Title: The Secrets of Islayne
Author: Kari Lynn West
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: June 30, 2017
A boy who can restore forgotten moments from the past unearths a secret that threatens his entire future. For centuries, the island of Islayne has given certain residents the ability to revive other people’s memories. These gifted individuals are known as luminators, and sixteen-year-old Ronan Saunders desperately desires to join their illustrious ranks. As he struggles against the prejudice of the old, powerful families who have an iron grip on the trade, Ronan falls under the tutelage of a reclusive luminator, rumored to be insane. Just when his long-desired future is within reach, Ronan and his three friends discover a deadly secret on the island. As they delve deeper into the mystery, what they find forces them to question their loyalties, doubt long-held beliefs, and wrestle with the dire consequences of revealing the truth. Ronan finds himself torn between everything he loves and the only future he’s ever wanted. The entire fate of the lumination trade hangs in the balance of his decision.
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Memories are sacred. Memories are sacred. Memories are sacred. The words kept flitting around his mind like insistent flies—inconsequential, but no less annoying—as he steered the small motorboat toward the mouth of the cave. That mantra was the foundational tenet of lumination; it had no place on his nighttime journey. Luminators lived to bring memories back from the brink of extinction. Never to push them over the edge. It was unthinkable; it was impossible.
More fool them.
The boat coasted up to the shore. It was dark, but he’d come prepared. He retrieved the book, flashlight, and battery-powered standing lamps and carried them deep into the cave. He wound his way through seemingly endless passageways, hearing only the fall of his footsteps and the far-away drip of water on stone. Finally, he turned the last sharp corner of the twisting tunnel and stepped into a large cavern. The flashlight cast a narrow beam of light, pale and weak, into the dark expanse, as if at any moment it could be swallowed up by shadow. During the day, the chamber was beautiful. There was no daylight now.
He walked to a long, high bench in the middle of the stone floor and placed one lamp on either side. He took a moment to gaze down at the book in his hands and trace the strange markings on the leather cover. Even though Classical Gaelic wasn’t something they taught at the Academy, he’d slowly deciphered the text. For years, he struggled against the power of those translated words; it didn’t matter in the end though. In an instant, desperation and grief brought a vicious clarity to his life, and the knowledge burrowed deep within him blossomed into something vital and beautiful. Why should he serve the cause of memories when they’d only ever brought him despair? Better to break them to his will.
He glanced down at his watch. For a moment, Elise’s smiling face rose up in his memory. He recalled her barely contained excitement as she placed the watch in his hands, eager to see his reaction to the birthday present. He pushed the thought firmly away. This wasn’t the time.
They would be here any moment. He waited, relishing the perfect stillness all around him. It wouldn’t last much longer. Soon enough, screams would drive out the silence.
About the author
Kari Lynn West writes contemporary YA fantasy—normally while drinking far too much coffee. She likes to create character-driven stories that are set in the real world with a twist, weaving fantastical elements into everyday life. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters.
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