Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

By 9:57 PM , , , , ,

Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1)
  by: Aimee Agresti

Publication Date: Mar. 6, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from e-library
Page Count: 534 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

                    -goodreads.com description

I had Illuminate on my e-book library list for awhile now and finally within the last week it became available for me to read. I was intrigued by the summary (see above) and decided to give it a shot.

Overall, I would say that I liked this book, though it really did take a long time to set up the plot and really get moving. Agresti is very detailed and I felt some things were drawn out a bit unecessarily. But, after awhile, there was just enough intrigue to keep pushing through and finally towards the last half of the book, we really got rolling and I couldn't stop reading.

Haven is really no one special. In fact, she is almost invisible in high school. She is quiet and is described as plain. This job opportunity falls into her lap, and she and her best friend and another classmate are whisked away to work in Chicago's Lexington Hotel. Here they are assigned to work with the elite, beautiful socialites if you will, of Chicago. However, my motto of this book would be, "At the Lexington, nothing is as it seems." Perfect and shiny on the outside, but horrible, evil, and ugly on the inside.

Aurelia is Haven's mentor, and from the beginning, you know she is trouble. She is powerful and commanding, which is the complete opposite of Haven.

Lucian, is her second in command, and Haven falls for him instantly. Good-looking, powerful, arrogant, and charming- you know that he is just too good to be true.

Dante, is Haven's best friend, who is her rock for the beginning of the book. Unlike Haven, he is outgoing and adventurous, and helps her come out of her shell for her first little bit at the Lexington. However, Dante begins drawing away from Haven, and she finds herself befriending their classmate, Lance.

Oh, Lance. Dante actually referred to him as the 'Clark Kent' type in the later portion of the book and I have to agree. He is quiet and reserved, like Haven, but brilliantly smart and she finds herself working with him on multiple occasions. Agresti really did not build his character or really have him show any kind of depth until the last half of the book. However, he ended up being one of my favorites.

As the book progresses, we find out Haven is indeed very special, and obtains guidance through a mysterious journal to help her find out the deep underlying secret of the Lexington Hotel. Haven is much more important than she knows and will literally face the forces of Hell to prove this.

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  1. Great review, I am looking forward to reading and exploring this one myself :)

    1. Thanks! Even though it started off slow, I'm so excited for the second book to see what happens next!

  2. It sounds like I would really connect with Haven.
    Sorry it took a bit to get started but glad that you enjoyed over all.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. Definitely a good read, and I really did like seeing Haven come into her own.


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