Mirah W's Reviews > The Illuminator

The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
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Aug 20, 11


The Illuminator was an excellent read! Wonderful characters and believeable circumstances. I think Vantrease did a great job intertwining the lives of real and fictional characters. In a discussion with the author, Vantrease acknowledges that two of her characters were not initially intended and ended up taking roles she had not expected...and I think these are the two best characters in the book: sweet Magda and loyal Half-Tom. These two characters take on key roles and, without their actions, the plot would have taken a different path. The plot manages to balance many different themes: love, loss, religious corruption, loyalty, revenge, faith, and friendship. Even characters who want the same things (freedom, love, acceptance) make very different choices and express themselves in very different ways making them all seem more realistic and flawed. While some people see the ending as too depressing, I feel it was a realistic (although heartbreaking at times) ending given the historical context. Kudos for this author's first novel...hopefully there will be more (the ending seemed to allow for a sequel).
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