Review – Illuminate
  • Posted:
  • November 30, 2011

I’ve been reading Illuminate by Aimee Agresti for a week…and I’ve only made it 315 pages. That is never a good sign. This 2012 debut novel is set to wow a lot of readers. I, however, did not love it. I wavered the whole way through, I hemmed and hawed, and then I just hit my wall. I can’t do it. It’s too religious in tone for me.

The premise is interesting. Haven Terra is one of select few to win a privileged  internship at the up and coming Lexington Hotel in Chicago. The salary is good and the opportunity is promising and Haven snatches it up. Dante and Lance are the other new interns and the three of them are soon caught up in a whirlwind of excitement in the posh world within the Lexington. But there is a secret; a secret between Aurelia (the owner) and Lucian (her right hand man) and the powers that keep the hotel running.

I so wanted to love this. It’s part Dorian Gray, part The Shining, and part Devil Wears Prada. I really wanted to adore this. However, it has a big strike against it from the get go. It’s a good vs. evil book and the “good” are represented as angels and the “bad” are demons. It has a Christian heavy mythos that doesn’t work for me. It’s also very predictable. I called the love interests, called the ending (which I skimmed), called the reason behind it all…yeah. There was a brief point where I absolutely had to know where it went but I failed to keep with it. Christian angel stories do not work for me. Demonized utter baddies do not either. It’s so black and white and only services to highlight one belief in one type of God. These kind of religious agendas turn me off in a heartbeat. So, I’m declaring a moratorium on them as of now. No more angel books. I can’t do them any more. They are too much everything that I don’t believe in and I can’t give any more time to them.

If you are looking for a neat setting and a couple of good characters and an interesting plot…and don’t mind the preachy underlying canonical dogma…this will work for you. However, it does not work for me. I don’t see anything redemptive about the message Agresti is trying to send.

1 out of 5 stars.

– BP

* Illuminate releases March 6, 2012.

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