Author: Alivia Anders
Release Date: January 7, 2012
Source: Purchased via Kindle
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence; Mild Language
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers of paranormal fiction, and those who can stomach a little violence while setting off on an epic adventure!
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For the past five months Essallie Hanley has been trying to forget about the frightening murder of her boyfriend. Haunted by vivid nightmares and hallucinations of the event she does anything she can to pretend she's like every other normal girl in High School.
Only Essallie is far from normal. Able to conjure blue fire and a shimmering silhouette of wings from her body, she seeks the only known solace left to her name; her first home in Belfast, Maine.
But she soon realizes that her return home is only the beginning of a long and twisted road taking her as far from her humanity as possible, with Kayden, the demon originally summoned to slaughter her, leading the way. Unable to touch her but oddly curious, he joins Essallie in her search to find out just what she is. But neither of them were prepared for the secrets they've begun to unravel, secrets that will change Essallie and everyone around her forever.
Illumine begins with a fateful decision to attend a party. Isn't that always the way? Essallie Hanley witnesses her boyfriend being murdered (quite viciously) by a demon, and her life changes forever. This book goes from humdrum, everyday life to violent death in matter of pages. If she hadn't attended that party, would all of this had happened? Who knows. All Essallie knows is that now she is in the middle of something huge, and it isn't going to be easy.
Let me start by saying that Essallie started out my least favorite character of the book. It's mainly Kayden's fault to be honest. Despite being an evil demon, he's quite debonair! However it was also because Essallie was so stubborn at times that she didn't want to listen to reason. Still, I read on. I'll be honest, she grew on me. By the time that I was midway through the book, both Essallie and Kayden stole the show for me. Their witty banter, their smoldering hidden feelings, all of it meshed beautifully and I was smitten. So just a heads up reader friends, if you don't like Essallie at the beginning, never fear! Her story is well worth your time.
What really drew me into Illumine I started to mention above. It is the quick pace that this story takes on. There is a great mix of action and build up, putting Essallie into all types of situations. I really enjoyed the breadcrumbs that Anders leaves for the reader throughout the book. As Essallie is struggling to figure out what she is, and what her purpose is, so is the reader. Uncovering her background was a lot of fun. My one gripe with the scenes in this book were that they were sometimes slightly choppy between one chapter and the next. I hope for a little smoother transition in the next book.
Honestly, I warred with myself for quite a while on what rating to give Illumine. In the end I decided on the rating above mainly because of the editing. It was tough. The story here is great, despite the chapter hops. The characters are wonderful and, I think, the strongest part of Illumine. As a package, this is a fantastic book! I see great things coming around the bend from Alivia Anders. There were so many mini cliffhangers at the end of this book! I cannot wait for more of Essallie and Kayden.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.