Sunday, May 20, 2012

Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1) by Aimee Agresti: review

Goodreads rating: 3.78
514 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Borrowed ARC
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.
Illuminate is a triumphant debut novel full of mystery, suspense, and even unexpected romance. I was surprised by how much I liked Illuminate, only because it hasn't gotten the best reviews. Everyone was saying how slow and boring it was, but I liked that all this mystery was taking place in a confined space. I wish I could tell you more about this book, but that would totally take away some of the appeal of it. You know something's off about Haven and her best friend and this random geek being sent to work at a historic hotel and not having to go to school. That's every kids dream! Okay, maybe only for people like me who are total suckers for mob history, but still. I loved everything about the setting, and I think this story needed a slow buildup. 
The romance in this book was... interesting. From the ending, I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen. It's obvious that Haven falls for Lucian right off the bat. He's a gorgeous guy that's brooding and seems to have some sort of relationship with Aurelia, AKA bog boss lady. It's all kinds of forbidden, but Haven doesn't even know the half of it. But Lucian can't keep who he is secret for long, and as Haven begins to piece things together, she realizes that Lucian is not all he's cracked up to be. But is it too late for her heart? Or is there someone else? You'll have to find out. But the romance aspect itself was predictable once you got past a certain point. It was more like I was waiting for the inevitable, but Lucian continued to surprise me.
This book is pretty dark. Like possibly selling souls dark. But I think that's why I didn't mind the boring stuff. You could feel that something was going to happen, and Agresti wrote in a way that was exciting. I didn't know this was going to be a [insert popular YA genre] book, but I think it's a great one. It gave a whole new perspective on the genre, and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Honestly, I have no idea what's going to happen in the second book. But I think it's safe to say that some of the characters are going to come back with a vengeance, and we still don't know exactly what Haven's powers are. Also, the cover is gorgeous. A special thanks to Anna for letting me borrow her ARC of it (even though it took me forever to read it). Definitely pick this one up. This book wasn't slow for me, but if you feel yourself getting bored, push through. It's worth it!


  1. I was surprised by how much I liked this book to. I personal felt it was a little slow but the build up is what kept it intersting.

  2. I like your review and I am happy to hear that you liked this book.
    I never read it but it is on my To read list for a while.

    Have a great weekend!


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