think if you're expecting it, then you'll be okay, but for me it felt more forced and rubbed me wrong.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an enjoyable Christian fantasy. The first book felt more general market, but this one heavily steps across into the Christian genre. Just something to be aware of depending on what readers are looking for. Readers will enjoy the world-building and these characters.

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary NetGalley through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my review.)

About the Author

J.J. Fischer’s writing dream began with the anthology of zoo animals she painstakingly wrote and illustrated at age five. Jasmine began writing her first proper novel at age fourteen, which eventually became her debut fantasy series, The Darcentaria Duology, which was published in 2021. She is a qualified psychologist with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in clinical psychology. When Jasmine isn’t killing defenseless house plants, she enjoys devouring books, dabbling in floristry, playing the piano, and wishing it rained more often. Jasmine is married to David, and together they make their home a couple of hours north of Sydney, Australia.

More from the Author

Have you noticed how much less we’re participating in life these days?

Here in Australia, we have a show called Gogglebox where we watch people on their couches watching (and commentating on) our favorite TV shows from the last seven days. Sometimes, you don’t even need to have seen the shows. But it’s fun to watch other people watching TV, often because they have the same reactions we have to particular scenes.

The widespread popularity of a show like Gogglebox is telling because it demonstrates just how comfortable we’ve become with observing and commentating on other peoples’ lives. We’re quick to critique and criticize and dismiss. So much of our human experience is now mediated through screens and technology and social media that we’ve lost a great deal of the beauty and simplicity of life.

How often does a long walk through autumn leaves or a swim at the beach refresh our spirit, yet we rarely get out of the house or away from our busy schedules in order to do so?

In the post-apocalyptic world of The Nightingale Trilogy, people no longer have access to the technology and comforts of the “world-that-was,” so they choose to vicariously enjoy its pleasures by re-experiencing old memories, which can be physically extracted and drunk like potions. Nostalgia is the currency of the day, and the gifted individuals who can manipulate these memories—known as alters or mems—are exceptionally prized.

The female main character, Sephone Winter, is a young slave who can selectively edit memories with a single touch of a person’s skin. But Sephone is increasingly aware that there’s something different about the memories of the old world that she extracts from donors’ minds. They’re much more faded, and less vivid, than the real thing. And she begins to suspect that habitually enjoying these second-hand and third-hand experiences comes at the price of a person’s humanity, self-awareness, and even their capacity to love.

After meeting an old veteran with a first-hand memory of strawberries—who tells Sephone that even this is a shadow of the real thing—she begins a journey to discover what authentic experience really looks like, and if there’s something more to hope for than the faded artifacts of a long-dead world.

Sephone’s discoveries have relevance and meaning for all of us in this world where life’s pleasures are often smoke and mirrors. Since the Fall, our lives are full of counterfeit things. They sound good, they look right—more real, sometimes, than the real thing—but they’re ultimately an imitation that doesn’t satisfy us the way we thought and hoped they would.

As a Christian, I believe that if we rely on counterfeit things to satisfy our souls, we’re always going to end up hungry. As David Foster Wallace famously once said, worshipping the stuff of this world will inevitably “eat us alive.” False truth and false gods always break the hearts of their worshippers.

But unmet needs are a signpost pointing to a better way, a deeper truth. As C.S. Lewis wisely commented: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

The Nightingale Trilogy is another world, a fantasy context, a different time period. But it’s really us. I hope, as you read, that it stirs in you a hunger for truth, for real things; a desire to connect with the Author of your soul. I can testify that He’s out of this world!

Cherish the Real,


Tour Schedule

Fiction Book Lover, December 7 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, December 8

Artistic Nobody, December 9 (Author Interview)

The Lofty Pages, December 9

Simple Harvest Reads, December 10 (Guest Review from Mindy)

Guild Master, December 11 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, December 14 (Author Interview)

Wishful Endings, December 15

Through the Fire Blogs, December 17 (Author Interview)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 19 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J.J. is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card along with a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Have you read the first book in this series yet? If not, will you be? Are you a fantasy fan?

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