Title: Bianca de Lumiere
Author: Lisette Prende
Published: 8th August 2020
Synopsis: “Why can’t I just be a normal teenager?”
“Oh Bee, there’s no such thing as a normal teenager.”
“There’s gotta be something more normal than all of this!”
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Taylor just wants to be a normal teenager, but normal has never come naturally to her.
Not only is she known as the Albino of Pentacle High, but Bianca is also an auric-empath; able to see and feel the colourful auras of those around her.
To make matters worse Bianca has started sleepwalking; waking to find herself naked in the forest, with visions of demonic beasts fresh in her mind. At first, she sees her nighttime wanderings as harmless. But when a local rancher goes missing, after a run of gruesome cattle killings, Bianca starts to fear for her safety.
A handsome stranger appears in town, telepathically warning Bianca that she is in danger. But does he also hold the answers to who, and what, she really is?
Set in a world where everyone whispers about the urban supernatural legends, and bullies Bianca because she’s pale, Bianca de Lumiere is struggling with her identity. She wants to be normal – but she isn’t, and when strange things start happening to her and around her, Bianca is set to discover something about herself and her father that she never saw coming. Bianca has always been able to feel people’s auras, and is an auric-empath – but it is the strange goings on that start to make Bianca question her safety. When things start going wrong, Bianca wonders what is going on – and who is behind it all.
I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy – fantasy using our world as a backdrop, so this was a new thing for me. Bianca’s journey is intriguing, and things are revealed slowly as we meet her, and through flashbacks. The story explores issues of identity and finding out who you are in a world where everyone thinks you are a freak, where being different makes you stand out for all the wrong reasons to those around you, except those you trust.
Danger lies around every corner, and Bianca and her friends need to find out what is going on, whilst discovering who they are, and navigating high school, bullying and ideas of feminism and the role that women play in society. Coupled with a mystery that gets the FBI involved, this has hints of well-trodden ground we saw in Buffy, but with a unique twist that situates this book within the genre and for the audience it is aimed at.
Without giving too much away, this is a cleverly written novel that evokes a sense of wonder and fear, and pulls the reader into an intriguing world that will evolve this genre as the trilogy goes along.