Illumine by Alivia Anders | Book Review
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When Essallie’s boyfriend invites her to the opening night of his art display, she never expects to witness a murder. Fast forward five months and Essallie is still haunted by her boyfriend’s death. Everywhere she turns Kayden, the demon responsible, shows her grisly images of that night five months ago. To make things worse, Essallie’s starting to discover she might not be human. Essallie’s journey for the truth will involve angels, demons, and powers beyond anything she could have imagined.
Illumine was a rocky road. Essallie was not a likable character. At the start, she seemed to be forced into living among social acolytes. But as the story progresses, readers will learn she carries an attitude well worth being one. She’s quick to anger and does not think over situations. And despite not wanting to act like the popular crowd in New York, when she moves back to her hometown she steps right back into the party girl personality.
One of the main goals for Essallie as a character was to keep the origin of her abilities secret. Yet despite being told to keep her true nature hidden both she and various other characters begin to tell others. Not to mention a spectacular display of her powers right in her front yard. As I read the aforementioned scene I waited for the conflict to arise where a passer-by saw her powers. It would be the perfect moment to create drama and tension, yet it never happened. If the intention was to never keep her ability secret, the plot point shouldn’t have been brought up, to begin with.
What kept me reading was the conflict of interest between Kayden and Essallie. However, as the relationship between them switched from hostile to receptive my confusion grew. Readers will witness scene after scene of Kayden torturing and taunting Essallie. Trust should be gradual and difficult to grow between the characters, if at all. And without proper character development, the trust formed between Kayden and Essallie felt forced.
Illumine by Alivia Anders is a book for those who enjoy the theme of angels vs. demons. It’s fast moving and the writing style does more telling than showing. It’s also more of a novella sitting at 160 pages. The rest of the novel is previews of other books. Unfortunately, this is not a series I will be continuing to read.
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