Review: Illuminated by Erica Orloff

IlluminatedIlluminated by Erica Orloff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I finished reading Illuminated only because I wanted to find out what happened with the Book of Hours. I wasn't fond of the writing, I didn't feel any connection to the characters, and the story was really flat.

When Calliope first meets August, they automatically like each other. For no reason other than her uncle introduced them, and thought they were perfect for each other. Insta-love is one thing I am not a fan of, but this was the fastest relationship ever. After the first day they can't sleep at night for thinking of the other, and texting with 'I miss you' messages. It's just not believable that you can feel so much for someone when you have only spent 5 minutes with them.

Calliope and August are helping to track down the origins of an old book that is believed to have ties to Heloise and Abelard - the greatest love story ever told. Because, obviously, we all know the story of Heloise and Abelard. I have vague memories of hearing the story before, but by no means are they as well known as we are led to believe in Illuminated.

Almost from the beginning, Calliope and August decide that they are like Heloise and Abelard - fated to be together forever and soulmates and just maybe reincarnated from Heloise and Abelard. You can't decide you are soulmates and then start acting like you have the greatest love ever. What bothered me the most about Calliope and August's relationship is that it is told to us, and not shown. I really wanted and needed to see and experience their relationship firsthand, and that didn't happen.

The mystery surrounding the old book fell really flat. There was a dangerous 'mystery person' who was steals books called the Tomb Raider who was briefly mentioned - but the person never materialized. And Calliope and August's 'search' for the origins of the book was too easy. They ended up running off to Paris to find answers, and there they were visited in their dreams by Heloise and Abelard. Sounds believable, right?

I finished reading this book, but just barely. Sadly, I didn't understand the ending (the origins of the book). Maybe it was just me, but I don't get it. I started reading Illuminated with an open mind, and from the synopsis it sounded really good. Overall, I was very disappointed with every aspect of this book - the story itself, the insta-love, the search, and the mystery surrounding the Book of Hours.
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  1. Great review! I probably won't be reading this book. I need stronger characters and the insta-love ain't working for me.

  2. First of all, it was so awesome that the heroine was SMART and nice, and someone you could really root for. I loved August, the love interest (also very smart). And then I loved the idea that everything--even ancient books--have secrets. The entire book was about discovering hidden things--about yourself, your parents, family secrets . . . and the illuminated manuscript. And there were all these intersecting love stories . . . this book had something for everyone.


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