The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge

The Synopsis:

What makes someone a monster?

The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong?

Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully.

When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away?

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


The Illumination Query

Imagine a dimly lit room with only a desk in the center, accompanied by a single chair. One man sits in the chair as he nervously explains his account of the story to the authority figure behind the desk. It’s a professional, top-secret interview that is being recorded. And all we can do is listen to the account of two men in order to make our judgement in trusting them about the story unfolded.

This is how I imagined The Illumination Query taking place. The story is told to us through the notebooks of Nigel and Ronald, but not as if we’re reading a diary. Both men speak their accounts to the narrator, Joel, who writes the story as the men tell him. So we very much are told two accounts of the same story.

I really did like this unique take on storytelling, at first. But I quickly found myself wishing that I could watch the story more and get more of a taste of the action that I only received a tease of. It’s such a well planned, well thought out story, and with very intriguing characters, that only listening to the character’s records of their battle with The Eclipse just didn’t seem like enough to me. I wanted to be in the action! This style of storytelling is what I would enjoy as a novella accompanying the novel, an additional “clip” to keep us engaged with the story, if you know what I mean.

I did get annoyed with how the characters included comments that seemed to have the only purpose of excusing a poorly written paragraph, such as the narrator saying “I never trained as a writer.” And while I do understand this being a part of the narrator’s character, I feel like the book should have reflected the author’s good writing, and I know that her writing is good based on how well this book’s theme fit together, more than a character’s bad writing, because to a reader, the two got blended together.

Also, unfortunately, I have to mention my distaste for the book cover (this is the cover on Amazon). Even though one of the most wildly used quotes is “don’t judge a book by its cover”, each and every one of us do. A book’s cover really will play a huge part in whether a book sells or not and this one just seems sloppy. A well done book cover is not that hard to do with the free resources available to writers these days, and a professional book cover really isn’t that expensive, especially if it will increase the probability of it selling.

So my overall opinion of The Illumination Query is a good opinion, but I think that the book could be improved to make it amazing. As I said, the story did intrigue me and I did want more, I just felt as if I missed out on a lot because of the limitations of reading “a notebook”. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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