The basic storyline that was utilized to develop the plot for this book was very sound and imaginative. But, the writing of the stry was very simplistic. No real mysteries were left for the the reader to discover on their own, prior to the suthor explaining everythig. The climatic parts of the book were not very climatic and the ending a deflation.
Here's what a quote from the back of the book says. ". . .this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar. . . if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded Da Vinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated. . . ."
I must agree. This book is a whirlwind of details and adventure. Some of the details were a little (OK, maybe a lot) more gory and gruesome than I care for. . . so I skipped over a few bits here and there. I give it a lower rating because of this. But the rest of it was non-stop action, and with the double agent aspect it was sometimes a bit hard to keep the plot-line straight. This book has conspiracy theories and secret codes hidden in plain sight, ancient organizations reforming again, and the "good guy" solving the riddle of a treasure to save his life.
just looking at the pictures is great. The story is about a rare book and it's hidden meaning.
The review on the back of this book that compared it to the movie National Treasure was spot on. I really wanted to like this book, and perhaps I need to change the context in which I view it. Like National Treasure, it aspires to intellectualism but gets caught up in wise-guy dialogue and badly sketched out characters. There's so much good fiction out there that I can't suspend my disbelief enough to be OK with characters who feel it necessary to banter with each other despite the life-or-death situations of their loved ones. The plot was extremely contrived....but to be fair, so were the plots of the Dan Brown novels I found far more enjoyable. I guess Illuminated just seemed like a Dan Brown parody to me, and the twist is that it wasn't a parody at all.
Like National Treasure, I found it mildly entertaining/amusing as I got through it, but I wouldn't put myself through it again. Having hoped for greater things, I already received the sequel through PBS, but if book 2 proves to be in the same vein as this one, I'll stop there.