Synopsis: Gabriella's past is a mystery, but that never stopped her from achieving her goals. As a supernatural specialist, and far more intelligent than anyone her age, she has always been ignored by her peers. Because of the isolation she has always felt, she put her life and soul into her job. Being a supernatural specialist hasn't given her the divine intervention she always longed for, until one day a shipment arrives from Italy containing three dead bodies with an uncanny ability to regenerate. Gabriella is frightened and intrigued, but not as scared as she becomes when a dark creature attacks her. As the bodies come back to life, the plot takes an unexpected twist that you won't see coming. The supernatural world only begins to unfold before her as angels appear, her dreams start to haunt her, and the very past she has forgotten comes back with startling clarity. Romance blooms, escape plans are made, an assassin is out to kill her, and death is only around the corner. But what is more terrifying than all of it is the fact she is the chosen one, the Illuminator, the one who will save them all.
My Review: I have to start off by saying that I’m kind of on the fence with this book. It’s definitely one of those books where you like a lot of things about it, but you just can’t ignore the disappointing aspects of the novel. I really enjoyed it, but just can’t help but wish certain parts were done differently.
From the beginning I was hooked. I’ll admit it right here and now. As much as I am about to criticize this novel, I will freely admit I was freakin glued to at least the first five chapters, probably more. The prologue really grabbed my attention. I was immediately trying to piece together what had happened and what it all meant and just gah! Flash forward prologues just torture me. When the three corpses are first opened in Gabriella’s lab I was even more sucked into the story. I was definitely thinking to myself “Oh man this is going to get really interesting!” And that’s when things started to go south. Plots moving along nicely and then bam! The most random ass piece of unnatural disaster I have ever come across in a novel just pops up out of nowhere. I felt like I was being Punked. Just kidding! Here’s what really happened! Except that Ashton Kutcher didn’t magically appear in my living room accompanied by a camera crew. I was literally flabbergasted, and not in a good way. I eventually got over it and moved on. As much as I loathe “soul-mate” romance plots I couldn’t help but get sucked into Gabriella’s and Andrews. Nothing even really happened! Well nothing in the steamy category but I just totally loved the two of them. They just… clicked ya know? And I’m enough of a romantic at heart to appreciate that. At least there were no declarations of undying love immediately. Just a very strong connection that sparked. Literally.
Thankfully there were no more “You have got to be kidding me” moments in the book. The plot from then on out was truly captivating and very surprising. I didn’t see any of the little plot twists coming. It was all really masterfully done. I really did love Laura’s version of angels. I could literally hug her for not making them God related. That is just one thing I cannot get over in most angel related books. It actually reminded me of another book I own. It dealt with immortals, but the whole idea of a small group of people with magical abilities becoming a whole new race is just awesome. I really thought it was original and really commend her for that. Plus all the lore and history of the Angel race. Wow. I mean I really have to hand it to her, that was some pretty awesome stuff. To create a world that rich in history and detail takes true talent and she did a masterful job with it. While there were many aspects of this novel I really adored, there are just some minor disappointments that can’t be ignored.
I don’t think I have ever read a 500+ page novel before and thought the plot moved too fast. I didn’t think it was POSSIBLE, yet I still feel like that. I think the problem is with the transitions from plot twist to plot twist. The beginning especially so, because it is the moment in the novel where the reader is first getting a glimpse at a whole new world and I felt like it was thrown in my face. I just didn’t feel like Gabriella’s reactions were believable. I mean she got over the whole “Angels exist” PDQ and just accepted what came next all in stride. I’m sorry but people just don’t react like that. One thing all humanity has in common is denial in the face of the incredible. Gabriella’s reactions further into the novel bothered me as well. They just didn’t strike me as believable and it felt like the author was trying too hard to get an emotional impact. Especially with grief. She just hit us up with so much pain and sorrow back and forth that it didn’t emotionally impact me at all. I didn’t share Gabriella’s grief, I just wanted her to shut up. If she was more subtle about it, with a more gradual decline from shock and denial to acceptance it would have been fine.
Apart from a few more cheesy moments it was fine. The ending totally threw me though. I was in shock from that plot twist. Though I don’t think it was all that well explained, it definitely threw me for a loop. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in this new trilogy, not only to see what happens, but to see how the authors’ writing has grown. I have a feeling that these books will only get better and better, and I’ll get over the minor let downs. I can already tell more unexpected plot twists are to be had in the sequel and I can’t wait to continue reading. I will tell you right here and now, it is going to be intense.