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I'm a grad student, an avid reader, a huge nerd, fervent roleplayer, wife, cat lover, tea snob, and obsessive keeper of lists.
Illumination Night - Alice Hoffman Perhaps it is this book's misfortune that I read it while reading two other vivid, passionate books. (One comedy, one tragedy.) They were so full of life and colour and character that Illumination Night definitely suffered in comparison.

The characters in Illumination Night are painted in pastels, and not terribly detailed pastels at that. By the end of the book, with the exception of maybe one character, I couldn't have told you a damned thing about who any of them were or how they got that way. I could tell you some of the things they did over the course of the novel, but not one of them sprang to life on the page.

Except maybe the Giant.

I didn't know why agoraphobia so suddenly struck one character, or why one character was so abruptly suicidal, and then so abruptly not. I couldn't tell you why another character was so angry.

This would be because these issues were never explored, either through internal or external dialogue. They were described, but not examined. The characters simply were. And seemed remarkably static. I'm not sure anyone really changed over the course of the book.

And since the book starts with the eponymous Illumination Night, and there's another one (it's an annual affair) midway through the book, why doesn't it end with one as well? Why lay in the groundwork so obviously if you're not going to use it to tie everything together?

I was, quite frankly, bored. And, as I said, since I was reading this while recovering from having my mind blown by Handling Sin, what might have amused me as a impressionist meditation instead struck me as a lazy narrative.