Cover Image: Enlightenment

Enlightenment

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Member Reviews

This is one of those books that are easy to read yet filled with cultural information, I am not sure if that's the right description, but I learned more about Filipino Folklore.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me this eBook in exchange for an honest review.
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Unfortunately, for my older books requested I was unable to review probably. They were never read, not because they weren't great, but because I ended up sick. I am just now getting back into the swing of thinks. Thank you, Netgalley.
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I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. I have to honestly say that this book confused me from the get go. I did not have any previous knowledge of Filipino history or folk lore. I think that this book was written with the idea that those who would would have some of that information already. It was an okay written story, but it did take me sometime to work my way through this book and re-reading it did little to get read of my confusion.
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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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For those unfamiliar with Filipino Mythology, Enlightenment is a pretty good introduction.  With its worldbuilding, adventures and myths all rolled into one, Enlightenment will surely pull the reader into the world very rarely explored in world literature.
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I will preface this review by saying that this type of book is not normally my cup of tea. I dislike YA fantasy in general, but especially when it features vampires. But I was willing to give this book a chance, since it was about Filipino folklore, and talked a lot about the forgotten history of the islands that became the Philippines after Spanish conquest, and #weneeddiversebooks. Also it's written by a Filipino author, so #ownvoices

First the bad: The story is not very well written. The characters go from calm collected people to raving maniacs from one sentence to the next. There is way too much that isn't explained. I found both the narrators, Dorothy and Adrian annoying. I got sick of reading about the designer labels that every character in this book could inexplicably afford. However, the history written in this book was fascinating, and I learned a heck of a lot about what the Philippines were like before Spanish contact. There were things mentioned in the book that I wish had been explained a little more (the rebellion against Magellan, who died at the hands of Filipino warriors for example, or eskrima, the martial art of the Philippines) because unless you read this book already having knowledge of the Philippines you will be a little lost. The glossary the beginning of the book helps, but it isn't the greatest. I'm grateful my Filipino husband was able to fill in some of the vague parts for me. And I was able to talk to him about Alibata and Timawa/Tumao societies, which seem very interesting! Another amazing thing about this book was that there is a lot about contemporary Filipino people that mentioned within it, such as Ruby Ibarra. Look up the people mentioned in this book, and you will be glad you did. (Brown, brown women rise!)

I really did like this book because I learned a lot about history of the Philippines that I never thought about. My husband was the one who told me about Magellan's death at the hands of Filipino warriors, and about the similarities between written Arabic and Alibata, but this book goes even deeper. It talks about the ancient societies of the islands before Spain conquered the area. It mentions these islands relationships with other island nations that were never under Spanish rule, such as Indonesia. It talks about the original religions of the islands before Spain forced everyone to convert to Catholicism. It talks about the influence of Arabic on the languages in the Philippines. My only issue with these fascinating little pieces was that they were wrapped up in a story about vapid teenagers, which meant a character literally yells them out in random pieces and they aren't fully explained, although there are sources listed at the end of the book if you are interested in doing more research. And since this book is just scratching the surface of the bigger story (presumably this book is the first in a series that is forthcoming) it ended with a lot of unanswered questions. I will definitely keep an eye out for the rest of the series, and I would be curious if Filipino young adults like this book. Most people love YA fantasy, I'm just not one of them, which was probably why I didn't love this book, but it piqued my interest. And I will recommend it for purchase at my library.
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Enlightenment: Book One of the Bathala Series completely caught me off guard. I was expecting a coming of age/YA novel but what I got was a mini history lesson about the Philippines. Enlightenment was also a story about love, family, dedication, friendship and faith with a side of paranormal mixed in. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

I received this novel in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.
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This book was a quick read and really surprised me plotwise. I appreciate the rich Filipino culture woven into the book as well as it really creates a fresh world, different from any other YA book I've read. I'm a sucker for multiple perspective books when they are well written and this one was. I never felt pulled out of the story or jarred by the switch. Overall, I really enjoyed this read!
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Enlightenment is a different kind of story with unexpected elements. It's good to read about a culture that is under represented in the ya genre. It's informative in that regard. Beyond that, I did not realize this story would involve vampires. I'm not a vampire fan,so this aspect of the story I really disliked. It's an intriguing premise with likeable characters. Overall, it's not bad, but it's not my favorite either. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I didn’t realize this would be a vampire book (as other reviews have also expressed), and paranormal romance isn’t normally my go-to read. However, I thought the author did a great job of keeping me interested in the story. I also loved the inclusion of Filipino culture. 

However, I didn’t love the fact that so much of the story was similar to Twilight. And the last quarter of the book seemed to go off the rails—I personally didn’t like the ending, but that doesn’t mean other readers will dislike it. I would have given a 4 star rating if not for the last few chapters.
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I received a copy on Netgalley in exchange for a true and honest review. Enlightenment was a well written and put together story multicultural story. A telling of Dorothy and Adrian. It's a story of the history of the Phillipines. A story of friendship and love. The imagery Reno fosters is amazing and beautiful. The world building really had me think that I was really there. The story had me hooked most of the time. 
If you like to read/learn of different cultures then I highly suggest this book.
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Title provided in exchange for honest review via Net Galley

Huge plus and draw to me is the diversity. I harp so much about the cultural diversity in books. It sucks that a majority focus on white/caucasian characters. I really appreciate the expansion definitely of more Black, Hispanic, and Asian cultures.

That being said onto the actual story. I was surprised that this was a vampire story. It's usually associated with a different character demographic. So to see that woven into the story was rather interesting because it's just something different.

I'm not a fan of the new style of multiple point of views. I feel like authors need to make their characters really dynamic and unique to pull off a multiple perspective story. Just saying the opposite character in one pov and doing it in reserve in the other doesn't pull for a good dual pov title.

It's the culture of the story that makes this worth the read. The writing isn't spectacular and could use some refinement in style, but bringing something new and fresh is a lot in the reading world.
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I will keep my reader rant short, but after the last two chapters of Enlightenment by Reno Ursal Adrian must die. The beginning of the book is incredible, and I devoured it loving all the little tidbits on Filipino (sorry if I spelled it wrong) history. However, the ending had me feeling like I was reading a Twilight version for the Phillippines.

Poor Dorothy is the main female character, and she gets wholly pushed aside at the end which pissed me off.

For the extended reader's rant complete with profanities and spoilers, please check out my blog at https://bookgirlreviewsbooks.blogspot.com

3/5 stars
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Enlightenment explores the history of the Philippines from the viewpoints of Filipino American characters Dorothy and Adrian. The chemistry between them is quite interesting as they teeter between friendship and love. This was an enjoyable book to read, although some parts of it were hard to understand, perhaps because of my own ignorance of vampires. Plot wise the novel is intense, filled with a rich Filipino history and I got a true sense of the culture of the ancient Filipinos. A very interesting read. I was fortunate to receive this novel from Netgalley as an Advance Reader Copy, in exchange for an objective review.
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This book was received as an ARC from Pacific Boulevard Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Enlightenment really opens your eyes the dependency of love and survival through Dorothy and Adrian. The power and bond they have formed throughout the book was so magically powerful that you could feel their struggle throughout the book. Everyone looks at love as something that comes and goes but they never really look at the other side of the powerful connection you have with the one another, so powerful that it is needed for survival. A powerful message that readers will easily connect to.

This book will be considered for our YFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 4 stars.
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Enlightenment is a novel that definitely has the ability to keep the reader's interest throughout the course of the novel. Plot wise the novel is intense, filled with a rich Filipino history and the reader is really able to get a true sense of the culture of the ancient Filipinos. The novel takes a refreshing and interesting spin on the vampire and lets the reader view them not as humanities enemies, feasting off our blood without gratitude but as humanity's protectors. It is a good novel to read if you want something to escape into, its action packed scenes ensure that even the most reluctant readers will have trouble not seeing it through to the end.
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I love any book that's got a character who is comes to learn of some crucial part history of their being or culture, and this book serves that.
It fits the YA bill, with the curiosity, impatience, restlessness, uncertainty, love and drama. The chemistry between Dorothy and Adrian was quite interesting but what's even more interesting is the ending. It certainly sets the pace for the next book. Thank you Netgalley for the eARC.
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