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Title: Illuminaire

Author: Bryn Shutt

Genre: YA Fantasy, Christian Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.


This book was marketed as a story about guys who need wives. So naturally, I hastened to sign up for a review copy. Because what else do I need but more book boyfriends? I knew little about the story going in, only that it featured three male POV characters and that the first line of the blurb read like a joke gone wrong. I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed this little story.


Ah yes, the guys who need wives… Frankly, I only saw two who actually needed wives. The first is Desmond. He’s an introspective, introverted musician-turned-soldier. It took me a second, but I quickly grew to love him.

Then there’s Luca. A confusing man, to be sure, but the poor guy just needs someone to love him. Bless his broken little heart.

Laudilas just ain’t ready for a wife yet. He’s a charmer, and he has potential, but he needs to grow up first. A lot.

And as for Kennet, he has a lot going on in his life. He was a cool immortal guy. I’d like to know more of his backstory.


The story is lighthearted, but that veils an extremely dark world. The city in which the story takes place is New Orleans on steroids. The whole thing is set on a grisly holiday known as La Notte, a night when all sin goes and people can do whatever they please without consequences. There are veiled references to the sins they commit.

One character mistakes another for a prostitute. (He’s quite uninterested in what he thinks she’s offering.) A character recounts a story of how he witnessed another resist sexual temptation.

People are murdered on La Notte. In one (largely undetailed) sequence, a group of people are burned to death.

A character gets drunk a couple of times.


The author writes as if she’s a sarcastic onlooker reporting the events of the story. (That probably doesn’t make much sense…) It makes for a fun read, as we get to laugh at the characters while also feeling for them and their troubles. There are some poetic passages that really stand out. It was a little hard to follow all the details and keep up with all the names, but overall the story flows smoothly.


This was a fun read, one that’s short enough to finish in a couple of days. The world is a unique mix of Italy and New Orleans; I was especially intrigued by the religions of the society. I’d recommend this to ages 14+ who need a beautiful reminder of how powerful God is in the midst of darkness.

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