Thursday, August 8, 2013

Memorable Worlds: Luster


My Experience with this World: 

When I was twelve or so, my mom brought the book Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville home from the library and handed it to me. I eyeballed it for a while, decided that the unicorn looked intriguing and dove in. When the ending promised more story to come (not a true cliff hanger, but there was plenty of unresolved plot), I returned to library and got book two, Song of the Wanderer. Since that had twice the unresolved plot than the first did, I returned to the library to find ... they didn't own the next book.

Every time I returned to the library after that, I'd walk past the C's to see if the next book was there or not. During this time, I found a copy of the first book at a garage sale and convinced my mom to buy it for me. I also fantasied the ending.

It was not until I was fifteen that I thought to ask the library if they would order the last two books for me. I had looked it up online one day, and therefore knew the titles. I was somewhat disappointed that there would only be two more books ... but once they came, I decided it wasn't so bad. Each book had to be at least twice the size of the one before!

I was quite pleased with the ending, and while there are a few elements of the book that I didn't care much for, on a whole, I really enjoyed it. (Most of his books are a bit weird, but one of them is possibly the best retelling of "Toads and Diamonds" I've read. Jennifer Murdley's Toad.)


This is a bit of a plot spoiler, since Luster's origins are not revealed until the last two books. (Forget which one, since I read them at the same time. Yes, same time. Naughty Kendra. That's why I usually don't allow myself to have more than one book of a series out at the same time.)

But anyways, if you don't mind plot spoilers, I'll go ahead and tell you. You see, in this world system, there are a race of people who are "less than divine, but more than mortal" and they have creative powers, that is, they can create living creatures. They are not, however, supposed to make worlds ... which is what one of them does and how Luster came into being. The unicorns were made by his best friend. I shan't say anything more since, as I've said before, it's plot spoilery.

And really, this is my least favorite part of this world, so I shan't dwell on it.


Unfortunately, my book doesn't have any maps in it, and I can't find any stealable maps online ... so I shall direct you to the amazon page of book four and tell you to click on the "look inside" option and scroll down a few pages. There's a map there. Unfortunately, I can't stick it here.

Luster is a small world, much smaller than earth, but has quite a bit packed into it nonetheless. In the center is the Axis Mundi, which is a large tree that holds the world together.

There are also forests and caves and mountains pains and deserts. There aren't any major cities, but the Unicorns have four "home bases" that they travel between depending on the season. (They're called Summerhaven, Springdale, Winter Keep, and Autumngrove, appropriately) and there is the Centaur Valley. (Bet you can't guess what lives there!)

Luster is surrounded by an ocean, which, according to this map, is inhabited by mermaids, but I don't remember reading about them.

There are seven (or was it nine?) portals between earth and Luster, all of them heavily guarded, because there are humans in Earth who want to kill the unicorns.

Peoples and Culture:

The main inhabitants in Luster are unicorns. Horses with horns on their heads, all of them solid white. Their horns have healing properties, but using it taxes the unicorn's strength. They are also capable of telepathy, and they can gift humans and (presumably) other creatures with it, but I don't feel like telling you about how the do it. It's ... kinda weird. Weird in a good way, but it makes more sense reading it. Unicorns aren't native to Luster, but they were intended to live there.

Besides the humans, there are also Delvers, which are a gnome-like people with big eyes and prefer the underground. For the first two or three books, they're presented as villains, but in the last two books, they shape up and get nicknames. I don't remember whether or not they were intended to live there or not, but I'm thinking that they weren't.

Then there are the humans. Most of them are the ones that have stumbled through the portals, and none of them are of the family that hunts the unicorns. (The Hunters that do are put to sleep, though I don't remember where they're stored). Some of them have magic of some sort, and some of them have been gifted long life by the Unicorn Queen.

There are seven Dragons in Luster, all of them different. They were supposed to go to another world, but the portal to that one closed, so they went to Luster instead. Most of them are fine with that. We only meet three in the course of the series, and every one is different. One of them was once a human girl.

And there are centaurs, but you don't meet them until book three. Their king is called The Chiron, and he is very old. The only way for him to die is for someone with royal and magic blood in their veins to break a special egg. I don't remember much else about them other than the fact that they were holding a contest to determine the new king after that happened, and that none of them wore any sort of clothing.

There were some dwarves, but you only met one or two, and I don't remember much about them.

And there were two oddball creatures called the Dimblethum and the Squidjum (sp?) The Squijum was a squirrel-like creature that, though it was intelligent, had severe ADHD. The Dimblethum considers itself the rightful inhabitant of Luster, and resents the Unicorns and others, though it has developed a friendship with some of them.

What I like about this world:

The unicorns! Also the way the portals and amulets worked. (Did I forget to mention the amulets? Well, you see, they're made of gold, crystal and unicorn hair, and they're kinda like travelling portals.) I loved the dragons ... and the stories and legends.

I also loved the ending. It was a hard-won Victorious Ending (as Jen classifies them) and the dealt with the villainess EXACTLY how I wanted her to end with. As a result, she's one of my favorite villains out there.

What I don't like:

This was clearly a non-christian world, as evidenced by the story of its origin. It worked, but I was uncomfortable reading those portions. I also didn't like that the centaurs didn't wear clothes. But ... not many centaurs in fiction do.

What I learned from this world: 

After reading the first two books, I became OBSESSED with unicorns, and I still enjoy them a lot. As a result, there are unicorns in Rizkaland (though they're called harandas there), The Land of Magic, and some other worlds.

I also learned a bit about how to develop backstory for your world, and how to weave it into your plot seamlessly. It's called convenient storytellers, my friend.

These world-building posts are for the promotion of the upcoming release of my book The Ankulen. Feel free to do one yourself, just make sure you refer back to my blog and let your readers know about my upcoming book. If you do write a post, post a link in a comment somewhere on my blog and I'll add you to a giveaway for a copy of my book. Multiple entries are allowed (Nay - encouraged!), and one out of every three may be a world of your own.

And ... since I didn't have a map, I shall share a peek at The Ankulen's cover with ya'll.


  1. When I first read this, I was obsessed with unicorns already...I read the first two books and enjoyed them a lot. When the last two came out, I liked them all right, but they got a little weird...for example, the 'demigods.' Great post! :)

    1. Agreed! First two books - amazing! Second two ... good, but weird. I love how Beloved was dealt with, though, since that was almost EXACTLY what I had been imagining would happen, down to who would "heal" her.

  2. I entered again.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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