Book Review: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Posted August 19, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: Illuminate by Aimee AgrestiIlluminate by Aimee Agresti
Series: Gilded Wings #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 6th, 2012
Genres: Angels & Demons, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 511
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.

3 Stars

The prevailing word that comes to mind when wanting to describe Illuminate is… average. Overall the story is an interesting one and it managed to absorb me and keep me reading, but it has some serious plot holes.

What drew me in is the cover. Look at that!! It’s amazing!! Serious love.

Haven I loved as a main character because it’s me. She just seemed exactly like me. I saw myself in her and through her narrations and possibly that’s what kept me reading so rapidly. An example: she’s always working super hard and everything to ensure that her future will be great, and sometimes forgets to live in the moment. I’d think of more but ehh I didn’t take *that* many notes.

I did like the Dorian Gray elements… Although at some points it did seem a bit too much of a carbon copy. It could have used a bit more originality. And sometimes it just felt really weird and unnatural.

In the first half of the book I mostly just kept asking myself why the hell Haven stayed there…

In the latter part, when Aurelia finally made her direct offers, I just kept asking myself why the hell she wasn’t surprised at how much Haven knew.

Lance was great. View Spoiler »

Really really great. Possibly the best part.

The most gaping plot hole that I just can’t shake is, “wtf about their school?” Seriously, what kind of high school lets their students take half a year of an internship? How does that work anyway? Do they still get to graduate on time? I can’t imagine they’d be excused from their classes because they learned NOTHING. All throughout the book this issue just kind of kept bothering me.

Summing Up:

Anyway. I liked it. It was a good read. It wasn’t brilliant or anything, but it was decent. I will read the next book in the series because it kept my attention and it had a lot of good in it. Oh, and I think a movie about this would be awesome.

Recommended To:

Not sure I would, actually. Fans of angels and the concept of Dorian Gray?

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