When I received a request from the author Billie Kowalewski for a fair review, I was more than willing to read her book, “Enlightened”. The title sounded interesting and the story unique. I began reading and here are my thoughts.
The characters sweep you along into their lives, making you want to read more. Harmony’s troubles as she tries to figure out what the problem is with Kaleb and her dilemma as she struggles with her lessons on Earth are engaging. Kaleb is more difficult to understand but as the story is told from Harmony’s point of view, first person, this follows her understanding, providing her feelings about him and her other friends. The conflict between the pair is what drives the story and creates the most engaging aspects of the novel.
The supernatural concept in the novel is unique, the idea that Earth is where we learn our lessons and then return to the afterlife to spend the rest of our time. I like the way the author shows us the different lives of the group and their afterlife. As you get to know more about the world and what Harmony’s purpose is, you want to read more.
I did find the story unbalanced along the way, with far more exposition than action. I felt that some of the story could have been left out, some of the day to day events to further the pacing and build more tension in the plot. The characters are interesting but the entire novel needed a better balance between action, dialogue and exposition. I loved the descriptions of certain places, especially the use of imagination in creating those places but I would have loved more action.
The ending did leave me wanting to know more, especially as you just get to the action and conflict at the end of the story. I really liked what the author was going for, in her development of her concepts but again, I would have liked to have been shown more, especially developing more tension and moving the story along at a faster pace. Overall, it is a good novel but could be improved with more balance in the different components.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.