Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Illuminate (Gilded Wings #1)
By Aimee Agresti
Published: March 6th, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, 528 pages

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.

4 Stars

My thought process behind deciding to read this book: Soul stealing, huh. I think I'll read this. 

Illuminate opens with Haven, and explains what her life is currently like and how she came to be where she is. Haven is a nerdy, shy girl who has no social life and only one friend. Although she may be a cliche, I think that many people can relate to her in that they are also smart and work hard to get into a good college. Haven is nice, but my favorite character is definitely Lance. He started out shy and quiet, but he evolves into someone else while creating new friendships, and really steals the scene at the end. 

When they start working at the hotel, I love the lush descriptions that really bring the hotel to life. I can picture everything, from the opulent and grand building itself, the stunningly perfect employees, to the dark and electrifying club. It is seen through Haven's eyes, and really shows all of the glitz and glamor.

 Eventually though, I noticed how slow the plot moved. It became slightly boring, especially since we find out all of the secrets bit by bit, in a slow and leisurely manner, which isn't very exciting. It was interesting, but not exciting, I was just waiting to learn the good stuff. 

Generally I quite liked the plot, but there were some questions that were left hanging. For instance, what happened in Haven's childhood, how was she abandoned and what happened to her before that? Also, what are her actual abilities besides soul seeing, can she do anything else? The reason why I'm not very annoyed about it is because I expect to learn more in the continuing books. 

Overall, Illuminate had wonderful writing and beautiful scenery. I didn't love it, but I definitely liked it, and will continue on with the series. 

Purchase this book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository 


  1. I've noticed in many series, I usually won't enjoy the first book as much as many people around me did. But I find myself loving and enjoying the second book a lot more. Maybe it's just me. But I usually give the second book in a series a shot. But if I didn't like the first nor the second, I don't take the time to read the third. Awesome review! Thanks for being honest!

    Want to spread the word about your blog? Be featured at Turning Pages!

    1. Thanks, and I'm pleased that you liked my review. We would also love to spread the word about our blog and be featured on Turning pages.


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