FeaturedYoung Adult Fantasy

The Flowers of Lemuria


Loved it! 😍

3.5 Stars with Intricate World-Building and a Stellar Story of Grief, Portal-Jumping, and What We Would Do Differently if We Had the Chance

If you're looking for an incredibly immersive story, akin in some ways to The Nine Lives of Chloe King, I Am Number Four, and even Percy Jackson, I think The Flowers of Lemuria by Riley Gipson could be the pick for you.

From the beginning, I found myself enthralled in human grief, immediately followed by being thrown into acclimating to a new place and a minor being forced to trust someone to take care of her who she has never known. Before Lilly (or we) can really find our footing, we become aware that there may be more to this world, and to this main character, than it might first seem.

I loved the difference in the plot from many books of this genre, tracking the possibility of aliens, demons, and portals over aliens and mythological creatures. While it contributes meaningfully to the genre, I think there's more to it, as well, as we see plotlines here of growing up, coming of age, romance, forbidden love, identity, diaspora, and more, that are so often cliche beyond the point of recognition. Between the writer's storyline and style, these tropes feel refreshed here.

Two (small) concerns I had (and the reason for my 3.5 instead of 4): I loved the more "human" fixations of the novel, such as grieving a lost family member, and I think that became muddled in all of the other plotlines that were going on. Also, the world-building felt a little heavy in places. I think it could have been broken up in a different way that could have kept the momentum of the novel going a little bit more, and it would have made the world-building more palatable. These two things were not dealbreakers by any means; I seriously love this writer's story and writing style, and I can't wait to see where she goes from here. Those were simply two distractions I had a few times in my journey through the book.

I really enjoyed this book, and I could see myself coming back to this world again if the writer permits!

Reviewed by

I live in Europe, where I work as a full-time freelancer, poet, novelist, and book reviewer. I received my MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where I began my work in publishing. My book reviews have appeared on The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, BookPage, and more.


About the author

Riley Gipson loves to curl up with a great book. Even more, she loves to create other worlds to visit. Riley lives in a small town in Alabama with her family and her rescue dogs. The Flowers of Lemuria is her debut novel. view profile

Published on March 02, 2022

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Reviewed by