Friday, March 15, 2013

Review of Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Title/Author: Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1) by Aimee Agresti
Publisher/Date published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 6th 2012
How I got this book: bought it

Goodreads summary: 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?

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. I did like it, but I just had some issues with it.

Haven is a smart girl and I LOVED that. She's that girl who does her best in class because she knows what she wants: to be a doctor. So of course I could relate to that! I liked that she had a really great relationship with her adoptive mother and that her friendship with Dante. Of couse she's slightly dazzled by all the glitter of the Lexington and it's staff, but seriously, who wouldn't be?

I liked the part where she gets clues from a book where the writing appears at night when she's alone, it was kinda neat. I just would have liked for Haven to be a bit more curious as to WHO or what was telling her these things and why. She just seems to accept everything and it made me a little iffy. I mean, I would have been totally freaked out and she mostly just takes everything in stride. It's not every day you find out your new boss and your crush are taking souls, are evil and that you're supposed to stop them. I mean, seriously?
Also, I didn't really get why she stayed on at the hotel after some bad things happened. I mean, sure it's all noble to want to take them down and everything, but do you need to sleep under the same roof as these demons for that?? Especially after they found a secret passage in, I could have seen them doing a surprise attack.

I kinda loved Dante, though he's the stereotypical gay best friend you came across in YA a lot. He was fun, but I thought it was a little weird that he wasn't only an excellent cook, but a great stylist AND gave a mean haircut. That's a LOT of accomplishments for being a 16-year-old guy and it made me roll my eyes somewhat.

I did really like the parts we get to see about Haven's powers developing and I thought the thing with the pictures (yes, I'm being cryptic, but it's a spoiler otherwise) was really cool! I also really liked the friendship that develops between Haven and Lance.

As for the romance, I could see how Haven could be dazzled by Lucian, he just didn't do all that much for me, even though he is charming and handsome and everything.
I did totally roll my eyes at the whole confession towards the end that it was actually Lance who'd kissed Haven pretty early on in the story because the lights went out and he decided to 'take a chance'. I mean, seriously? And what did he hope to gain by that when Haven didn't know it was him? SERIOUSLY? I like them as a couple, but that was just slightly ridiculous.

So as you can see, Illuminate left me with mixed feelings. I did like the story in general, but it was a pretty big book and it seemed to take me forever to read it. I did like the characters, but some stuff made me roll my eyes. I am really curious to see what'll happen next though, so I'm going to start Infatuate soon!

My rating: 3 stars


  1. It sounds like it was a little all over the place.
    And Like it had some good stuff and some not so good.
    And YAY! for doing the TBR pile challenge! I kind of gave up on it.

  2. This sounds pretty interesting to me! I'm intrigued by the idea of Haven getting these mysterious instructions without explanation - as I'm sure we find out some things about it in the end!