Compendium by Alia Luria (Audiobook Review + Author Interview)

Compendium: Artifacts of Lumin, Book One - Alia Luria, Shiromi Arserio, Willowslip Press
This Fantasy features nature based "technology" and explores what happens when much of that is lost.

On the heavily forested planet of Lumin, the Network has slept, dormant, for over 600 cycles. Only a select few remember that it resides beneath the crust of the planet, waiting, and for those who do, the battle for Lumin's future has raged in the shadows. When Mia Jayne's path crosses with an ancient volume in the Archives of the Order of Vis Firmitas, this ancient battle moves from the shadows into the light.

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SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 of the “Artifacts of Lumin” series. According to the author, “There are currently four books planned in the Lumin series, plus a prequel novella. Compendium, Ocularum, Clavis and Shillelagh. Ocularum is still being written. I hope to have it out by the end of 2016, but that timeline is only an estimate as of right now.” 


Although it is made clear that the main character is an adult, I am classifying this as a YA since it reads like one. Of course, we don’t know when someone becomes an adult on Lumin.


Mia: She makes some poor choices, but I’m not sure what they expected based on her circumstances and upbringing, and the way they speak to and treat her. We don’t get any explanation in this book as to why she has a special ability to hear the trees (which no one believes). I do wonder why, having a book that knows so much, she doesn’t ask it for more actually useful information about things.


Cedar: I really like him despite some of his decisions. I’m not sure he was in a position to do anything different.


Mia & Cedar: No overly gorgeous characters, no instalove, no love triangle. That makes me very happy. I hope they are able to make it work if they actually give a relationship a chance.

Cornelius: A loveable old librarian; I am happy to hear there may be more of him in the next book.


I know that some people have complained about the slow start; but I would have preferred to have seen more of Mia’s normal life before it changed. It could have given us a greater understanding of the current level of “technology,” and could have given the readers a greater investment in the fate of her father.


For the most part, I don’t like alternating narratives from different time periods; but since this didn’t last the entire book, I like the way it further established the “families.”


There was one twist that I wasn’t at all surprised by, but I’m very suspicious by nature. And I felt that one character’s complete change of attitude could have used more explanation or maybe just a bit more discussion and development.


The responsible members of the Order try to pin all the errors on Mia. I disagree, they made a number of very foolish choices and some downright cruelly wrong decisions. When will (fictional) people learn that jerking someone around and playing games with them isn’t the best way to earn their loyalty? Trust is a two way street.


NARRATION: I like her accent and mellow voice. / I would have liked a touch more emoting, especially during action scenes. / Speed was good. I actually listened on regular speed (rather than my usual 1.25) / Male voices were acceptable (though Cedar’s voice is not at all “deep” as described)

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: 1(?) swear / all the secrets (it’s a current pet peeve of mine)

--Narration: AVERAGE
--Enjoyment: AVERAGE
--Re-readability: AVERAGE

I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Jukebox.

Compendium by Alia Luria; read by Shiromi Arserio; produced independently by Willowslip Press in 2015 / Length: 9 hrs 51 min (Unabr) -- Buy Now




Tell us something about your lead character(s) that we don't already know. [Exclusive]

Cornelius isn't the lead in the Artifacts of Lumin series, but he's an important character to the series, and the readers don't know that he had his own falling out in the past with someone very special to him, and she'll be stirring up trouble in Ocularum.


Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?

I actively participate in all three mediums. Audiobooks are a constant in my car when I'm driving around. I probably listen to 10 or more audiobooks a year. I have had an Audible subscription since 2003, when I got my first iPod. I also have a Kindle, which I love to read in bed at night or to carry in my bag and read in the lunch line or during down time. I also use it for travel, so that I don't have to carry huge amounts of physical books when I'm on the go. Paper books have a special place in my heart. They are stacked up next to my couch, and I favor those when I'm curled up for some afternoon or evening reading in my living room. When I designed Compendium, I wanted to make sure that it was enjoyable to read as a paper book and had ample white space and was easy on the eyes.


How long did it take you to write this book?

From beginning to end, it took me about two years to write Compendium. I thought writing Ocularum would be quicker, since much of the world building has been done already, but the plot for each book becomes increasingly complex, so I have spent a lot of time in Ocularum working on plotting and making sure each character gets where they need to go in the best way possible!


What is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?

The hardest part about writing is balancing pacing, narrative distance, and plot points against your urge to just put words on the paper. A lot of that comes into play during the editing phase, but a certain amount has to be thought about up front, or I spend way too much time in complete re-write mode rather than editing mode. The easiest part of writing, for me, is dialog. It is different for every author.


Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know.

I'm a lawyer in my day job. I never have had the urge to write a story about a lawyer, but I recently had a great idea, and there may be a legal thriller from me at some point about a transactional lawyer. Transactional lawyers almost never get novels (except the tax lawyer in The Firm). I haven't decided whether it would be under my own name or a pseudonym. Also, Alia Luria is my real name. I do get asked about that sometimes.


If you would like to keep up to date on my forthcoming novel Ocularum or would like to get serialize access to my Lumin prequel, please visit and join my newsletter. Thank you!